iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Review

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The tablet runs on Remix OS, a fork of Android with a Windows-like UI
  • It is powered by an octa-core processor and has 2GB of RAM
  • The tablet shuts down abruptly when the battery level is low

The tablet market has’t found long-term traction, and we now see a lot of manufacturers shying away from this product category. There are still a few major players like Apple and Samsung showcasing products like the iPad Proand the Galaxy Tab S3, but the smaller manufacturers such as iBall, Micromax, and Intex that cater to the lower price segments have slowed down, releasing fewer new models than before. Today we have one such tablet from iBall, which claims to be different. The company says that it is designed for work as well as entertainment, and what’s also interesting is that it runs Remix OS, a fork of Android. Is this enough to make the iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G reinvigorate the tablet market? Let’s find out.

 

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G look and feel

This iBall tablet looks like it was inspired heavily by the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 and its siblings, so much so that it’s practically a knockoff. An original design might have been a better idea since the Yoga Tab 3 is available at roughly the same price. iBall has used plastic for the construction of this tablet and it does not feel premium. It has a cylindrical bulge on one side which houses a kickstand to keep the tablet upright when used in landscape mode.

When holding the iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G in portrait mode, it feels like you are holding a book with the pages folded back around the spine, which helps grip it better. There area speakers at either end, but this positioning means that audio isn’t directed towards the user. Also, the speakers aren’t very loud to start with which makes it harder to enjoy media.

iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Front NDTV iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Review

The front of the tablet is dominated by a 10.1-inch display with a 5-megapixel selfie camera above it. On the top edge, you’ll find a DC power input, a 3.5mm audio socket, a Micro-USB port, a mic, the power button, and the volume buttons. With all the connection points at the top, the other sides are blank. Just like the Yoga Tab 3, iBall has positioned the SIM and the microSD slots behind the kickstand which acts like a cover of sorts. We found that the kickstand is made of metal and is a pain to use because you have to pry it open with your fingernails. There’s also an 8-megapixel rear camera with a single LED flash.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G specifications

The tablet’s 10.1-inch display sports a resolution of 1280×800 pixels and has decent viewing angles. While we found the big screen adequate for watching content on, the resolution could have been better. We have seen smaller tablets like the Xiaomi Mi Pad (Review) pack in a high-res display, which drastically improves the viewing experience. Powering the Brace-X1 4G  is a MediaTek MT8783 octa-core processor which is clocked at 1.3GHz, with an integrated Mali-T720 GPU. The tablet also gets 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The OS occupies close to 6GB leaving you with only about 10GB of space for all your stuff. Thankfully, storage is expandable and you can use a microSD card of up to 64GB.

The device has a single SIM slot and supports 4G and VoLTE. You can use a cellular data plan to access the Internet on the go, and you can also make voice calls using this tablet. As there is no earpiece you’ll need to use headphones, a Bluetooth accessory, or the main speakers.

iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Stand NDTV iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Review

iBall has provided a DC charger which keeps the Micro-USB port free. There’s also a USB-OTG adapter in the box so you can easily connect peripherals or storage devices. The tablet gets Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support but in terms of sensors, you’ll have to make do with only an accelerometer.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G software and performance

The iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G runs Remix OS which is based on Android Marshmallow. For starters, Remix OS feels like a mashup between Windows 10 and Android, as it has a Windows-like desktop rather than the usual homescreen. The traditional Android navigation buttons are found to the left of the taskbar, and there is a Start button which displays all the apps installed on the device. Icons for installed apps are also available on the desktop. The navigation buttons still perform the same functions as they do on any Android device, and long-pressing the Overview button displays a list of open apps.

When apps are launched, each one runs in its own window, which lets you have multiple apps visible simultaneously. Remix OS also adds icons of these apps to the taskbar just like Windows and you can switch between them by tapping on their icons. Closing apps requires you to drag the icon upwards from the taskbar.

iBall Slide Brace X1 Remix NDTV iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Remix Review

Notifications are done differently as well. You don’t have the traditional notifications shade anymore. Instead, like Windows 10, you get notifications tucked away in the rightmost corner of the taskbar. This also means that there are no quick settings, so you’ll have to hop over to the Settings app to do most things. Only brightness, volume and Wi-Fi controls are available in the taskbar, and this took us time to get used to.

There are quite a few preinstalled social networking apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook, as well as Dailyhunt, BeautyPlus Me and games like Bubble Bash 3, Midnight Pool and Modern Combat 4. While they take up some space you can uninstall all of them. Remix OS also has its own app store called Remix Central which lists app recommendations from Remix. Thankfully, the Google Play store is also available.

Remix OS tries to deliver a PC-esque experience on top of Android, which makes it interesting.

iBall Slide Brace X1 Notification NDTV iBall Slide Brace X1 4G Remix Review

In terms of performance, the Brace-X1 4G is reasonably capable. We did not face lags while using the device and it could run a few apps simultaneously. However, we noticed that the tablet would get warm while playing games. It also shut down without warning a few times when the battery level was low.

We ran benchmarks and got 34,270 in Antutu, and 536 and 1,781 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests. The tablet also managed 9 hours, 23 minutes in our HD video loop test. This means that you can binge watch a couple of movies or episodes of your favourite TV series. We found that it lasted for close to a day and a half of manual usage. In real-world terms people don’t usually use tablets continuously like they do with smartphones, meaning it’s possible to stretch this out longer. However, we did also find that the Brace X1-4G’s battery level drops significantly even when it is left in standby. When the battery finally wears down, it does take time to charge it up using the supplied adapter.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G cameras

Taking photos with this tablet feels quite awkward because of its size, shape and weight. It sports an 8-megapixel camera with a single LED flash at the back, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front. The stock Android camera app is used, and it doesn’t seem to be optimised for bigger screens. Icons appear huge, and going through the menu while holding the tablet with one hand is inconvenient.

We also saw that the buttons are positioned towards the top of the device when holding it in portrait mode which isn’t comfortable to use. The camera takes quite some time to focus and may need multiple taps on the screen at times, which can be annoying. Photos weren’t sharp, and most of them lacked detail.

Tap to see full-sized iBall Slide Brace X1 4G camera samples

Verdict

While we see the popularity of tablets declining, we must say that this iBall tablet introduces something new in the segment. Remix OS tries to deliver a PC-like experience which some might find good for productivity and there’s definitely more flexibility than stock Android. For example, you can run more than two apps simultaneously and use the common keyboard shortcuts you’re used to. It might take some time to get used to, but it looks like iBall is clearly targeting people who want more than just a tablet for entertainment.

While the software was good we felt let down by the hardware. The display has a low resolution which is a major disappointment, and overall the specifications and quality of the Brace-X1 4G don’t live up to its asking price of Rs 15,999. Also, with the device shutting down abruptly it is quite hard for us to recommend it seriously.

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iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G

Rs.17,890
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Remix OS makes multitasking easy
  • DC charging pin keeps the Micro-USB port free
  • Bad
  • Low display resolution
  • Switches off abruptly when battery is low
  • Camera performance is below average
BUY AT
  • IBall Slide Brace-X1 4G (Bronze Gold, 16GB) – OFFER
    Rs.17,890

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

iBall CompBook Exemplaire Review

iBall CompBook Exemplaire ReviewiBall CompBook Exemplaire Review
HIGHLIGHTS
The iBall CompBook Exemplaire is priced at just Rs. 13,999
It has weak components, slow connectivity and limited storage
Battery life is one of this device’s strong points
Laptop manufacturers are in a race to the bottom. Prices are lower than they’ve ever been, even counting the brief time when netbooks were popular. It is now possible to buy a fairly competent laptop for just under Rs. 10,000 – including a Windows 10 license. That puts the power of a full-fledged PC into the hands of people who might never have thought it possible to own one before. A brief glance at smartphone sales figures shows that millions of units are sold in the sub-Rs 10,000 and sub-Rs 15,000 segment each month. Now, all those buyers have the option of spending their money on a computer.

We recently reviewed the RDP ThinBook, which sells for slightly more than its Rs. 9,999 launch price. For a laptop with a 14-inch screen, its price is still unbeatable. However, the far more established iBall has launched a pair of competitors which come very close: the 11.6-inch CompBook Excelance priced at Rs. 9,999, and the 14-inch CompBook Exemplaire priced at Rs. 13,999. All specifications other than screen size are common between the two, and we have the larger model in for review today.

iBall CompBook Exemplaire look and feel
Considering its price, there isn’t much to complain about. The iBall CompBook Exemplaire is extremely slim and could give several premium ultrabooks a complex based on that one factor. It doesn’t look cheap or have any rough edges. The overall wedge shape is similar to what we’ve seen in the form of the Asus UX305 and several others, even the RDP ThinBook.
iBall has gone with a deep brown colour which covers all surfaces except for the keyboard keys. There’s a stylised ‘K’ logo in the centre of the lid and an iBall logo in one corner. You’ll find a DC power inlet and LED, a USB 2.0 port and a Mini-HDMI video output on the left, as well as a second USB port, 3.5mm audio socket and microSD card slot on the right. The speakers are on the bottom, and sound will project outwards if you use the CompBook on a flat surface but get muffled otherwise. You won’t find any vents, thanks to the low-power Atom processor that powers this laptop and doesn’t need a fan.

The first thing you’ll see when you flip the lid open is the bright red i key – an iBall touch that’s been around since the brand’s earliest days selling PC keyboards and mice. It’s otherwise fairly standard, though the placement of the Delete key is awkward and there’s no Windows menu key. We also noticed that there are no screen brightness adjustment shortcuts, and that the Intel sticker on the palm rest of our review unit was crooked.

The screen and keyboard both feel like they’re surrounded by too much plastic, but that isn’t a huge problem. The screen itself, however, is rather dull and grainy. It tends to have trouble with saturated colours and blacks, and viewing angles aren’t great either. Again, we have to remember just how little the CompBook Exemplaire costs.

The overall weight of just 1.46kg makes this laptop excellent for traveling with, and in fact lighter than quite a few mainstream ultrabooks. However, this isn’t the sturdiest of products. The keyboard deck sinks in the centre when typing and the hinge creaks when pushed beyond its limit. We found that there was quite a bit of flex to the lid, and it was too easy to bend and warp. In fact, even with the lid closed, the entire laptop can be twisted a bit, and placing anything heavy on top of it is likely to make the lid dip.

The only thing you get in the box other than the laptop itself is a wall-wart charger, which is pretty small and has a relatively short cord.

iBall CompBook Exemplaire specifications and software
The Intel Atom Z3735F is based on the Bay Trail architecture which is now several years old but is still powerful enough for basic usage. This CPU has been a popular choice for a variety of small, low-cost devices including Intel’s own Compute Stick, iBall’s very similar Splendo PC-On-Stick and tablets such as the Globalspace Technologies Solt, Notion Ink Cain and Micromax Canvas Laptab LT666. The Z3735F is a quad-core CPU which runs between 1.33GHz and 1.83GHz and consumes only 2.2W of power. Basic Intel HD Graphics capabilities are integrated.

The CompBook Exemplaire has 2GB of RAM which is as much as the CPU supports, but only 32GB of embedded local storage. Note that this is not a typical SSD, it’s more like a permanently attached SD card. Its capacity is a severe limit, and our review unit only had 21.5GB free when we turned it on for the first time. You can pop in a microSD card and leave it there like you would with a smartphone, but support only goes up to 64GB which is a pity. We would have preferred a standard-sized SD slot too.

Of course you can use external storage devices, but then there’s the fact that both of the USB ports only work at USB 2.0 speed. This has to be the first laptop we’ve encountered in several years to not even support USB 3.0, which is ten times faster. Even the cheaper RDP ThinBook had one USB 3.0 port.

The screen’s resolution is just 1366×768, which is standard for low-cost laptops. What is interesting is that both the 14-inch CompBook Exemplaire and the 11.6-inch CompBook Excelance have 37WHr batteries. The company uses 10,000mAh as a measure of capacity which sounds great in smartphone terms, and honestly there isn’t much difference between this hardware and the guts of an Intel-based smartphone or tablet.

There’s also Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and an utterly forgettable VGA webcam. As you can see, these specifications are the absolute bare minimum required to run Windows 10. We would have liked at least one USB 3.0 port, better storage options and perhaps an actual Ethernet port.
Speaking of Windows, what you get here is a 32-bit edition of Windows 10 Home. There’s no preinstalled software other than the standard Windows 10 junk which you can get rid of to free up space.

iBall CompBook Exemplaire Performance
With a fair idea of the limited capabilities of the hardware at our disposal, we set about testing the iBall CompBook Exemplaire. One bit of good news is that it booted really quickly, thanks to the embedded flash storage. General usage was laggy, with things like the Windows Setttings app and context menus taking a few moments to appear when called up. Web surfing and general document creation seemed fine – even HD video playback was surprisingly trouble-free. The speakers, however, are just plain awful – even voices don’t come through clearly.

The keyboard is relatively comfortable though it does dip in the centre. The keys are wobbly but their action is crisp. If your usage involves even a small amount of typing, the CompBook Exemplaire is a far better choice than similarly priced tablets with flimsy keyboard cases and docks. The trackpad was also quite decent – multitouch gestures seemed to be recognised well, but we found accuracy and palm rejection to be somewhat below par.

Connectivity and storage are both sorely lacking, and we had to install our benchmarks one at a time because they all simply wouldn’t fit. Speaking of benchmarks, PCMark 8 would not run at all, and while 3DMark did open, even the basic Fire Strike test was too much, and the CompBook bowed out with a score of zero. POVRay’s CPU-intensive render benchmark took 33 minutes, 38 seconds to complete. SiSOFT Sandra showed that CPU, memory and storage performance are just about on par with other Z3735-based devices.

Battery life was a bright spot, with even the demanding Battery Eater Pro lasting for 5 hours, 58 minutes. We were able to use the CompBook Exemplaire through a workday, though we only used it for light Web browsing and a bit of YouTube video streaming. However, it took ages to recharge, and that too only if it was in standby with the lid down – when it was running but not even being used, it barely seemed to be able to charge at all.

Verdict
Ultra-low-cost Windows devices up until this point have suffered from two major problems: weak components and sub-optimal form factors. In trying to be versatile 2-in-1s or tablets, several other products have simply failed to be good tools to get work done with. Yet, we accepted them and even recommended them (with caveats) because they opened the market to buyers who never would have been able to have a PC in their home before, and that alone is a massive achievement.

iBall is one of a few companies taking those same low-cost parts and putting them into a more sensible body. Make no mistake, this is basically a very cheap tablet in the body of a laptop – but it works, and is arguably a better productivity machine than anything we’ve seen before in this price class. It isn’t fast or versatile by any means, but it’s more than enough for students who need to type reports, home users who just want to send emails or surf the Web, and office workers who go out into the field often and need to stay connected. It could be a secondary PC or even a spare that you keep lying around.

If you’ve been using a budget smartphone or tablet solely because it’s your most accessible device, you now have a whole new world open to you. Longevity is of course questionable, but you should get as much useful life out of this as you would a smartphone. Devices like this have the potential to massively improve PC penetration and literacy in India and around the world.

Price (MRP): Rs. 13,999

Pros
Fantastically low price
Reasonably good keyboard and trackpad
Thin and light
Full Windows 10 license included
Cons

Old, weak CPU
Only 32GB of storage
No USB 3.0 ports
Body bends and twists easily
Ratings (Out of 5)

Design: 3
Display: 3
Performance: 2
Software: 4.5
Battery life: 4
Value for Money: 5
Overall: 3.5
Tags: iBall, iBall CompBook, iBall CompBook Exemplaire, iBall Com, iBall CompBook Exemplaire performance, iBall CompBook Exemplaire features, iBall CompBook Exemplaire price, iBall CompBook Exemplaire price in India, laptops, budget laptops

[“source-ndtv”]

iBall Slide Brace-X1 Tablet With 4G, Voice Calling Support Launched at Rs. 17,499

iBall Slide Brace-X1 Tablet With 4G, Voice Calling Support Launched at Rs. 17,499

HIGHLIGHTS

  • It has a 10.1-inch capacitive display
  • The iBall Slide Brace X1 offers 16GB storage
  • It packs a 7800mAh battery

iBall has launched the 4G variant of the iBall Slide Brace-X1tablet in India. The 4G variant is priced at Rs. 17,499 and is already available in leading retail stores across the country. The tablet comes only in a Gold colour option.

The iBall Slide Brace-X1 was launched in February last yearfor the price of Rs. 17,999. The new 4G variant comes with many changes: it notably sports a different camera, and runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out-of-the-box.

As for the specifications, the iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G tablet comes with a kickstand just like its predecessor for propping it up on a table anywhere. It features the same 10.1-inch (1280×800 pixels) capacitive multi-touch IPS display. It is powered by a 1.3GHz octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with MaliT720 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The tablet offers 16GB of inbuilt storage with the option to expand further using a microSD card slot (up to 64GB.)

The iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G supports voice calling and packs a 7800mAh battery. The battery is rated to last up to 24 hours without the recharge. The tablet has a 8-megapixel auto focus rear camera with LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies. It packs a 7800mAh battery.Connectivity options on the iBall Slide Brace-X1 include 4G, VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Micro-USB, GPS/ A-GPS, and OTG support. It also includes dual chambered speakers, which according to company can deliver a “theatrical experience”. The tablet comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint apps, and various utility apps such as Facebook, Saavn, and WhatsApp. There are several GameLoft games like Asphalt Nitro, Bubble Bash 3, Midnight Pool, Modern Combat 4 Zero Hour, and Spider-Ultimate Power as well. The iBall Slide Brace-X1 21 read and write regional languages support.

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G

iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G

Rs. 16,999
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

10.10-inch

Processor

1.3GHz octa-core

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1280×800 pixels

RAM

2GB

Storage

16GB

Rear Camera

8-megapixel

Battery Capacity

7800mAh

BUY AT
  • Amazon
    IBall Slide Brace-X1 4G (Bronze Gold, 16GB, Wi-Fi + 4G VoLTE support + Voice Calling, 10.1 Inch) –
    Rs. 16,999
Tags: iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G, iBall, Tablets, Android, Android Marshmallow, iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Launch, iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Price, iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Specifications, iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G Features, iBall Slide Brace-X1 4G India Launch
[“Source-Gadgets”]