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E FUN Nextbook 10.1 First Impressions

E FUN Nextbook 10.1 First Impressions

Another great low-cost Windows device

Back in October, a company called E FUN announced an intriguing new 2-in-1 called the Nextbook 10.1, which promised a full multi-touch tablet experience with a hardware clip-on keyboard. Well, the Nextbook 10.1 has arrived for review, and like some other low-cost Windows devices that are shipping this holiday season, it appears to be a surprisingly high-quality machine that more than justifies its $179.99 price tag.

If you've been paying attention to the pricing follies this season, you know that you can get into an 11-inch HP Stream for $199.99. For about $20 less, the Nextbook offers multi-touch capabilities and a screen that separates into a tablet.

That's interesting, but the Nextbook is more fairly compared to the Acer Aspire Switch 10, which I'm currently evaluating too. The Switch 10 is likewise a 10-inch 2-in-1, but that device starts at $280, or about $100 more than the Nextbook. It does offer a superior design, I think, thanks to the solid connection between the tablet/screen and the keyboard base, and the way you can reverse the screen and use it like a mini-Lenovo Yoga.

What (I think) you get with the Nextbook, however, is a great value: That $179 starting price is a new low for this category of device.

There are some touches on this device I really like.

The Nextbook screen is 10.1-inches diagonally and a wide-screen 1280 x 800 resolution. But it's an IPS unit and is wonderful bright and crisp, and text pops nicely in consumption apps like News and Sports, and on the desktop too.

The Nextbook is wrapped in a pleasant rubber/plastic coating that feels both nice and durable and should withstand daily usage.

The keyboard base seems to connect well enough, though the keyboard itself is too small for me to actually use personally—big hands, etc.—and doesn't feel super-solid; if I tap away hard enough I can feel (and see) the flex. Par for the course in this price range, I guess, and more to the point I'm not exactly the target market.

And don't forget that the Nextbook comes with a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, a $69.99 value.

Specs are what you'd expect in this price range: A 1.33 GHz Intel Atom processor with 1 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage. (File Explorer reports 18.5 GB of 24.0 GB free on first launch.) Expansion is minimal with a single micro USB port (and no full-sized port), a mini HDMI port, and microSD.

More soon. But the NextBook 10.1 is available now from Wal-Mart for $179.

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