When Microsoft announced their 12 Days of Deals and shared the daily offers early instead of waiting for them to leak as they always do, they allowed people to look ahead and decide what they might want to grab while it is on sale.
I was one of those folks because in the past there have always been a few deals that were really great opportunities to grab software, services, and/or hardware. In this years schedule of offerings it was Day 5 that caught my attention.
"Day 5: Save up to 70 percent on select Windows tablets, starting at $49, on Friday, Dec. 9."
I specifically had my eyes on the TM800W560L ($80 off the normal $129 price) and the TM800W610L ($90 off the normal $149 price) tablets from Nuvision. I opted for the W610L because it had a slightly more powerful processor and came with Windows 10 (64 bit vs 32 bit). Other than that the specs were the same but the price was only a difference of $10.
The last small form factor tablet I had used regularly was the HP Stream 7, another device I grabbed at a very nice discount from the Microsoft Store, and it has grown long in the tooth. It has now become a shelf decoration instead of a device I use regularly.
So let's take a look at the TM800W610L specs:
- Display - 8 in Full HD IPS touchscreen (1920 x 1200), 10-finger multi-touch support
- Processor - Intel Atom x5-Z8300 1.44 GHz with Intel Burst Technology up to 1.84 GHz
- Memory - 2GB DDR 1600 MHz
- Hard drive size - 32GB eMMC
- Operating system -Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
- Media drive - Micro SD card reader
- Audio - Intel SST Audio
- Video - Intel HD Graphics with shared graphics memory
- Ports - 1 Micro USB; 1 Micro HDMI; 1 Headphone output; 2 Microphone input (mike arrays)
- Battery - Up to 6 hours
- Camera - 2MP front, 5MP rear
- Wireless - 802.11b/g/n (Miracast enabled)
- Bluetooth - Bluetooth 4.0
- Dimensions - 8.30 x 4.90 x 0.30 in (210.82 x 124.46 x 7.62 mm)
- Weight - 0.60 lbs (272.15 g)
You can see the specs are not horrible but this device was never built to be your powerhouse - it is really ideally suited for information consumption, web browsing, and email triaging and quick replies. It should be a perfect tablet for sitting on the coffee table and using instead of your smartphone as your second screen and that was my expectation when I jumped on this deal for just $59.
One other thing this tablet has going for it, since it came from the Microsoft Store, is its status as a Signature Edition device. That means no pre-installed third party or OEM software, includes Windows Defender without any trial status that could expire, and fully meets Microsoft's hardware requirements for Windows.
The tablet shipped on the same day I ordered it and was on my doorstep just two working days later. Nuvisions packaging for this tablet was high end and made of nice cardboard that was rigid and more than capable of protecting the device during shipment. You will see in the unboxing images that it is like a file storage box where the interior slides into the exterior as a closure.
Out of the box setup experience was what you would expect for a Windows 10 based device except it took a while for everything to get downloaded and installed - at least compared to my more powerful desktops & laptop test devices. There was one exception though as I was not asked to connect the device to my Wi-Fi network. That meant no prompt to use my Microsoft Account (MSA) and instead I had to create a local account to continue setup. Of course, later I was able to convert that local account to my MSA after all of my updates were done.
Here is another area that Windows 10 excels in and that is the updating process to get fully protected with the latest patches and updates. The W610L came with Windows 10 Version 1511, the November Update, so in one update cycle patches were downloaded and installed to bring the system up to Windows 10 Version 1607 (Anniversary Update). This included the December Patch Tuesday patches and the latest cumulative update for Windows 10.
Now this did cause me one issue later on and it is common on devices with just 32GB of storage. See, when Windows 10 was updated from Version 1511 to Version 1607 it backed up that old Windows install and took up enough hard drive storage that I was down to less than 3GB of space on the main drive. I did not think of cleaning things up until I was updating apps from the Windows Store and found the process was painfully slow - even slower than you would expect from a device with these specs.
Turns out I needed to run Disk Cleanup and remove that old Windows install to free up space so the system had room to work and process the app updates. Typically this will only be a major issue when you get a device that was imaged with an older Feature Update and it is possible that the new Unified Update Platform (UUP) resolves this issue forever since the updates will be delivered as differential downloads starting with the Creators Update in early 2017.
So my next step with the device fully up to date and my information consumption apps installed is to start using it daily in tablet mode to see how it stands up to my usage scenario. Check back here in a couple of weeks after I get some additional hands on time with the device.