NextBook 10.1 Review – A Crazy Cheap Tablet That’s Surprisingly Good

Budget tablets are usually something I tend to avoid both trying myself, and recommending to anyone. However when I caught word of the NextBook 10.1, I was intrigued. With it’s specs and price tag, I had to give it a try. So how does this tablet perform? Is it even worth picking up? I’ve spent my time with this tablet pondering over those two questions, and these are my answers.

Specs

  • 10.1 Inch 1280×800 IPS Display
  • Intel Atom Z3735G Processor – Quad-core, 1.83 GHz
  • 1GB DDR3L RAM
  • 32GB Storage (microSD up to 64GB)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2MP Rear Camera
  • 0.3MP Front Camera
  • 6,000 mAh Battery
  • Windows 8.1
  • Pogo Keyboard



Hardware

For a budget tablet, there are two things we should expect. Software that doesn’t perform all that amazing, and hardware that is a little lackluster. While we’re going to save software for later, let’s talk about the hardware.

Overall, it’s pretty much what I expected, but that’s not a bad thing. It feels cheap, because it is cheap. But even for feeling cheap, it’s not that bad. I have no problem using the tablet, but of course it’s not without any complaints at all. The matte plastic gathers fingerprints quite quickly and isn’t easy to clean at all. The tablet is also pretty thick which I don’t particularly enjoy and it’s pretty heavy. This definitely isn’t a tablet I’d recommend holding up over your head in bed, but there’s no problems using this while sitting on the couch. The weight and bulk did give me one issue though, I’ll be totally honest, it’s what made me drop this tablet.

Each week, there’s one night where I’ll be out, and a tablet is always with me. Normally my NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet accompanies me, but one week I decided to grab the NextBook 10.1 to give it a shot outside of my house. When I arrived, I got out of the car and went to grab my phone to slip into my pocket. That’s when it happened. I lost my grip and the tablet slipped right out of my hands onto the pavement below. That caused the device to suffer the damage you’d expect, a shattered screen.

The point of that story is not that this tablet isn’t durable, it’s that the weight and bulk could be an issue for you as it was for me. I wasn’t used to carrying around a tablet like that, and it threw me off.

Overall though, the hardware isn’t bad, but it’s not the best. But again, that’s OK, it’s not meant to be.

Display

The NextBook 10.1 has a 10.1” inch display just like the name implies. The display comes in a resolution of 1280×800 using an IPS panel. For what it is, this is a good display. Viewing angles are surprisingly good as are the brightness levels. The display has some pretty large bezels surrounding it, but that’s not really a complaint for me. The display worked great for watching videos and reading and in a pinch can be great for getting some work done.

Battery Life

Battery life is one of the low points of the NextBook 10.1. With normal usage, the device doesn’t last too long. It’ll get you some decent usage, but you’ll need to plug this tablet in overnight if you plan to use it the next day, at least for the most part.

Software

In terms of software, we have Windows 8.1 With Bing loaded onto the machine. There’s nothing changed here and there are very few preloaded applications. Most applications I installed worked well on the tablet. With 32GB of storage there’s plenty of room for many of your favorite apps and the microSD port on the back is great for adding some extra space for files.

A great bonus thrown in with the tablet is the addition of a free year of Microsoft Office 365 with your purchase. That’s an awesome added value since normally that would be at least $99 for a year.

Performance

This is the part that matters. On cheap tablets, performance usually isn’t good, but the NextBook 10.1 impressed me. While of course it lags, it doesn’t do it nearly as often as expected. The device has no problems with very minor tasks, but more strenuous tasks can be a burden. Web browsing is OK is Internet Explorer, but Chrome is not easy to use on this machine. As a regular Chrome user, this was a tough one to give up. Other tasks like running apps side by side work well. For the most part, performance is good. Definitely not mind-blowing, but for the price, it’s shockingly good. I expected to be able to use Microsoft’s apps and that’s it, but my use of the device has proved me wrong.

That said, don’t expect to run Photoshop on this anytime soon. Anything that is RAM intensive or even CPU intensive isn’t going to pay too well with this device. For it’s cost though, I think you’ll be satisfied with the horsepower on this device.

Keyboard & Trackpad

One of the things that drew me to the NextBook 10.1 was the included keyboard dock. Seeing the price and the included dock is a major factor is what drew me to this device. The keyboard itself works well even if it does feel a bit cramped. The main keys are pretty easy to type on, but the surrounding function keys are very hard to use. The keyboard attaches via pogo pins and lines up using magnets.

The trackpad is, well, there. It’s far too small for me to use with pleasure, but it gets the job done. On a brightside, feedback is very tactile on it.

Final Thoughts – Is This Worth Buying

So is the NextBook 10.1 worth getting? That depends on what type of buyer you are. If you are someone looking for a gift, or someone who needs a cheap, easy, and/or portable way to use Windows, this is a really good option. However for the average person, I have to recommend you spend a bit extra to get something with a little more under the hood.

The NextBook 10.1 retails for $179 exclusively at Walmart. Are you planning to pick one up? Let us know in the comments!

  • Justaguy Livinghere

    I am thinking about getting one. I noticed you didn’t give battery life a good score. Could you be more specific on how many hours one might expect from it in average use… or at least share your own experience with battery life?

    • I generally didn’t use it over extended periods of time, but based on the amount I used it I’d say about 4-5 hours of continuous use can be expected. On standby the device usually depleted the battery within 18 hours.

      • justaguylivinghere

        Definitely a point of consideration. I appreciate your response. Thanks.

  • Gift idea

    Would you recommend this for a college student who just needs it to take notes?

    • Honestly because the keyboard is a little cramped, I’d recommend a Chromebook over it.

      For the same price point, I’d recommend the 12-inch ASUS Chromebook. http://goo.gl/zJxjbC

  • Mike Doucette

    How were you able to clean the back of the tablet, the fingerprints are driving me crazy and nothing ive done has helped. Other than that, and issues when upgraded to win 10 i love the 11.6″ 2GB ram model. But seriously if you managed to remove or clean the back somewhat, id really appreciate if you could share the knowledge.