Review: Teclast X80 Pro

I once read a saying about technology that rung really, really true to me. "Personal use case - nothing else matters." The essence of that sentiment is simply that the right piece of technology is the one that works for you the way you need it to, and nobody else can tell you you're wrong.

As with most things in life, this little nugget of truth comes wrapped in a veritable yarn-ball of caveats. If you haven't ever tried doing it more than one way, there's a good chance that someone might be able to show you something that will work better for you than what you've got. So it's important to keep an open mind.

But what can be difficult is when you're trying to get into someone else's use case, and I know that's difficult because I've been trying really hard to do it over the past week with this tablet. For quite some time I have been of the opinion that the Atom line of processors from Intel are a steaming pile, and that no machine that ships with them, no matter how inexpensive, could possibly justify even such a low cost.

teclast tpad x80 pro
$85 is pretty stinking low for a brand new PC. Sorta one of those too good to be true things, really.

And having lived with one for a bit, I can say that I was absolutely right... If you're me. But as it happens, you can buy a brand new Windows 10 PC for less than $100 (US) and get a perfectly capable machine, depending on your use case.

If you want to listen to our Nov 28th podcast you can get a more detailed review of this tablet specifically. But here I want to focus more broadly on what super cheap computers like this might be useful for.

The first thing that jumps to mind is youths. High schoolers, graduates just heading off for college, maybe even younger kids if you want to give your younger kids a full Windows device. I don't judge. But if all they're going to be doing with it is social media, watching Netflix, online school work, and writing book reports and stuff like that, a little Atom powered laptop or tablet will work just great. In some cases where online school systems are concerned, this route may be better than a cheap Android tablet because a lot of that stuff requires a full desktop operating system or keyboard and mouse to work properly.
teclast tpad x80 pro windows 10
And it is a full desktop operating system, though to use this on a desktop you'd want some way to prop it up.

The second group who would be just fine with a low powered device like this are technological minimalists. I'm not talking about people who eschew computers because "technology inhibits mental development or creativity" or something odd like that, but rather people who want a device that has targeted functionality to help them focus. If you write for a living and want a device just for writing, that won't distract you with loads of screen space and the promise of video games, an Atom powered laptop  or tablet would be perfect for you. They're underpowered for anything much more strenuous than word processing, and the small screen, lousy graphics, and potentially abysmal speakers mean that you won't likely get distracted by the tantalizing glow of computer-based entertainment.

I certainly won't scoff at this use case, since I still have a clamshell iBook G3 running Mac OS 9 for that exact reason.

So if you have need for a narrowly targeted portable featherweight-hitter of a computer, these little Atom powered notebooks may surprise you. On the unit I've been using Windows 10 runs smoothly, without really any interface stutter, and as long as you're not doing anything crazy like running 3 or more programs at once (you savage), the user experience should be just as good as any other Windows 10 device. For $100 or less, it's worth consideration.

A word of warning, though. I wouldn't recommend something like this for an elderly relative who just needs a little tablet for the Facebooks and Skypeing with the grandkids. Windows 10 is absolutely overkill for that, and introduces a lot of potential confusion for someone not terribly familiar with desktop OS's. For that I'd recommend an iPad (for simplicity) or an Amazon Fire tablet (for that low low price).

Unless you would just love to spend all of your time hanging out with them and answering their questions. In which case that's very sweet, you're super nice, and go ahead.