Micromax’s Canvas Laptab is aimed at those users who cannot afford to buy a laptop and want a tablet which can really help them out with work. The student, the office-goer who does not have a big budget, is the target audience for the Canvas LapTab. The LapTab, which runs Windows 8.1 can be used like a touch-screen tablet or users can just plug it into the external keyboard and then convert it into a laptop.
Design, form factor: The Canvas LapTab reminds one of a cheaper version of the Surface and in my opinion, the design does not really impress. With a laptop, the advantage is that the screen won’t fall if you decide to put it on your lap. With the LapTab, you can never really get comfortable while typing. The keyboard has a hinge in the centre where you can dock the tablet and while it works fine if say on a table, but if you are in a moving train, the shakiness is not reassuring.
The tablet has a power button and the volume buttons are on the left hand-side. These are not exceptionally well-designed. I really had to press the power button hard to get the tab to start in the first place and with the volume buttons also it was the same issue. On top of the tablet is a micro-SIM , micro-USB and a microSD slot. This tablet
only has 32 GB space, of which users end up getting around 16 GB space free. (once you activate the Microsoft Office 2013 that comes free with the LapTab). So yes, you will need to add a microSD card if you want more space. In addition to this, the keyboard has a USB slot on the right hand-side, which is convenient if you want to plug in your hard-drive on this device.
Tablet versus keyboard: In a device like this, the key is performance and of course the keyboard. Given that I have tiny fingers and hands, it should not have been so hard for me to adjust to typing on the smaller keyboard, but it does take time getting used to this. I kept mistyping, at least in the first couple of days, although I did manage to type out this review on the LapTab, without having to hit backspace too many times. Once you get used to the LapTab, then it is a fairly comfortable keyboard, although the keys feel plasticky. But yes, typing on a smaller keyboard is not that easy, simply because many of us are used to a bigger keyboard. I suspect people with giant hands would probably have a tougher time with this than I did.
While using the LapTab as a tablet goes, Windows 8.1 is not the greatest tablet platform. When I was using the touch-screen, I faced issues getting the screen to respond at the exact spot where I placed my fingers. For instance opening a new tab on Chrome in the touch-screen only in the tablet mode took several attempts. In addition to this, at one point the touch-screen stopped working completely and I was not sure if I had mistakenly tinkered with some settings to switch it off. The touchscreen facility then came back as mysteriously as it had disappeared.
Speed, battery: For a Windows 8.1 device with only 2 GB RAM and Intel Atom processor inside, the LapTab was responsive, although starting the tablet took some time. Microsoft Office 2013 is free with the device and once I activated it, the software installed quite quickly and worked efficiently for me. For users who might buy this device, Office is probably going to be the most important and frequent app they will access on the LapTab and thus it is crucial that this works without glitches. That I was able to type, save documents to OneDrive without facing any issues is a win in my opinion.
Where the laptop side of the LapTab failed to impress me was in the USB port option in the board. No matter how many times I unplugged or plugged my external hard-drive to the USB port, it would not show the drive for the first couple of minutes. When the drive did show up and I tried to open some folders, the explorer box gave the all too common Windows message: not responding. If students go for a device like this, they will want to plug in their hard-drive and if that does not happen smoothly, then there’s really no point.
The LapTab also gave me trouble on the final day, when it did not start, despite showing the LapTab logo appearing on the screen. After a couple of attempts, it worked fine, but it was not very reassuring to face such an issue with a review unit.
Battery is definitely the most disappointing feature of the LapTap. It took me more than four hours to get the device to 50% charge on the first day. The battery (the full charge took more than eight hours which is a lot) did not even last a day even with moderate usage, which included browsing at the most. Battery life is crucial for a device that many might want to use on the go and this in my opinion is a big failing.
Worth a buy?
A Windows 8.1 tablet/two-in-one is not really an entertainment device given the lack of apps on Windows 8 platform. If you want a tablet for gaming, music, watching movies, this is not aimed at you. If you want a cheaper substitute for a laptop and have a really tight budget, this is something worth looking at because for me it delivered on the basics: the ability to run work-related apps and do basic typing. For a more heavy duty use, I am not convinced the LapTab is the right answer.
* Dimensions: 259 x 175 x 9.2 mm
* Display: 10.1-inch screen IPS capacitive touchscreen
* Processor: Intel 4th Gen Atom (3735F, Quad Core, Up to 1.83 GHz
* Operating system: Windows 8.1 operating system
* Memory & storage: 2 GB DDR3L RAM, 32 GB Flash storage
* Camera: 2 MP front & rear
* Ports: Built-in 1 USB.2.0 and 1 micro USB port
** Estimated street price: Rs 14,999