bModo12G Windows 7 Tablet PC – A Windows Lovers Tablet
- Solid build quality and although fairly weighty (2.18lbs, 990g) for a tablet it still manages to pull off a relatively stylish look
- It’s a particularly large tablet at 11.6-inches so there’s lots of screen real estate to work with which suits the Windows operating system where buttons and menus can be fiddly. The flip side is that it’s large (295mm x 195mm x 14mm) and so a little less mobile
- Capacitive multi-touch screen is responsive. Reacts well to taps and swipes with a finger and is improved further with the use of a stylus. The screen is a fairly high resolution at 1366 by 768 pixels so it’s sharp. However, the screen isn’t as vibrant as other tablet PCs so needs the brightness turned right up
- A powerful processor is required to handle Windows 7 Premium and the bModo12G‘s Atom Processor (1.66GHz speed, 2GB RAM) does this pretty well. It’s quick to react to input, handles applications relatively smoothly and generally provides a speedy web browsing experience. It also plays high definition videos. It’s not all plain sailing as Windows 7 Premium is a heavy operating system and occasionally it can take a few seconds to launch programs, particularly when you have a few applications running simultaneously. You can also experience a lag between a tap on a button or menu item to the tablet actually reacting. This is because the bModo12G is loading full Windows desktop software rather than lighter tablet-optimised software you’d get on the iPad or Android tablets. We didn’t experience any system crashes though which is an issue on other Windows tablets
- Ships with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium so a full operating system and compatible with all Microsoft software such as MS Office, MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint. These will need to be purchased separately as it doesn’t ship with them installed
- The bModo12G would run any of the millions of applications on the web that are designed for Windows – although few of these are touch optimised so we’d suggest you get a stylus to be able to accurately hit small buttons and fiddly menus
- Web browsing experience is nippy, the test unit came with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome browsers and all speedily loaded web pages
- Fully compatible with Adobe Flash web technology – used for a lot of web videos, animation and games. The Flash experience involves watching high-definition videos on YouTube or BBC iPlayer – these played perfectly via a WiFi connection. Web TV experience is excellent and when you add in the docking station, that can be bought for the bModo12G (currently offered for free with the bModo12G), it’s almost like having a mini TV
- 2 USB ports give plenty of flexibility to add a USB keyboard, mouse or other USB peripheral device. You can also use these to load files from a memory stick
- The bModo12G ships with 32GB memory for storing files but there’s also an SD card reader so you can slot in a SD card and expand the memory of the slate to get additional storage. You can also slot a SD card in from a camera to directly load photos onto the tablet
- MiniHDMI – if you buy a MiniHDMI cable and your TV has a HDMI input, you can hook the bModo12G to your TV and watch whatever media is on your bModo12G, on your big screen TV. This is good for web TV or Blue-ray quality video
- Connectivity – the options here are to connect via WiFi or connect via a 3G mobile/cellular data network when you’re not. This means you can get on the Internet or download emails when you’re in range of a WiFi network, or connect via 3G when you’re not
- 1.3 megapixel WebCam gives decent quality video chat capability over Skype
- Apps – ships with the standard suite of Windows apps plus a basic skin from bModo (BossaNova user interface) with some tablet optimised features that improve on the Windows versions:
- MyApps – shortcuts to websites (Facebook, Twitter, Bing Maps etc.) and cut-down tablet-friendly versions of a browser, music, video and photos apps. These are all fairly basic ways to customise Windows 7 Home Premium for a tablet but do enhance the experience if you’re looking for the key functions of a media consumption tablet
- Views – gives you minimised screen shots (like tiles) of what you have open from MyApps making a nicer intuitive way to switch between them
- Settings – quickly tweak brightness, volume, weather location settings and toggle your wireless network on and off so you can save a little battery when you don’t need to be online
- Windows – returns you to the stock Windows 7 Home Premium home screen
- Alternatively you also have Windows Media Centre – this takes a couple of seconds to load. It’s a good interface to access videos, music, pictures, radio, movies, internet TV, sports info, games and other tasks. Barring the tiny “x” in the top corner to close it down, it’s pretty decent on a tablet
- You can also download the Kindle app for free for reading eBooks
- Speakers give a strong output so this is good for watching video or listening to music
- Docking station with 3 additional USB ports. It’s available as an accessory for the bModo12G and acts as a good stand whilst charging the tablet PC at the same time. It also has ports to attach a wired internet Ethernet connection, microphone and headphones
bModo12G Windows 7 Tablet PC Weaknesses
- Windows 7 Premium not designed specifically for tablets. It’s a desktop/laptop operating system with some touchscreen features added in. This means that it was designed principally for a larger screen than this and for menus and buttons to be navigated via a mouse. Trying to navigate it with fingers is tricky as it’s very easy to accidentally hit the wrong link or menu choice than you were aiming for – this is annoying. As you use the tablet more, you do learn to adapt to this and settings can be tweaked to your own personal taste but it’s just not as intuitive as an Android tablet or the iPad
- The user experience is massively improved if you buy a stylus as this is much easier to use to hit the right part of the screen than a clumsy digit. Using a stylus also opens up Windows 7 Premium’s handwriting recognition capabilities that learns snaps the input handwriting to text as an alternative to using the on-screen keyboard
- The virtual keyboard is not as easy to use as other on-screen tablet keyboards and we’d recommend buying a physical keyboard if you want to use this tablet for document creation
- A side effect of a heavy operating system on a tablet PC processor is that there can be occasional freezes as applications load or run particularly if you’ve got a number of applications running at the same time. Whilst the Atom processor can generally handle Windows ok, a higher powered processor would be better and avoid these delays.
- Viewing angles are reasonable and this means that you can still see what’s on the tablet if you’re looking at it from the side or top but you lose contrast and can’t see the screen if you’re looking at it at an angle from the bottom of the screen
- Boot time – as this is a Windows tablet, it needs to boot up the operating system before you can start using it. In comparison the iPad and Android tablets can be instantly switched on and are ready to use within seconds. What this means is that with the bModo12G you have a wait of around a minute before you can start using it. The difference is being able to speedily look something up on the Internet and having to go through a full boot before you can do anything. A minute is quicker than a standard laptop or netbook boot though
- There is some lag when the tablet re-orientates the screen between landscape and portrait via the internal sensors. It’s only a second or so when the screen goes blank but this does throw you in the beginning as you think it has failed. The accelerometer that senses the orientation of the tablet is a bit buggy too and sometimes we found that you had to jiggle the tablet around a bit before it orientates to the correct format
- Battery life – it’s claimed you get around 4-5 hours of general use from a single charge. On our test we managed around 3 hours of continuous video playback on Windows Media Player on a single charge (at full brightness). This is on the low side in comparison to other tablet PCs but the bModo12G does run a full operating system that needs more power – in comparison to a laptop this isn’t so bad
Tablet Reviews – bModo12G
The bModo12G tablet PC should not be compared to an iPad or Android slate – it’s a different kind of tablet designed much more as an alternative to a laptop or netbook. In that context it generally performs well. From a user perspective, Windows 7 is frustrating as it isn’t designed specifically for tablets and so is clunky to navigate with fiddly buttons and menus. You can adapt to live with this but tasks such as typing can be slow compared with other tablet-optimised operating systems. A stylus goes a long way to improving that and if you want to write long documents or edit presentations or spreadsheets, we’d recommend buying a keyboard as the virtual keyboard is tricky to use.
The bonus of having Windows is that you get the function of a full operating system, it happily deals with HD video, the web browsing is speedy and Flash content is as good as on any PC. Also, if you’re already a Windows PC user at work or home you can use the same applications, access all Microsoft Office programmes and there’s only a small learning curve as you switch devices – Windows is a familiar environment to work with.
As is typical with Windows tablets, the operating system is intensive on the processor and impacts the battery life. You also get occasional lags as the software isn’t optimised for a tablet.
Having Windows on a tablet is very important for a lot of people due to the integration with their PC apps. If you’re one of these people, the bModo12G is a tablet you can use for work with the added bonus that it will play music, video, surf the web and let you have some fun when work is done. We suspect that when Windows 8 comes out, it will be a much improved tablet PC operating system but for the time being you really need the stylus and keyboard to get the most out of the bModo12G. The whole package makes the tablet costly but still a good option if you’re looking to ditch the heavy laptop on the road.