The Palmdoc Chronicles

Monday, January 26, 2015

The year of the Windows Tablets


When the iPad first came out, it was the best thing since sliced bread for doctors. Now a tablet sized device can be a boon during ward rounds for accessing medical information and in some cases even an EMR on a device with a large enough screen yet maintaining portability, being able to fit in a large lab coat pocket, especially if you have one custom made like my eLab Coat.
It’s been almost 5 years since the iPad was first introduced (on April 3, 2010) and while it still is a great device, I find it difficult to do “real work” on it, particularly when it comes to creating content as opposed to consuming content e.g. making slides and full fledged “Office type” applications.
Windows is coming of age to the touch screen era. While Windows 8.1 has still a way to go, I believe the recently announced Windows 10 looks very promising.
But what about the hardware? In recent times we have been seeing a slew of cheap Tablets coming out of China. These 8 to 10 inch devices are really affordable, costing less than $250 in many cases. This price point is way below what you would have to pay for a Surface Pro 3 though admittedly these cheaper tablets have lower end specs. But being cheap does not mean these things can’t do a decent job for every day tasks.
My twitter buddy @mikecane has been doing a great job of reviewing the deluge of Windows tabletswith various brands like Teclast, Onda, Chuwi etc. There are so many to choose from but the price point is so tempting I succumbed and decided to get a Chuwi v89 Windows 8.1 tablet. This is an 8.9 inch light weight device (weighing only 370g) yet running full Windows 8.1
The Tech specs:
 CHUWI V89 Windows 8.1 Tablet
 CPU Intel Z3735F quad core X86 1.83GHz
 System 7th Generration intel graphincs 646MHz
 Capacity 64GB
 Screen 8.9 inch 10-points capacitive touch screen
 Resolution1920 x 1200
 Extend  Card Support,up to 32GB
 Camera Front is 2.0MegaPixels,Rear is 5.0MegaPixels
 WIFI Support WiFi 802.11b/g/n
 Bluetooth Built in Bluetooth 4.0
 3G GSM:900+1800
 Video AVI,MKV,MP4,M4V,WEBM,3GP,MPEG4, etc
 Language Multiple languages
 Microphone Built in
 Speaker Built in
 I/O Port 1 x Micro USB Port
 1 x TF Card Slot
 1 x SIM Card Slot
 1 x 3.5mm Earphone Port
 Battery 3.7V/6400mAh
 Weight 369g
 Size 233.2*148.2*8mm
My impression after using it for a few days is it’s a decent Windows tablet. It is quite well built and has a reasonable battery life – I can get through a whole day’s work without any problem. The retina display is very nice and even though the default font on the Chrome browser is rather tiny, you can still make it out. It is hard to tap with one’s finger for the Desktop applications so for those it would be better in some cases to use a Bluetooth mouse. I paired my Bluetooth keyboard with it (made for the iPad 2) and it works fine too.
The main drawback is that one has to be careful how many applications are open at the same time since with the limited 2Gb Ram things can slow down if you are too enthusiastic with multi-tasking. That being said, it generally is sprightly and has fast boot up times should you need to restart.
The 64Gb eMMC is decent (more than the usual 32Gb you see with many other models) and if you throw in a 32 Gb SD card that should be plenty of storage for most people. A point to note in case you are not aware is that  you cannot install the downloaded Windows touch screen apps from the Store onto the external SD card but you can install regular Windows applications onto the external card.  For additional storage access, the set comes with a micro USB to standard USB host adaptor so you could plugin a thumb drive which the tablet reads without any problem.
Things which I plan to do:
1) Install DuOS so that I can have Android OS running side by side
In conclusion I give the Chuwi v89 Windows 8.1 tablet two thumbs up. It’s cheap yet a decent performer.
2015 will be the year of the Windows tablets as Microsoft makes a strong come back with Windows 10, and the market will be saturated with many Windows tablets or convertibles to choose from.