As android tablets are getting cheaper and powerful every quarter, it seems that the Windows tablets in general are trailing in the race to show more affordability and flexibility. Microsoft aimed to deliver cheaper Windows devices with 8″ tablets powered by Intel Atom, unfortunately until now the price gap is still marginally high at around Php18,000, to compete with good Android tablets that are available somewhere around the Php 6,000 mark.
Redfox aims to change the game with their latest Windows tablet, the Wizpad Lite which is only priced at Php9,900 which is close to affordable android tablet, but is it worth the price?
Design & Ports
When you get a hold of the Wizpad Lite, you’ll definitely feel the rubber matte finish at the back which is similar to devices like the Nexus 7 2013. We we’re pleased with the thinner bezels on the sides which makes the tablet more comfortable to hold, which is even better as compared to the bezels of other brands like from Dell and ASUS. The screen measures for 8 inches which has no declared glass protection, in comparing with other screen glass, it seems that it is equipped with your regular soda lime glass; which is still understandable due to the affordable price range. Weight is also acceptable at only 361 grams, its around the average weight of most 8 inch tablets in the market right now. At the back is your standard labeling via laser printing, though the labeling of the ports seriously reminded us of cheap android tablets which may be hard to accept for some users.
The tablet has a proprietary charger / DC-In, but you can also charge using the Micro USB port. This is great since you can use the Micro USB port for on-the-go purposes while charging, or you can just leave the charger at home and charge via Micro USB while outside. Recommended charging output is 2.0A which is applicable as well for power banks. Other than that, you have a mini-HDMI for output, 3.5mm audio jack and a micro SD card slot.
We are pleased with the 1280×1200 8″ IPS display. Color production is good and the brightness level is very good which can be pleasing to use even in pitch black environment, or under very bright environments. Viewing angles is acceptable as well.
Equipped with Windows 8.1 you get the same experience with using your desktop. Its easier to search and navigate with the live tile UI, but unfortunately its a bit of a chore clicking on small icons especially on the desktop mode. Despite our long experience with touch based windows devices, we experienced several problems with small icons to press like in Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and even navigating through files. These things are not a problem with the touchscreen physically, but a thing that Microsoft could seriously improve, which is their UI especially for 8″ devices. Also, since this is a windows tablet, all applications can be installed like Google Chrome, Adobe Photoshop, Spotify and even games like Warcraft, Dota 2, Starcraft and more.
The Wizpad lite is powered by a more energy conscious yet more affordable Intel Bay-Trail Z3735E Quad-Core processor. Clocked at 1.33Ghz, it can speed up to 1.86Ghz when needed. This is a bit short from the usual Z3770 / Z3740 processors from other brands. But performance wise, you’ll be seeing usual lag spiked in loading heavy websites or even multi-tasking if more than 4 applications. Due to the 1GB DD3L RAM instead of the usual 2GB, we expected that this is the suspect for the lack of multi-tasking performance. Overall the Intel processor is still capable of everyday lite based usage, but due to the decreased RAM, we recommend to keep using just around 3 applications maximum to avoid any annoying lag moments.
Unfortunately to cut cost, Redfox also reduced the internal storage from usually 32GB to 16GB. A major issue to this is the annoying Windows 8.1 updates, upon opening the device we we’re welcomed with 4.6GB out of 9.29GB available storage (Yup we said 16GB so the missing 6.71GB went to fat and reserved storage for OS reset). Installing the free Office 365 included will leave you to 3.11GB of storage, we left the tablet for 3 hours and once we restarted it, it was alerting us already with low disk space with only 200MB of storage left. That is not even the latest windows update available, which proves that Microsoft needs to change their OS internally in order to adapt like android or iOS devices. With this dilemma, we restarted our tablet and disabled the windows updates to avoid running out of storage. Although you can insert up to 32GB Micro SD card storage for expansion, this still poses a problem; especially for Filipinos that are heavy storage users.
Camera and Speakers
The 2MP rear camera barely gets the job done, colors are very saturated and has high noise levels. Overall we think you won’t use it that much anyway, but its a good feature to have on a windows tablet. As for the speakers, they are generally louder than regular tablets. Unfortunately the sound production may be a bit high in pitches which can annoy you more rather than be pleased of the louder volume.
The Wizpad Lite can be paired with a bluetooth keyboard and leather case. The case feels nice with good materials used, while the bluetooth keyboard is magnetically attached so you can easily adjust the angle of the tablet when using the case. For being an 8 inch tablet, our experience was not that pleasing as the keyboard layout and press feedback is not that user friendly. Speaking of layout, we we’re baffled when we saw that the bluetooth keyboard accessory is for MAC! Just to be sure we checked out other units of the device at the SM Cyber TechSale roadshow in SM Cyberzone Marikina last week and they we’re the same. Kinda weird using a mac bluetooth keyboard for a windows tablet, but still its much better than using the on-screen keyboard with the device. The case and bluetooth keyboard is sold separately, price and availability is yet to be announced as per Redfox SM Marikina.
Another field to reduce cost is to lower the battery capacity, despite bringing down the battery to 4000mAh, the Wizpad Lite still achieved more than 3 hours of wi-fi browsing usage and that is including the bluetooth keyboard already. Pretty near to their claim of 4 hours battery life. Although we encountered a problem that despite in sleep mode, the battery will drain overnight, this is annoying as it greets you with a dead battery status early in the morning. We also encountered this problem with other windows tablets, we hope a solution will be provided soon.
Here is the complete specification of the Redfox Wizpad Lite
Processor : Intel Bay Trail Processor Z3735E
Display : 8 Inch 800 x 1200 IPS display (10 point touch)
Memory : 1GB DDR3L
Internal Storage : 16GB (9.3GB Usable)
External Storage Option : Micro SD up to 32GB
I/O Ports : 1 x DC-In | 1 x MicroSD | 1 x MicroUSB | 1 x 3.5mm Headphone | 1 x MiniHDMI
Connectivity : Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (Miracast Supported)
Camera : 2MP Rear + VGA Front
Sensor : 3-Axis Accelerometer
Battery : Lithium-ion Polymer 4000mAh
OS : Windows 8.1 with Free Microsoft Office 365
Dimension : 203.50m x 121mm x 9.5mm
Weight : 361g
Package Includes : OTG Cable, Charger, USB Cable
Color Availability : Black and Red
Overall for cutting around 8,000 pesos from the usual price of windows tablets, we saw adjustments Redfox had to do with the Wizpad Lite. It’s good that manufacturers like Redfox attempted to make devices with a lower price range compared to others, and they delivered the performance and specifications that we expected. Unfortunately, we think that the bottle neck right now is Microsoft, until they can fix the space hugging windows updates and unpleasant UI for 8″ tablets, we’re looking at a slim chance for more tablets like these to enter the Philippine market or even have worldwide acceptance. To close, the Wizpad Lite for Php9,900 is definitely worth considering, and if you are looking for a more serious device as compared to an android tablet, then we’ recommend the Wizpad Lite. But of course, please consider buying a 32GB Micro SD card to compliment it’s less amazing storage capability.
Just in case you are looking for a more beefier windows tablet, Redfox also has the Wizpad 5 which has a 10″ screen and better processor and storage for Php19,500
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You can also visit the Redfox concept stores at SM Cyberzone Marikina and SM Cyberzone North Edsa for an actual unit testing.