An Affordable Android and Windows 2-in-1 Tablet

I've been testing out the Teclast Tbook 16 Pro 2 in 1 Tablet PC. I think the emerging term for this kind of device is "2 in 1" because if configured one way it is a small notebook computer, configured the other way, it is a standard tablet.

First, a bit of philosophy. When Apple and others invented the iPod Touch and various Smart Phones, it seemed obvious that a larger version of such a device might be helpful. So they went ahead and invented tablets. And tablets are cool. But, as often happens in technology, extreme coolness came to stand in for "the next big thing" in all applications. In fashion, you know that "orange is the new black" or "black is the new white" etc., as though there was only one color allowed at a time. In technology, "tablets are the new notebook" and "notebooks/laptops are the new desktops" is a similarly misguided concept. For some individuals, with a certain range of needs and abilities, such a transition is possible. For others, it is not. those who believe standard tablets like the iPad can replace all technology are few in numbers.

But there are enough of them that when Apple decided to replace all computer technology, or at least, all semi-mobile or fully mobile tech, with tablets, that worked great until that small number (but still in the millions) all got their tablets.

Then the market became saturated, and everyone else needed their keyboard, because that is how many interface with their technology. And it is a good way to interface. Years have gone by now since one did not technically need a keyboard, and we still need the keyboards.

So, the result is the 2-in-2 technology. Even as Apple does away with the longest living and consistent technology ever developed for normal human use, the headphone jack, I promise you that Apple will be shifting towards the 2-in-1 technology if they plan to keep up.

Anyway, the Teclast Tbook 16 Pro 2 in 1 Tablet PC is my attempt to test out this technology. (Short version, we are having a great time with this affordable and powerful tablet!)

I'll provide some comparative data below, but here's the gestalt. All microprocessors used today are fast and powerful, so all modern tablets have the computing power you need for, well, checking Facebook, handling email, and browsing around on line, which is most of what you do. All modern tablets have excellent high resolution screens. When it comes down to it, there isn't a lot different between different tablets other than things like size, what kinds of do-dads you can plug into it, and the operating system.

But, there are 2-in-1 tablets that cost a couple thousand dollars, most of the higher end ones are well over $500. But the Tbook without the keyboard is just over 200 (as it is now on sale, see this link for more info, or click through to the link given above). And, of great importance, the same source (Gearbest) has bundles with various tablets and their keyboards.

Usually I don't recommend specific outlets for specific devices, but at the moment, this outlet in China is trying very hard to give you what is essentially a 600 or 700 dollar 2 in one tablet for just over $200. So, I thought you should know.

OK, details on the Teclast Tbook 16 Pro 2 in 1 Tablet PC. When you boot up, you can chose between running Windows (full version) or Android (a nearly stock current version). When you are in either of these systems, using a link that is very similar to logging out, you can change to the other operating system. The change is essentially (almost) a full reboot, so both changing and starting from off take the usual boot up time for any phone or computer (well, much faster compared to the average desktop Windows computer).

The screen is large, and cinema shaped, and the overall build seems solid. There is a micro USB receptacle which allows you to expand out as well as charge if plugged into a charger. There is also a regular charting receptacle for a DC connector. The cable for that is provided, and you plug that cable into a USB charger brick or slot. There is an HDMI output as well, and a standard headphone jack.

I've tested all the plugs and outputs. We've shown movies and otherwise mirrored the device via HDMI to a TV. We've switched back and forth between systems. I've heavily used the Android system, and less vigorously tested out the Windows system. All this works great. We also dropped the tablet from a height of about 4 feet and that had no effect. (That was not on purpose.)

The tablet hooks via magnetic interface (and various contact points) to a nice tablet-width keyboard. The keyboard has multiple USB outlets. This allows you to use this 2-in-1 as a fully functional Windows computer.

Some of you may wonder why I would want to do that. Normally, I would not as I don't use Windows. However, the only other Windows computer in the house is Amanda's work laptop, and that is managed by her school and we can't really use it. So, having a single, small, yet powerful Windows computer in the house is not a bad thing for that occasional need. For example, I have a small electronic device that needs occasional adjustment to the bios. It is possible to do it from Linux, but (because of the software provided by the manufacturer) easy to do it in Windows. So having a Windows computer hiding inside an Android tablet, for occasional use, is nice. If you do that, though, I recommend running the Windows system every now and then so the infernal upgrade process can keep up with the outside world and not hobble you on your first use after a year of non-use. (Not a problem for Linux.)

I'm a little disappointed that a Chinese manufacturer does not have a Linux option. Linux is widely used in China, and I think it is the most popular system there. Also, at some point, I'll try booting from a live USB with Linux. If that works, heck, I just might ... well, we'll see. And I'll let you know. (This tablet comes with a severe warning to not mess with the OSs, but ... well, we'll see.)

The specs for the tablet:

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop OS
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64bit OS
  • Intel Cherry Trail Z8300 64bit Quad Core X86 Architecture 14nm Process 1.44GHz, up to 1.84GHz (Ultra-low-voltage platform and quad-core processing provide maximum high-efficiency power to go. Intel Turbo Boost Technology delivers dynamic extra power when you need it)
  • 11.6 inch IPS 10-Point Capacitive Touch Screen with 1920 x 1080 Resolution (wide viewing angles, very nice color)
  • 64GB eMMC ROM Storage
  • HDMI Output Expands Your Viewing Options
  • 2.0 MP Front Camera for Photos and Face-to-face Chat (no rear camera)
  • Micro SD Card Expansion up to 128GB
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • I haven't played around enough with the keyboard to say anything smart about that mode of use, but I'll post on that later. Also I'll note that ordering from this company was easy and shipping costs are very reasonable.

    Now I want to put this in some context. Here is this 2-in-1 tablet in context of roughly comparable, in terms of overall size, etc. devices, listed from most expensive to least expensive. Notice the very steep gradient on price.

    $1,200: Lenovo Yoga 900 13 Powerful processor, more ram, Windows only.

    $700 - $1200: Various Microsoft Surface Pro 4, includes only Windows (usually with a higher end processor)

    $750: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S 12" Tablet. Somewhat more powerful processor, some more disk space, Windows only.

    $550: HP Elite x2 1011 G1 Ultrabook/Tablet - 11.6" Windows only

    $250 (approximate) original price ca $700 Teclast Tbook 16 Pro 2 in 1 Tablet PC. Currently on sale with keyboard for $209. Very good graphics, communications, etc, enough storage, expandable storage, high connectivity, powerful enough processor, etc. Windows and Android.

    This tablet is a great and affordable way to ender the 2-in-1 technology in a way that has a significant advantage: The Android OS ready to go along side that other OS.


    More like this

    Which Android Tablet Is Best? You will have to decide which tablet is best for you based on your specific needs, and no general review is going to give you that information in a useful way. But, among the many tablets there is a handful that rise to the top and should be looked at either to…
    I might. This is a preliminary look, based just on the web site and some tweets with the developer, of the imp (all lower case), a small computer somewhere in technology and power, perhaps, between a Raspberry pi (which is mainly a hobbiest toy) and the Intel Nuk (which is sort of a non-Mac Mac…
    I have another tablet review for you. (See the bottom of the post for some followup on my last review.) This is a "tablet PC" meaning a tablet that runs a full on PC operating system, as opposed to a tablet-oriented operating system. With the keyboard (not supplied, buy separately). The…
    Almost every resource on the Internet on building your own computer is oriented towards building a gaming computer. The second most common discussion is how to build a "budget PC." When I sought out the latest information on building a computer a few weeks ago, I did not like either of these two…

    The Lenovo looks quite nice. Way out of my price range, unfortunately.

    Read this before buying any Android tablet:…

    (Yes, he's using the Pixel C as the vehicle to make his points, but focus on the points about Android -- this is not a review of the Pixel C hardware. It's a review of Android in the day & age of tablets. That this is a Google-designed and Google-made tablet only underscrores the point he makes about Android's readiness for tablet implementations.)

    By Brainstorms (not verified) on 12 Sep 2016 #permalink

    " Way out of my price range, unfortunately"

    Well yeah, for me too.

    I have been using a similar machine for a few months and am very satisfied with it. This is the Chuvi 12 inch 2 in 1 (google it) also from China. It's no iPad but certainly gives more bang for the buck. I'm in no way plugging the thing but just saying that that is the direction that evolution is taking.

    I think people should be clearly informed - NO AC adapter is included.
    Gearbest has replied . . . regarding Your original question is "Your description gives AC adapter specs, but you do NOT say one is included. Is AC adapter included?"

    Here is the answer from Our Customer service Team:
    "Sorry that this tablet doesn't come with AC adapter, please check the package contents as below: Tablet PC, OTG Cable, USB Cable, Power Cable, User Manual (Chinese - English)"

    OT: Last night on the news there was a story claiming that if someone traveling plugs their smart phone into a kiosk to charge it, there's a chance that the kiosk might capture all the data on the phone (or at least the screen contents) via the HDMI connector. I don't think this would happen if the phone doesn't charge via the HDMI connector.

    (I wouldn't be at risk myself because a) I don't have a smart phone, and b) I take care to keep my dumb phone charged by means of its standard charger.)

    However, I'm curious if there's anything to this story.

    By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 17 Sep 2016 #permalink

    Given that whenever I plug MY smart phone into my PC to charge it over a USB connection, it mounts its internal storage to allow access to the file system from my PC, I would say that there IS something to that story...

    (And it should be possible to disable such access in one of the phone's settings. I never plug mine into anything but a charger when outside the house.)

    By Brainstorms (not verified) on 17 Sep 2016 #permalink

    Brainstorms, is your phone locked when you connect it to a PC? if so, that shouldn't happen.

    Just checked: when I plug my old Note 4 into my Imac the phone's file system does not show up, whether it is locked or unlocked.

    I do know this for a fact. You can put software on a USB stick, then sneak into the server room of ANY major corporation or government agency, then insert the USB stick into pretty much any available USB slot, and that stick will cause all the data on those servers to be downloaded to the USB stick OR all the money managed by the accounting software on those servers to to transfer to a Swiss bank account!

    Dean, I'll have to try it both ways. I use Linux as my host OS, so that's an obvious factor.

    I do find it annoying that if I'm logged in, and leave with the screen lock of the PC on, and my daughter plugs her Samsung Galaxy 4 into a USB port to charge it, it mounts her phone on my account. She may be doing that with her phone unlocked at the time. I don't say anything, I just unmount it, to avoid possible file system corruption when she disconnects later.

    By Brainstorms (not verified) on 17 Sep 2016 #permalink

    A good article! I think the window tablet is better than ipad.I found the the Gearbest Window tablet is very well. It worth visiting.