Smartron t.book Windows 10 Laptop/Tablet Review

Ever since the computer revolution started, India produced software engineers in mass numbers. There is a software engineer from Indian working in every country, every corner of the world. Our services and software companies made a big mark in global IT field. Yet, when it came to creating innovative and mass market hardware, we fell well short. There were these laptops and desktops from brands like HCL, Wipro, Zenith etc but they were sub standard at best and the support was night marish. I have been eagerly waiting, praying that there will be one brand from Indian that will make it large! Today, we believe that we have a brand that can make it large and is endorsed by none other than the ‘God of Cricket’.

Smartron t.book and t.phone launch event

Smartron started with a goal to be a premier global Internet of Things (IoT) brand and have been focusing on innovating and disrupting in areas of smart devices, sensors, robotics, AI, cloud tech. Smartron India Private Limited was founded with a vision to build India’s first global technology product brand by designing, engineering, sourcing, and marketing world class IoT (“Internet of TronsTM”) devices and systems with tightly integrated services and care targeting consumer, enterprise, industrial and infrastructure markets. Smartron has announced a 2-in-1 tablet PC that can double up as a laptop, the t.Book and the t.Phone Android smartphone. We got a chance to review the t.Book. You can read the Day 1 experience here. So, lets get to it

Unboxing

The packaging is simple and tamper proof. Once you rip off the seal, there is no way you can stitch it back. This means that once a case is opened, it remains open. The moment you open the lid, the t.Book smiles at you. Under this compartment, there is the charger, keyboard dock and a simple manual. Take a look at the unboxing video

Design

This one does not have the looks of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 nor does it have the lightness of the iPad Pro. What it does have is a wide array of ports, a super strong magnesium alloy build and a bundled k/b dock. The first thing that I felt when I held the t.Book is the weight and the super strong build quality. But then the t.Book is just 150 grams heavier than the Surface Pro 4 and 200 grams heavier than the iPad Pro.

Smartron ultrabook convertible t book

Compared to the iPad Pro, the Surface Book 4 is lot more functional and useful. The t.Book is designed not just for artists who want to show off their pencil skills. T.Book is designed for every single person interested in using a compuer/tablet. Though Surface Book 4 weighs less and is thinner, we should not forget that it also costs more than twice the amount and it does not come with the Type Cover. T.Book is priced at 39,999/- while Surface Pro 4 costs 89,000/-.

The dual color pattern on the back looks unique and great. Come to the front and the t.Book looks like a slab of metal onto which a display is glued. If the bezels were thin, this would’ve looked much better. Given that this is a first generation product from a new company, we can turn a blind eye towards the aesthetics.

The power button is on the top right corner and the volume rocker is at the top left corner. There are two USB 3.0 ports, USB Type-C port for charging, microSD card slot and a microHDMI port on the left hand side. The right hand side houses a single headphone port. The bottom of the tablet has a magnetic connector pins to which the k/b dock is connected. The docking action is very good and the magnets are  powerful. The dock latches the moment it is near the pin and does not come off unless you pull it out with some strength. This is essential if you are going to use the dock a lot (as a laptop on your lap). The kickstand is made of aluminum and U-shaped unlike a full metal plate styled kickstand on Surface Pro devices. There is a some flex but don’t be worried about that. Do make sure that you do not keep the stand on a glass surface and drag the t.Book. It may leave a scratch.

The charger is kind of big and it looks like it is for a much larger device. I do wish that Smartron designs something that is much smaller or use the standard charger design that laptop makers use.

 

Keyboard Dock

The keyboard dock is bundled with the t.Book and this makes the t.Book more VFM product. Even the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which is priced at 89k INR does not come with bundled dock and one need to pay  priced 12,500/- INR to get a type cover. Do keep the dock safe and do use handle it with care. t.Book keyboard dock is priced at 4,499/- but is not yet available on the store.

The keys are well spaced and have decent amount travel to give you a good typing experience. But this comes at the cost of smaller trackpad. We will take it though as the display is touch enabled and you can always use a mouse when you are using the tablet like a desktop. For occasional ‘on the lap’ use, the trackpad will be more than enough. The bottom part of the dock comes with soft touch velvet like material and has good grip.
The keys are well spaced and have decent amount travel to give you a good typing experience.
The dock is of average quality so make sure you do not drop it on a irregular surface and step on it. When I started using the dock, the trackpad was over-sensitive and after a firmware update, the trackpad sensitivity issue was fixed.

Do Check:

Display

Smartron tbook

The 2K resolution IPS display panel screams quality. The viewing angles are absolutely perfect. The text is super crisp too. A 2k resolution on a 12.2” display makes every thing small so Smartron changed the default setting for content to 175% so that the content does not look too small and miniaturized. The whites are pure white and blacks are deep (cannot expect AMOLED like blacks though). The touch input is accurate too and in more than a week of usage, there never was an issue with touch input or display.
The 2K resolution IPS display panel screams quality. The viewing angles are absolutely perfect. The text is super crisp too.
I did try couple of entry level to high end touchscreen displays and the touch response on the t.Book is very good for the price that the device carries. Till date, I have not faced any issues with the display. The touch input is accurate and I didn’t have to press too hard to register a click/touch. If display quality is one of the top priorities for you, t.Book should be right at the top of your list. There is no other laptop at this price point that can match this display.

Playing games like Microsoft Solitaire collection was a breeze. I now know that the best way to use Windows OS is not by going into full laptop mode or full non-touch mode. It is the mix of both. A great touchscreen coupled with a good keyboard will make Windows OS thoroughly enjoyable. There are lot of actions that are faster when done using a touchscreen and there are actions that are best executed by a k/b or mouse. I have to appreciate smartron for going with a Windows 10 2-in-1. This way, Smartron got something unique to show.

Battery

The battery is 10000mAh in size and charges through USB-C port. Though Smartron says that the battery life is up to 10 hours, unfortunately, we got just over 4 hours of battery life on heavy internet usage with display brightness set to 60%. Also, on extended usage, the top half of the back heats up a bit but is never uncomfortable.
The t.Book can be a simple touchscreen tablet that is fun to use and can transform into a proper desktop setup with enhanced productivity and this functionality gives the t.Book an edge over most other PCs and tablets.
Windows 10 is proven to be lighter and faster than Windows 8.1. The onboard Intel Core M is more than good enough for day to day use. The 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD did help the t.Book to run without lag. I have used the t.Book for internet browsing, used Microsoft Word for documentation, played a few modern UI games and performance has been solid. By default, Windows comes with Windows Defender anti-virus and we did not install a third party antivirus. Even during a full virus scan, there was no lag when doing multi tasking. The new Microsoft Edge browser is still like a thorn in the flesh though. The browser is erratic, hangs and crashes. We suggest you to get your ‘other’ favorite browser the moment you connect the t.Book to the internet.

smartron tbook

The Wi-Fi chip onboard supports dual channels so you can connect the t.Book to the router using the higher 5GHz frequency which has less interference from other devices (cordless phone, microwave etc). The rear and front cameras are decent but low light performance is rather poor. The dual microphones at the front deliver clear voice. Windows 10 offers you option to setup ‘gain’ to control the sensitivity of the microphone.  The rear camera takes decent photos when there is sufficient lighting available. There are dual 1W speakers, one on each side of the front facing camera and they are enough for that casual Skype call and a little bit of music.
The t.Book can be a simple touchscreen tablet that is fun to use and can transform into a proper desktop setup with enhanced productivity and this functionality gives the t.Book an edge over most other PCs and tablets.

Performance should not be evaluated by checking how fast a device run but it should be evaluated based on how easier and faster it lets users perform tasks. And this is where the 2-in-1s have an advantage. Like I said before, using Windows is now much faster if you use the combination of k/b, mouse and touch screen. With a mouse or a trackpad, you have to lift your hand, place it on the mouse/trackpad, move the cursor and click. With a touchscreen, all you do is lift your hand and touch where you want to click. This reduces a lot of effort. And when you have to perform actions like multiple select etc, the k/b and mouse combination works better.

This is why a Windows 10 2-in-1 is, any given day, better than a Android or iOS table. Unlike those tablets, you can connect a full size USB storage devices like pen drive, external USB hard drive and this ability is priceless. For those who prefer an ergonomic setup, they can connect a USB wired ergonomic keyboard and use a bluetooth mouse or connect USB mouse, connect an external display using microHDMI port.

When I connected the t.Book to the Altec Lansing MX-5021, the audio quality turned out to be excellent. I actually felt that the speakers are sounding much better but this is due to the fact that the dual monitors were earlier blocking some part of sound coming from speakers and now, the speakers were in perfect alignment with my position. Do not expect the same quality from built-in speakers. They are not meant to pump out bass and churn balanced sound. They are meant for simple audio calls.

Final Verdict:

After using the t.Book day in and day out, we did like what we have in hand. The desktop mode is flawless and it behaves just like any laptop, you can connect an external display using the microHDMI port and improve multitasking. The t.Book was comfortable when placed on lap. And when you want to relax and use, t.Book can be used in tablet mode. Even when the t.Book is turned off, you can charge your phone by connecting it to the USB port. There are a few niggles though like the aesthetics, limited functionality of USB Type-C ports, okayish keyboard dock. But one you start using this as a daily driver, the advantages far outweigh the negatives.

The price tag of 39,999/- makes the t.Book a really sweet VFM product. Sachin Tendulkar said at the launch event that he wanted to see an Indian product in hands of Americans and we do have that dream and we have been waiting for a really long time for this to turn into reality. The first generation t.Book may not turn this dream into reality. You do not see a quality product from India every day and when you do, you better grab one and help the brand grow. Who knows, we may become part of a major Indian brand ecosystem that can rival the likes of HP and Dell and Lenovo. Wouldn’t this be a reason to be proud of? You do want to see an American and a European use a computer designed in India, don’t you?

Buy Smartron t.book from gadgets 360


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About Pulkit Juneja
Pulkit Juneja, is the founder of Versed Tech. A born tech savvy guy who loves to write content on latest technology news, Gadget reviews, android app reviews, SEO and Much More. Connect with us at pulkit@versedtech.org