As I’ve mentioned time and again on the site when reviewing devices, hybrids are the future of the tablet and laptop. Eventually, although it may not be soon, manufacturers will be able to create a unit that meets both the demand for mobility and the power to meet all your computing and even gaming performances. Until that day, however, the landscape will remain blurry, selling a mix of different styles to the public from ultra lightweight, long-lasting battery, screen size and even performance. But there aren’t many that claim ultra affordability. Alcatel has taken it upon themselves to look at bridging the gap between performance and budget when it comes to the hybrid. Enter the Alcatel Plus 10 2-in-1.
Having won three awards and recognitions at the 2016 Mobile World Congress, the unit isn’t a simple toss in the wind from Alcatel. Instead, it’s an attempt to deliver a budget hybrid to meet your daily needs. But does the low price take too much out from the overall performance to make it worthwhile for most users?
Build and Design
The Alcatel Plus 10 2-in-1, due to its high affordability tag, isn’t adorned with metallic or sleek finishes. Instead, what’s left is an overabundance of plastic. While the design may not be the most interesting, the build isn’t overly affected.
Given its hybrid moniker, the unit comes with a dockable keyboard, which also carries with it an extended battery life among a host of other useful features. The tablet snaps into position by means of a magnetic strip, although it isn’t as elegant as most. The swivel from open to close, and vice versa, is a bit wobbly for my liking, and although it seems sturdy enough once placed (in the open position), it doesn’t seem that way in the process leading up to it. When folded down it doesn’t seem as if it would stay close during transport.
The nice thing about the dock is that it can be used in three different modes. The normal tablet and laptop modes, as well as flipping the tablet around to lie flat on the keyboard for additional support in display mode. The dock offers a microUSB and USB ports, with a microSIM slot, which is coupled with the microUSB and micro-HDMI ports on the tablet itself.
Screen and Display
The Alcatel Plus 10 2-in-1, as the name suggests, has a 10.1″ screen. This is quite a reasonable piece of real estate given the low budget background. Sadly, the good news is undone by a slightly low-resolution display, which only boasts 1280x800px for Windows 10. This is not an ideal situation, as the touchscreen almost demands better. This means that the precision of the touch isn’t what it should be, and I was often left having to re-touch certain areas to trigger what I wanted. This was even harder whenever I had to long-click to activate the right-click function of the touchscreen. Suffice to say, it’s much easier using the docks touchpad or a connected mouse for best results.
The brightness isn’t great either. In direct sunlight the hybrid is almost non-usable and the colour reproduction isn’t something to write home about too.
Performance and Battery
If you’re looking for a high-performance unit, you may want to turn away now. On paper, the Quad-core 1.9GHz Intel Atom seems reasonable enough to get most jobs done well enough, but the mix of 2GB and 32GB internal storage makes for some sluggish moments more often than not. At times, even a simple click of the taskbar takes more than a second to pop up, which on most PCs should be near instant. Viewing and editing documents, along with most browsing is handles with relative ease for the most part, but when taking it up a notch you’re left a little stranded. Multitasking here is often times not an option and quickly becomes a challenge of choosing which task is more important at the time.
The Alcatel Plus 10 2-in-1 has a 5830mAh battery with the keyboard packing an extra 2580mAh, which charges the main tablet when in use rather than run directly from the battery itself. This means you don’t quite get the full 2580mAh you’re promised. Still, with a combined total of 8410mAh, the unit produced quite impressive battery life. An upside to the low resolution, low brightness screen, and lack of power consumption from the Atom processor, you’re looking at breezing through a full day of use. Not just full work day, but full day. You may have to charge the unit overnight, however, as the charge times aren’t great at all.
The Alcatel Plus 10 2-in-1 delivers a mixed bag of goods for the most part and is a really good start for the low-budget hybrid. Almost for every bad point, there is some good that comes from it, although the opposite may also hold true. That said, at a cost of just R3,600 the unit is incredibly affordable given the category of devices it finds itself in. There are quite a few units, though at double the price, deliver quite incredible performances and will definitely be a better buy if you’re able to and if you need something that will last some distance into the near future.
A Windows 10 hybrid, along with LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities, along with additional battery life from the battery-keyboard, the unit may find a happy home or two.