This Christmas, I saw a lot of technology come through my inbox. A lot of sweet deals and some I thought were sweet. But we already have top of the line desktop computers that we picked up in the fall, so we weren’t going to spring for another one so soon.
But one that did catch my attention, because of the Intel processor and the 11.6 inch size was the NextBook 11.6 Ares Quad Core Tablet With Detachable Keyboard. The size was a little bigger than the 10 inch Android tablet I have been using, without rising to the laptop size that ends up weighing too much when you want something portable.
I ordered one for Yvonne and myself. They arrived a few days before Christmas and never got to see the inside of a Christmas wrapping. We had them out and charging within minutes of the delivery. They do not use a tablet standard microUSB port for charging, instead, they have a dedicated charging port so that you are forced to use the charger that comes with the unit. Not that bad, but with the number of USB charging devices out there, it was hoped that we could just plug in our USB and be charging.
The charge on these babies is pretty good. Partly because everything is solid state, so no fans are running and no hard drives spinning, the tablet can go most of the day on one charge with intermittent use. For those times when I have the thing working its tail off (playing solitaire) for hours at a time, the battery drains within 4 to 5 hours – but the device does get hot on the left side. I find that once it gets a little warm, it is a good idea to find something a little more active to do to keep my butt from going numb and to allow the tablet time to cool off.
This tablet comes with Windows 10 right out of the box, which is another reason I wanted it. My Android tablet was nice, but I liked to use Microsoft Office 365, and could not on that device. Within a few minutes of setting this NextBook up, I logged into my Microsoft account and installed Office onto the tablet. (Microsoft Office 365 allows 5 devices to install the software for the $10 per month I pay, so I figured this would be a good idea) It works amazingly well with Word, Excel and PowerPoint! I don’t use any of the other Office programs that often, so I couldn’t tell you if those work well.
One issue that has caused me consternation, though Yvonne never complains about it (must not happen to her), is that my NextBook loses the WiFi internet at weird intervals. It is still connected to the WiFi, it just says that the WiFi connection does not have internet. Now, I have two routers that both have internet. My solution has been to switch the WiFi connection to the other router until the next time it happens. I can change the WiFi at least a few times in a day. The support site says to restore the the tablet and that should solve the problem. I have a problem with restoring my devices unless I absolutely have to.
So I came close to returning my NextBook, but the convenience of being able to work anywhere (translation: playing Solitaire in bed) is why I keep this thing around.
Something else that may irritate people (it does me, but I usually work around this) is that the keyboard comes with a touchpad in the center of the section where your hands rest. During the course of typing, my fingers (probably my thumbs) touch the pad and place the cursor at some random spot in the text I am typing so that I find myself writing a sentence within the confines of a word that I had written 10 minutes ago. This ticks me off, but I fix it and go on. (It should be possible to turn off the touchpad, but again, this is a minor irritant, so I don’t go off in search of the place where I can do that when I am in the middle of writing a blog post). It is possible to use the on screen keyboard if the keyboard gets to me, but I am of the opinion that typing on screen is something that you need to have been born into, so I just save most of my typing for my desktop, since I spent the big bucks on it.
So, while I wouldn’t spend much more than $300 on a tablet like this, the current price of the NextBook makes it very attractive. I have not yet found the perfect tablet, and I am not ready to blow $3500 to try the Apple and Microsoft top of the line tablets/portables. Maybe when I decide that my mobility is more important than my work, I will go that route. For now, I will continue to be happy with the NextBook 11.6 inch Tablet!