Review: Teclast Tbook 16 Power 2-in-1 tablet – a great no-frills, inexpensive option

The typing experience is excellent on this budget device from Shenzhen firm, which comes with all the usual Microsoft software – a low-cost alternative for work but not suited to gamers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 7:00pm

In the past couple of years, Chinese OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have taken a chunk of the world’s smartphone market by releasing phones that, while often copycats in terms of design, offer similar power to products by established names, only at half the price. It was just a matter of time before they took on the 2-in-1 tablet market, too. Shenzhen upstart Teclast’s newest product, the Tbook 16 Power, looks to be up for the challenge.

Design and hardware

The term “2-in-1” refers to tablets that, after attaching a keyboard cover, can operate as a proper computer. Although the likes of Samsung and Apple have jumped on the bandwagon, it is still a market dominated by Microsoft and its Surface line, so it makes sense that the Tbook 16 Power is an unapologetic clone of that.

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Just like the Surface, the Tbook is a Windows 10 machine with a multi-position kickstand and a keyboard cover that connects via magnetic pins. It’s also got the same magnesium-aluminium alloy back, chamfered edges and even the same Intel Cherry Trail Atom chip.

The display, an 11.6-inch LCD panel with 1920 X 1080 resolution, is about on par, too. What sets the Tbook apart is it has a secondary operating system (Android) and a whopping 8GB of RAM (compared to the 4GB found on most other tablets).

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There are a couple of things that give away that this is a budget device. The frame around the tablet (which houses ports for one USB-C, one USB 3.0, one microSD card and 3.5mm headphone jack) is made of plastic instead of metal, and the bezels around the screen are rather large.

The cameras here (5-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front) are terrible if compared to a smartphone, but serviceable for a tablet (you don’t want to be one of those people who snap photos in public holding a giant tablet anyway).

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Most would agree that for 2-in-1 devices, the keyboard is the make-or-break factor – all the processing power in the world can’t save a computer if you can’t type properly – and the typing experience here is great (this review, in fact, is written on the Tbook).

The keys have reasonable travel and bounce, and the keyboard doesn’t feel cramped at all despite having all major keys (even “Print Screen” and “Page Up/Down”). Some portable keyboards require adjustment if the user is coming from a desktop/MacBook – this one doesn’t. But here comes the bad news: the trackpad here is oversensitive and there’s no option for adjustment. It’s usable, but you would be better off with a mouse.

Software and features

The Tbook runs Windows 10 home edition, and all the included software one would expect from a PC, such as Microsoft Office, are present. When using a keyboard and mouse it feels close enough like a laptop that I’ve been able to use it as my work device for the past two weeks. The Android part, however, isn’t too great. The version installed here, 6.0.1 (aka Marshmallow), is quite dated by now, and Android’s OS has always been more suitable for phones than tablets.

Performance and battery life

With an 8,500 mAh battery (charged through USB-C), the Tbook offers on average five hours of battery life as a laptop PC (with max display brightness), and more than six as an Android tablet. However, because the tablet consumes so much power, you can only charge it when the machine is idle. If you’re actively using the Tbook during charge, the battery percentage will merely stay the same, not go up.

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As a Windows machine the processor here isn’t powerful enough to run very demanding PC games, but it will do just fine for surfing the web, typing documents, or consuming media – though you’ll want to plug in earphones because the single speaker here produces very flat sound. The Android portion runs smoothly and can handle anything from Google Play fine.

Conclusion

The combination of portability – the tablet with keyboard cover weighs just 1.2kg and measures 303 x 179.5 x 10mm – and low price (HK$2,500 for tablet; HK$200 for keyboard) make the Tbook 16 Power a great no-frills option for those who just need something inexpensive to do work.

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Processor: Intel Atom X7

Display: 11.6 inches

Dimensions: 303 x 179.5 x 10mm

Weight: 1.2kg

Battery: 8,500 mAH

OS version reviewed: Windows 10 and Android 6.0.1

Storage: 64GB

Cameras: 5-megapixel back; 2-megapixel front-facing camera

Price: HK$2,500 (tablet); HK$200 (keyboard cover case)