Plenty of compact Windows tablets and detachable 2-in-1 systems have come out lately, many of them priced surprisingly low, thanks to Windows 8.1 with Bing, a free version of Windows that Microsoft is giving away to manufacturers of small, inexpensive systems. E FUN, a Chinese manufacturer, has released a number of budget-priced tablets over the past few years. Now is launching a new budget Windows 10 device called the E Fun Nextbook 10.1 which is the big brother to the E-Fun Nextbook 8. This device is a 2-in-1 tablet with a detachable keyboard and is targeted at students who need something cheap and mobile for simple schoolwork. Despite its low price point ($180 USD), it comes it has some really good specs, including Bluetooth, multi-touch support, and a built-in webcam. The tablet is available for now exclusively through Target stores and Target’s website.
This 10.1-inch tablet is built to be pretty simple with non-descript edges. The only design element that really stands out is the Nextbook logo printed on the back. The Nextbook 10.1 measures 0.95 by 10.2 by 7.4 inches (HWD)—it’s 0.95-inch thick with the keyboard attached, and only 0.45-inch thick for the tablet alone—and weighs a scant 2.9 pounds when docked with a detachable keyboard and 1.46 pounds for the tablet alone. That makes it roughly the same size as some other detachable hybrids, like the Acer Aspire Switch 10. The tablet has a simple plastic housing, with soft-touch finish that provides a comfortable gripping surface.
The new E Fun 2-in-1 is equipped with a quad-core Intel Atom 5-Z8300 processor alongside 2GB of memory. While it only has 32GB of internal storage space, it has a microSD card slot that supports cards with capacities up to 128GB and reaches the total amount of 160GB of storage space (including both internal space and external expansion). The tablet has a 3-axis G-sensor, making it suitable for playing mobile games, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The tablet’s port selection is pretty sparse, with a micro USB port, a micro HDMI-out port, and a headphone jack along the left-hand edge of the tablet (when viewed in Landscape mode). On that note, one of the worst design choices on the Nextbook is a dedicated jack for the power adapter. Most tablets or 2-in-1 laptops are charged via the micro USB port. The only way to charge the E FUN Nextbook is to use the dedicated charger, which has a short power cord and a thin gauge of wire leading us to believe it won’t survive serious abuse during travel. If someone trips over the power cord, they’ll probably break it.
A lithium battery of 7,000mAh 3.7V is connected to the mainboard, which E Fun says will give you eight hours of run time under general usage. With the keyboard attached, the device weighs “less than three pounds,” the company says.
The 10.1-inch display has an In-Plane E-Fun Nextbook 10.1 Switching (IPS) panel, providing one clear improvement over the smaller E-Fun Nextbook 8. The 10.1-inch capacitive multi-touch display on the Nextbook has a relatively average resolution of just 1280×800 pixels. The keyboard docks with the tablet using a magnetic connection that lifts off easily and has no physical latch, but it grips well enough to hold fast if you lift the docked tablet by the screen. The speakers, as expected, are small and relatively underpowered. The audio is clear in a quiet environment, but as soon as you turn up the volume you’ll begin to hear distortion and an almost “tin can” sound.
The built-in webcam is only 2MP and a front-facing VGA webcam, of which there are both front and rear offerings. While that won’t produce the highest quality video, it does work with a built-in microphone to facilitate Skype and other VoIP sessions. Finally, videos can be output via micro HDMI.
There are a few key differences between the E-Fun Nextbook 10.1 and its 8-inch little brother, like a more impressive IPS display and a larger keyboard, plus a few tweaks, like a separate power connector, and a moderate increase in local storage space. If you want to buy something at a really affordable price, E Fun Notebook 10.1 could be one.