Renowned for its range of budget-friendly smartphones, Chinese-based Alcatel has released its first 2-in-1 tablet/notebook hybrid, the ‘PLUS 12’, which while boasting fingerprint recognition, stylus support and full Windows 10 compatibility, opts for lightweight portability in lieu of powerful performance.
From the onset, it’s clear this is a simple, entry level device (RRP $558), apparent in its ‘no frills’ design. The device is notably lightweight for a Windows 10 tablet (599g), and measuring 284 x 175 x 7.9mm is compact enough to fit in my large handbag.
With such specifications, I appreciate that the PLUS 12 can easily accompany me to meetings, remain in my bag for extended time periods, and overall not cause too much hassle. Its lightweight design serves its purpose as a highly mobile notebook/tablet device.
Typing on the keyboard is similar to other rival devices, overall simple and uncomplicated, however not especially ergonomic nor filled with added benefits (e.g. sound reduction when hitting the keys). It serves its purpose and is user friendly.
Something to note, the keyboard is rather flimsy, and isn’t well suited to sitting up in bed and typing.
The PLUS 12 features a microHDMI port, a USB-C port, and power button that also houses a fingerprint unlock sensor. (Be wary that when setting up fingerprint recognition for the first time, you can easily accidentally turn off the device. Speaking from experience).
The accompanying battery powered stylus feels weighty and ‘pen-like’ in the hand, which I appreciate as it offers a more natural movement. Unfortunately, the device’s performance capacity doesn’t render an always seamless drawing experience, but more on that later.
The PLUS 12 boasts an 11.6″ Full HD display screen, and is suitable for playing videos on most platforms. Unfortunately, I did find a decent amount of lag when trying to navigate streaming websites (e.g. Stan/Netflix), however Youtube is rather hassle-free.
Powered by a an Intel Celeron N3350 (Dual Core 2.4GHz), and incorporating just 4GB of RAM it’s clear this isn’t supposed to be an especially high-powered device – and that’s reflected in its budget friendly $558 price tag.
The PLUS 12 seems more suited to simple, basic tasks, rather than anything especially intensive. For example, perusing slides during your university lecture or reviewing presentation slides in a meeting. The device is suitable for more simple, mundane tasks – such as email or basic internet browsing.
When trying to access multiple browser tabs, or complete high processing creative tasks (e.g. Adobe InDesign) the computer does significantly slow down, but then again, it’s more a case that you get what you pay for. This is not the device to engage in gaming or conduct video editing.
As bonus, Alcatel hasn’t weighed down the PLUS 12 with additional free software, enabling consumers more control over its 32GB of storage. That being said, its likely there’ll be significantly less storage remaining after Windows 10 is installed.
Therefore, to render better performance its recommended you integrate a microSD card for added storage.
However, if you plan to use the PLUS 12 for relatively basic tasks – as recommended – you should be able to utilise cloud based storage mostly, thereby forgoing the need for a microSD.
Unfortunately, the Australian model of the PLUS 12 does not feature 4G connectivity, which is is a notable disadvantage for a device which is meant to offer highly mobile functionality.
For a highly portable device, battery life is no doubt important.
The PLUS 12’s tablet component integrates a 6900mAh battery. I found that in general, on a full charge I was able to obtain an average of five & a half hours use – inclusive of some video streaming.
It’s exciting to see a budget brand like Alcatel foray into the tablet/notebook world, at at $558 the PLUS 12 presents itself as a tempting offer.
However, it’s important to note that the device is definitely an entry-level ‘no frills’ notebook/tablet, and once again is best suited to simple and mundane computing tasks.
For those individuals requiring stronger processing power, Alcatel’s PLUS 12 will likely not meet your needs.
That being said, the PLUS 12 presents itself well as a supplementary, and highly potable device for the busy businessperson or on-the-move executive, or as a budget alternative for the price conscious student.