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Notion Ink Able 10 Review


The Able 10 runs Windows 10 Home 64-bit edition with only some basic apps pre-installed. These include mobile editions of Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Twitter, and a few games from the Windows store. You don't get a trial version of any anti-virus program or any other software, which is good.
Windows can automatically switch to tablet mode when you undock the Able 10. This replaces your desktop with a Windows 8-style Start Screen. We noticed certain glitches at times, for example the on-screen keyboard would refuse to pop up when we tapped on a text box, thereby forcing us to launch it manually. The orientation also locked to portrait mode a couple of times while docking the tablet into the keyboard. These are minor things but they could get bothersome after a while.


The use of flash storage helps in speeding up boot times and general Windows performance is smooth. Heavy websites that use a lot of high-resolution images or Flash tend to load slower, and scrolling through them can stutter, even if the Able 10 is plugged in. The tablet gets a bit warm when you're using CPU intensive apps like Photoshop or playing a game, but other than this, it runs cool.
The Able 10 is a bit top-heavy, so as long as you have the tablet docked on a flat surface, you shouldn't worry about it tilting over while using it. We managed to use it on our laps pretty comfortably for short durations as the palm-rest area is a bit too small for comfort. The trackpad is far from perfect. It didn't always register a tap or even a double tap, forcing us to hit the Enter key. It also tended to mis-read gestures, so for instance, all opened windows would suddenly be minimised as the trackpad would mistake a single finger swipe for a three-finger swipe. This really got annoying after a few hours.The Notion Ink Able 10 makes for a good media consumption device. The display is sharp with decent colour reproduction, which means HD movies look good. The tablet can also play higher resolution video files, including 4K, with the native video player. Our biggest issue here was the stereo speakers, which are simply too weak to output good audio. In fact, the sound is barely audible even when you max out the volume and with Intel's equaliser enabled. Thankfully, the headphones socket doesn't have any such issue.
The 2-megapixel cameras on the front and back capture pretty poor quality pictures. Even with good lighting, images are grainy and often look dull. Due to this, the Able 10 isn't the most ideal tool for video conferencing.
With most ultraportable laptops sporting just 32GB of storage, it's nice to have twice as much for a change. Even with Windows installed, there's still plenty of room for installing all your must-have Windows applications along with programs like Photoshop and Microsoft's Office suite. The microSD card slot can accommodate cards of up to 128GB, which is fine for storing media files, thus freeing up more disk space for programs.The Atom chip in the Able 10 offers slightly better performance than the Celeron SoC in the Acer Cloudbook 11. Cinebench R15 returned a score of 8.6fps in the OpenGL test and 94 points in the multi-threaded CPU test. PCMark 8 returned scores of 1350, 1389 and 1350 for the Home, Creative and Work test suites. The file system bandwidth was similar to Acer's offering, at 156MB/s sequential read bandwidth and around 80MB/s for sequential writes. 3DMark Fire Strike refused to run due to the low GPU specifications, but the Ice Storm test gave us a score of 8497. To put it in perspective, the graphics performance is similar to that of a high-end smartphone.
Battery life is decent for a Windows tablet, and we managed to get 6 hours and 39 minutes in PCMark 8's battery test. Real world usage also yields similar results, just as long as you stick to non-CPU-intensive tasks. The 10W charger isn't powerful enough to juice up the tablet quickly, so topping it up all the way is a long wait. As far as tablets go in general, battery life could have been better.


There are a few niggles you need to be aware of. The tablet is heavy, so holding it for long durations isn't very comfortable as fatigue sets in pretty quickly. The trackpad is glitchy, and often misinterprets gestures or even fails to respond. Battery life, while good for a Windows machine, is still lagging behind that of comparable tablets, and charging the Able 10 all the way is a painfully slow process. Finally, the cameras are pretty weak which is not good if you do a lot of Skype calls.
Having said that, the Able 10 trumps most other budget Windows 2-in-1s due to its compactness, ample RAM, and good amount of storage. You'll have enough room for installing more apps even a year down the line. The build quality is also good; the display is fairly vivid; you get a good set of connectors; built-in 3G; and a solid keyboard which completes the tablet-to-laptop transformation nicely.