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Despite the unbridled expansion of Android tablets, some manufacturers do not forget about the desire of a certain category of users to get a tablet based on the Windows OS. Most recently, we told you about the ASUS Eee Slate tablet, and even earlier, the Acer Iconia Tab W500 entered the market. The peculiarity of both of these models (in addition to the Windows 7 operating system) is that in their characteristics and functionality they are closer to netbooks than tablets (in the understanding that was formed under the influence of the iPad). Acer even has a detachable dock with a keyboard, and ASUS is equipped with a completely notebook screen in size. 11.6 inches.
Today, we will consider the MSI WindPad 110W model, which is nevertheless closer to mainstream tablet standards, and in addition, much more affordable.
Recall that it was the high cost (about 50,000 rubles) that was one of the factors that repelled the ASUS Eee Slate tablet and significantly reduced the number of potential buyers. Another thing is that ASUS had in many ways unique functionality that could be claimed by a narrow category of professional designers, architects, artists. WindPad is positioned as a more democratic model, and the price (on average about 17,000 rubles at the time of writing the review) contributes to this.
WindPad 110W became the “heir” of the WindPad 100W tablet, released in early 2011. Let’s compare the characteristics of 110W and 100W, and also compare them with the ASUS Eee Slate and Acer Iconia Tab W500.
So, we see that 100W had an Intel Atom Z530 processor (whereas in 110W it had an AMD Z-01) and a worse screen (TN-matrix, resolution 1024 × 600 versus the current 1200 × 800), in addition, the new model became a bit thinner. So the 110W looks like an absolutely logical and adequate improvement. We’ll get to know the new product better, and then conduct one interesting experiment!
Contents of delivery
The tablet comes in a large, straightforward netbook format box.
In addition to the device itself, it was found in it:
- Protective fabric cover;
- Another soft suede case;
- Microfiber to clean the screen;
- Two Recovery DVDs;
- Disk Notebook Drivers Utilities Manuals;
- Warranty Card;
- Warranty information booklet;
- Quick start guide.
Well, perhaps this is the best tablet bundle we have ever seen. In some ways, it is even redundant. of course, we are talking about three discs. Nowadays, it’s already enough for the necessary drivers and manuals to be posted on the manufacturer’s website. But Windows would be better to put on a flash drive, because to work with DVD you will need an external DVD-drive, and not everyone has it.
The fact that the cover is too soft and not elastic can also cause some complaints, so it is unlikely to protect it from impacts, say, from scuffs and scratches. But this is not bad either. In general, the vast majority of tablet manufacturers do not offer even half of what we found in the MSI WindPad 110W box.
The appearance of the tablet is more likely to remind of serious “male” laptops than the glamorous iPad and its imitators. The screen edging is made of a material resembling metal (but it doesn’t seem to be metal anyway), metal buttons, a bulging camera eye, decent weight (although still less than that of the ASUS Eee Slate). MSI WindPad 110W really looks like a working tablet tool, not like a fashionable toy. But it cannot be said that this is a “heavyweight” and bulky look.
There are no complaints about the assembly. With the connectors and buttons, the situation is as follows: on the right side is a USB port, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, an SD memory card slot, a volume rocker and a lock lever.
Below. a dock connector, a connector for connecting a charger and a strange slot, covered with a lid.
SIM is written near it, and indeed, the size of the slot is quite suitable for a SIM card. But. when we lowered the SIM card there, it just fell somewhere deep inside the tablet (barely got it later!). How to explain this? Perhaps it simply assumes the possibility of installing a 3G module and a SIM slot, but this is not implemented in this instance. One way or another, we recommend that you be careful with this slot.
On the left side of the tablet there is a grill for cooling and Mini-HDMI, on top. only the Power button. It is strange that a short press on it does not bring the tablet to sleep, as we were accustomed to tablets on Android and iOS. To enter sleep mode, you need to make a long press on the Power button.
In addition to the buttons on the faces, there are also buttons on the front surface, to the right of the device’s screen. This is a touch-sensitive mini trackpad, under it are the touch buttons Enter, Home and Exit.
The Enter button can be useful when booting Windows, because if, for example, you see boot options (safe or regular), you cannot make a choice using finger input on the screen. In such cases, this touch button plays the role of Enter. And when Windows is already loaded, clicking on it launches a special MSI auxiliary menu.
To summarize the impressions about the design, we can say the following: a very nice set of slots and connectors (only a second USB is missing, why. it will be said below), high-quality assembly, the presence of auxiliary buttons and a neutral “working” appearance make this device an excellent choice for those who need to use and work, rather than admire the tablet or provoke the admiring glances of others.
A detailed examination of the screen using measuring instruments was carried out by the editor of the section “Projectors and TV” Alexei Kudryavtsev. We give his conclusion.
The screen has a mirror-smooth surface and, judging by the reflection of bright light sources in it, is equipped with an atiblical filter, which slightly, but still reduces the brightness of the reflected objects. The outer surface of the screen has a special hydrophobic coating, which does not at all prevent the appearance of fingerprints, but greatly facilitates their removal. just wipe the screen with little microfiber cloth without much effort.
With manual brightness control, its maximum value was 265 cd / m², the minimum was 27 cd / m². Even at maximum brightness in direct sunlight, it will be difficult to see anything on the screen, but any shadow will already provide sufficient intelligibility of the information displayed on the screen. The minimum brightness will allow you to comfortably use the tablet even in complete darkness. Automatic brightness control by light sensor works. The brightness is adjusted using pulse-width modulation (rectangular pulses with 100 percent amplitude) with a high frequency (250 Hz), so the flickering of the backlight at a lower brightness is not visible.
This tablet uses an IPS-type matrix, so the screen has very good viewing angles without inverting colors and without significant color shift even with large deviations of the gaze from the perpendicular to the screen. True, which is typical for any IPS-matrix, the black field when diagonally deviated significantly illuminates (but remains close to neutral gray). Therefore, if you hold the tablet close to your eyes, then the black field will be lighter in the corners than in other areas of the screen. This effect will be noticeable, for example, when watching movies with dark scenes in the dark. With a perpendicular view, the black field uniformity over most of the area of the screen is good, but right next to the frame there are several places with increased brightness, as if in these places the matrix is slightly deformed. The response time for the black-white-black transition is 22.9 ms (13.6 ms on. 9.3 ms off). The gamma curve constructed using 32 points did not reveal any blockage either in the lights or in the shadows, and the approximating power function index turned out to be 1.94, which is slightly lower than the standard value of 2.2.
High contrast. 940: 1. Color gamut narrower than sRGB.
Spectra confirm this.
Apparently, the matrix filters slightly mix the components together. The color balance is slightly shifted to cold shades. the “working” part of the gray scale has a color temperature of about 7700 K.
The deviation from the spectrum of a completely black body (delta E) on most of the gray scale does not exceed 2 units, and, very well, an increase in color temperature and ΔE is observed only in the dark part of the gray scale, where color reproduction is not critical, and the measurement error is high.
In general, despite the fact that there is something to complain about, the screen quality of this tablet should be recognized as quite high.
The tablet runs on an AMD Z-01 processor. This is a fairly new model of AMD APU, which began shipping in June this year. The Z-01 Hybrid Processor (codename Desna) was designed specifically for tablets. The APU Z-01 configuration includes two x86-compatible Bobcat cores operating at 1 GHz, and a Radeon HD 6250 graphics processor with DirectX 11 support.
The first tablet that uses this processor was the MSI WindPad 110W. We will definitely check how smoothly the tablet works with Full HD, but for now let’s look at the other components of the hardware configuration.
The amount of RAM DDR3 is 2 GB. For information storage, an SSD with a declared capacity of 32 GB is used (optionally you can increase it to 64 GB). If there are no complaints about the RAM, then the basic capacity of the SSD, frankly, is not enough. Judge for yourselves: out of the available 29.7 GB (this is exactly the size of the disk in the usual “binary gigabytes”), approximately half (15.1 GB) is available, the rest is occupied by the Windows 7 operating system and pre-installed programs. Now add here the volume of the office suite, a graphic editor, leave a few gigabytes to gradually “litter” the system. and it will become clear that the “younger” version is suitable only for the most primitive use.
The tablet has a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Extended SP1. We will not dwell on the touch capabilities of Windows 7, since this has already been said enough in the article about the ASUS Eee Slate tablet. But we repeat our main conclusions. In our opinion, Windows 7 is not the most suitable operating system for tablets. And it makes sense to use it only when you need specialized professional applications that do not have mobile counterparts. Of course, the advantage of Windows 7 is the “omnivorous” in terms of and audio formats, as well as a familiar interface (although you still have to get used to it a lot from scratch. it’s about touch capabilities). But the cons are outweighed (again, if we talk about typical tablet use. web surfing, watching movies, playing games, reading.).
Therefore, it was especially interesting for us to try installing Windows 8 on a tablet. We will tell you in detail about the process and results.
Install Windows 8
First of all, note that for installation you will need to download the 64-bit version of Windows 8, the 32-bit build just will not start. The second nuance is that it is impossible to put Windows 8 as the second system: this simply does not allow the amount of available memory (the OS installation process itself requires about 20 GB, although after installation it will only take a little more than 11 GB). Therefore, the only option to try Windows 8 on a tablet is to completely remove Windows 7 and boot from a flash drive or a Windows 8 drive.
But to do this, as it turned out, is not so simple. The reason is simple: the MSI tablet has only one USB port. If you connect a flash drive or an external DVD-drive with Windows 8 to it, then you can’t change the settings in the BIOS, since touch input is not supported there. Writing Windows 8 to an SD card will not help either: although WindPad has a slot for it, in the BIOS the SD card is not displayed as a drive.
In general, experiments have shown that there are two ways: either find a USB hub, or first connect a keyboard to the tablet and use it to deactivate booting from the SSD. After that, when you connect an external DVD drive or bootable USB flash drive, the tablet will automatically boot from them.
The further process is quite understandable and does not cause difficulties. Note that the mouse cursor (controlled by a touch mini-trackpad) during the installation process becomes active almost immediately.
No additional drivers are required by the operating system. Windows 8 successfully installed and was able to use the wireless module, all touch buttons, a mini trackpad, etc.
Impressions of working with Windows 8 on a tablet
General aspects related to the operating system, we will not describe. You could read about them here, and the main innovations of Windows 8 are described here. We focus on what is directly related to using Windows 8 on the tablet.
Firstly, it immediately catches your eye how fast the OS boots: about twice as fast as Windows 7! From pressing the Power button to the start screen of Windows 8 it takes less than half a minute (and sometimes faster), while in the case of Windows 7 it took about a minute.
Secondly, one can not help but pay attention to a much smoother interface. If for Windows 7 the processor performance was still a little lacking, then for Windows 8 it was just right. Of course, the question remains how much the work of the Metro-interface of Windows 8 will be hindered by a large number of installed applications (the tiles of which will contain dynamic content), but since there are nowhere to take Metro-applications from (you can only use the pre-installed ones), it is impossible to verify. However, we will return to performance issues.
When we talked about the Windows 8 interface installed on the desktop, we complained about the non-obviousness of some actions, the lack of intuitiveness. But if you put Windows 8 on a tablet, then various gestures that you get used to pretty quickly will help solve this problem. So, movement from the right corner brings up a side menu (containing the commands Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings).
If you pull from the left side towards the center, when you are in Metro mode, then we get into the Desktop mode (on the MSI tablet, the same result will be if you touch the Home touch button on the right edge of the screen). If you pull from the left side when you are in Desktop mode, then the windows of running Metro applications will go to the left. So far, all this is not working very stable. But in general, the system is quite functional and suitable for unprofessional use.
Of particular note is the convenient virtual keyboard. In my opinion, it is superior in keyboard convenience to both iOS 5.x and Android 3.x. In addition to the main option, there is also a view convenient for printing on small devices with two hands, the possibility of handwriting and. a whole gallery of emoticons.
It is curious that Internet Explorer is present in the Developer Preview assembly in two versions at once: regular (IE10) and Metro-applications. The interface of the second is especially interesting to us. It is really quite convenient and intuitive: thumbnails of all open windows are displayed in the upper panel, the search bar is located at the bottom.
There are also virtual buttons that allow you to add an open page to your Favorites, reload, go back and forth. That’s just there is no Flash support (even if you install the Adobe Flash player).
How to test tablet performance on Windows is not entirely clear. There are no specialized (designed specifically for tablets) benchmarks, and using a laptop methodology that includes 3D modeling, serious games and other things that are meaningless on a tablet is not very indicative from the point of view of real application. And, again, there is nothing to compare. Prior to this, we had only two Windows tablets tested, and both were not tested using the laptop method. Therefore, from the benchmarks, we decided to confine ourselves to the Windows performance index (since it reflects well how much the OS itself has enough device performance), as well as the browser test SunSpider 0.9.1. its results are indicative of the convenience of web surfing.
So, the Windows performance index was defined as 2.7 (out of a maximum of 7.9).
The reason is the processor part (recall that the final Windows Experience Index is declared based on the lowest result among all tested components). Whereas on the graphic side, MSI received very decent results for the tablet. 3.9 (graphics) and 5.5 (gaming graphics). This is in good agreement with the results of our testing of representatives of the AMD APU family (including processors based on the Bobcat core, although we did not fully test the Z-01 specifically).
The expectedly high results (6.4) were shown by the disk subsystem (here, after all, SSD!), The speed of working with RAM is quite good (4.9). But the computational part of the processor spoils everything.
Now let’s look at the results of SunSpider. This benchmark was passed by the tablet in 1116.4 ms. The result is significantly better than that of the Apple iPad 2 and tablets on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 (they pass this test in about 2000 ms), but, of course, worse than the ASUS Eee Slate.
Note: the table shows the best results that the tablets could demonstrate.
However, I would not say that working with web pages on Windows tablets is much more comfortable than on iPad and Android tablets. That is, in this case, the results of objective testing do not quite coincide with subjective impressions.
The third task was to play Full HD. Recall, the tablet is equipped with a Mini-HDMI output, so that it can be connected to a TV or monitor. and enjoy Full HD. For testing, we used two clips. The first. lasting 3 minutes 9 seconds and a volume of 124 MB. Here are the data from the MediaInfo utility for this: MPEG-4 (Base Media / Version 2), AVC codec (High@L4.0) (CABAC 1 Ref Frames), bitrate. 5400 Kbps, audio codec. AAC, audio bitrate. 140 Kbps. For playback, Windows Media Player was used.
The first went smoothly, no slowdowns or other problems were noticed.
The second. 6 minutes 23 seconds, volume. 605 MB. Here is what MediaInfo says about it: MPEG-4 (QuickTime), AVC codec (Main@L4.0) (2 Ref Frames), bitrate. 11.1 Mbps, audio codec. PCM (24 bits), audio bitrate. 2117 Kbps. For playback, QuickTime Player was used.
Here, the tablet was already more difficult. And he did not do it 100 percent. Although the was playing, but with noticeable slowdowns and jerks, so it was not very comfortable to watch. Of course, there is a very high bitrate, and, in addition, the task is complicated by the stream of uncompressed 24-bit audio. In addition, the is very dynamic. But what caused the “brakes”? Let’s see what processor load is when playing this.
So, our fears were confirmed: in the most dynamic moments, the processor load reached 95 percent. However, it is possible that QuickTime (and even installed on Windows 8) simply does not know how to use the graphic part of AMD-Z, so the weak load is on the weak processor cores. So in general, the situation with playback on the MSI tablet should be recognized as very good. Alls up to and including 720p can be played without any problems, and you can also try Full HDs, but with a not very high bitrate.
Battery life, heating and noise
As we already noted in the review of ASUS Eee Slate, the weak point of Windows-tablets is battery life. And MSI is no exception. In Windows 7, with an average activity, the tablet will work for about three hours. When the battery was fully charged, the OS reported that the remaining time was 2 hours 53 minutes (in the “Balanced” mode). And it was not very far from the truth. If you watch a movie with a resolution of 720p, then the battery will drain even faster. in about two hours (and this is not even enough for every movie!). However, I repeat, these results did not surprise us very much, because this is not a specific tablet disaster, but Windows 7. But what will happen if you install Windows 8?
So, with Windows 8 installed and a full battery charge, the tablet promises to work for as long as 5 hours 31 minutes! Almost two times more than with Windows 7. And indeed, the charge melts much more slowly. We emphasize that so far the comparison is still not entirely correct, since Windows 8 is presented in a far from final assembly, and it will certainly be optimized in terms of battery life, but the more impressive are the results we obtained. Although. even Windows 8 does not reach the performance of iPad and Android-tablets. However, I repeat, it is too early to draw conclusions. Let’s wait for the final version of the OS.
In the process, the tablet heats up a little on the left side, and warm air starts to come out of the ventilation holes. However, it cannot be said that the tablet is very noisy, and the heating has never gone beyond reasonable limits.
As already happened, the tablet is equipped with two cameras: rear and front. But we failed to test them. It turned out to be not so easy to find applications for Windows that use a rear camera, and Skype, with which it would be possible to evaluate the quality of the front camera, was unstable on Windows 8.
Nevertheless, the available information about these cameras is quite enough to draw any conclusions. So, both cameras shoot with a resolution of 1.3 megapixels, which is not enough even by the standards of budget smartphones. It is clear that the resolution is not always identical to quality, but in this case there is no reason to believe that high-quality photomatrixes were installed in the tablet. In addition, there is no flash and autofocus. So I wouldn’t count on the rear camera at all, but the use of the front camera depends solely on the support of the corresponding software for communication, and in Windows 7 there should not be any problems with it.
For excellent packaging, we award the MSI WindPad 110W Excellent Package Award.