April 12, 2019 at 12:11 am #151213
Hello guys. For the past week i’ve been researching to find the perfect windows tablet choice for my specific application need. However it seems there isn’t even one device that doesn’t have some type of throwback. I’m not asking for everything, but it seems it is either hit or miss, even if you take into account overpriced products. Please hear me out and let me know your thoughts.
I am essentially looking for a WINDOWS TABLET which its primary purpose is to be fitted to my car as a secondary “dash” per say so i can use it to interact with my aftermarket motorsports ecu. It will function as a monitoring dash for the most of the time, but can be used to datalog (aka record data) or for direct tuning (so i don’t have to bring my laptop everytime i need to make changes to my engine calibration). I wouldn’t mind using it at home as well since i will have it, but mostly will work as a travel/trip companion since i have a PC at home. It has to be a WINDOWS tablet as the software that interfaces with the ecu is only windows based.
After thinking and revising my requirements several times after getting disappointed by what is available here is the break down:
April 12, 2019 at 12:13 am #151214
- Dimensions: Height needs to be around ~205mm +10mm max so the tablet can be secured in the glove box when not in use. Ideally height should be maximized so that the display area is maximized as well. Length larger than 300mm is not a problem but would get annoying to fit to the car since it will extend more towards the passenger side. This effectively limits me to ~11.8-13.3″ tablets, so Microsoft Surface Pro can be used as a reference design (since i haven’t seen bezel-less windows tablets yet)
- Display: This is the most important attribute of the tablet. 1080p absolute minimum resolution, 2K ideally, 3K is probably not gonna be noticeable at the usage distance. Here is a screenshot from my 1080p laptop so you can see the ECU software in datalog mode (slightly cropped but so you can get an idea:
- However let’s not forget brightness and contrast. Brightness should be ~400nits or better for a glossy display, and contrast should be considered over color accuracy. Viewing angle in the length span should be at least 150deg but i think it is hard nowadays to find such a bad display panel. Finally a fully laminated panel is recommended.
- Physical interfaces: I essentially need a single full size USB port so i can connect my ECU to the tablet. After my research i decided to allow for USB-C assuming that i can get a dongle that will allow me to interface without any issues; but it’s best not to allow for that route due to possible incompatibility issues (like what happened when usb3.0 was released). Extra USB ports, USB-C that allows charging and data, video output port, headphone jack, m.2 expansion slot, sd card slot are all pluses.
- Wireless interfaces: Min wifi and bluetooth. 802.11AC and bluetooth v4.2 or better all pluses.
- CPU/GPU performance: Generally something better than N3450 (tested my brother’s CHUWI surbook mini) and more recent will help, GPU performance is irrelevant for the task so the majority of intergrated GPU’s will do fine.
- RAM: 4GB absolute minimum, 8gb ideal
- Cooling: I prefer passive cooling, but usually the cooling solution used is sh*t. At least in some cases it can be modded (i’m experienced and willing to do)
- Battery: 4 hours light use with full display brightness as minimum. If charging is performed over USB-C i hope it is not the stupid kind of power->battery->device like in phones and can work like in laptops where the battery is not used when power is supplied to the laptop. This way you don’t wear out the battery since the device will be connected to power most of the time it is operated.
- Storage: 64gb absolute min, ideal min should be 128gb, speed is relative but i think at least m.2 sata interface ssd; NVME huge +
- Others: Pen support and attachable keyboard are pluses, but i plan on using a good bluetooth keyboard with backlight (required) so it makes them irrelevant if the tablet is good, Thunderbolt 3 is a +, unlocked bios +, kickstand should work on a lap without cutting your pants off and stay in one place, sd card reader +
- Reliability: From what i read most chinese tablets are pretty bad with both hardware and software issues out of the box. Backcover should be metal to act as heatsink and be stiff enough, weight and thickness is not that important
- Condition: New or used. I believe some products offer better value when bought used and others because have been discontinued
- Pricing: My budget is flexible but depending on the features lots of them are overpriced especially bought new. I would say ~500eur for a new tablet with min features required and 1000eur for one with better hardware. Considering i’m building a 7nm PC in a couple of months the market pricing is really unacceptable for most windows tablets. Blame Apple for it, but i’m not a rich consumer neither i am a sheep. Performance to value is what i always look for.
I literally checked every windows tablet and 2-in-1 i believe. Here some potential picks and what i didn’t like.
- Microsoft Surface Pro (4 – 5 – 6): At first glance it is a good base candidate..but..really Microsoft? It’s 2019 and no USB-C? Proprietary connector and overpriced hardware? Questionable reliability? Get the f*ck out of here. Unless you find a good used deal i don’t think it would be worth it. Another Apple wannabe.
- Eve-tech EVE V: This is one tablet that hits all the boxes, kinda, since by now it is almost obsolete in terms of CPU performance..sadly while i’m greek-cypriot i would go with the stereotypical view for greeks because the CEO is a “malakas” and i’m really sorry to all the people that were scammed. On the other hand i believe there is some truth to the Paypal issues he had since my friend had similar issues (because of not much experience) and even I couldn’t help him get them fixed as Paypal is run by assholes as well which need a punch to the face (their excuse it is the system and they can’t do anything about it – like wtf). I still use it but the time a different payment system reaches similar adoption i would gladly switch.
- Chuwi Surbook: Slow CPU, screen is not fully laminated, mediocre specs but was good price at some time ago. Maybe the announced “surbook pro” would fair better?
- Voyo Vbook i5/i7 Plus: Nice screen, fair pricing? Not the most quality build, shitty battery, i7 model throttles?
- Teclast X6 Pro: A slightly better vbook i5? No full detailed reviews yet, and i wasn’t that impressed from the previous X5 review
- Alldocube Knote 8: Seems good on paper, but no type-A usb ports
- Jumper EZpad 6: Possibly the only windows tablet in stock with a good value, however i need something with a better and larger display
- Acer Switch 3/5: Mediocre screens, single type-A port on the right side (since my car is RHD and the ecu is on the left side i would prefer it on the left side), shitty battery performance, a little overpriced
- Dell XPS 12 9290/Latitude 5290/Latitude 7285: Great displays, powerful, only 5290 has type-A port, mediocre battery life, overpriced but there are good used deals
- Asus Transformer 3 Pro T303UA/T304UA: Premium specs but discontinued, expensive, only 1 type-A port and it is on the right side (again), T304 is a huge step backwards even though newer (what the heck Asus, are you drunk?)
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1: Overpriced, no type-A ports, Gen3 is too big and has display coating issues, Gen2 is more suitable due to size and type-a interface but older and screen brightness not that good – all too tall
- Lenovo MIIX series: new 630 uses an ARM processor so no go (since i can’t force the software developpers to re-compile), 720 rates very high in the features i need, 2 usb type-A ports, nice display, etc. 520 is a little newer with weaker hardware but still good for its price
- HP Pro X2/Envy X2/Elite X2 1012: HP’s other offerings like the Elite X2 1013 are too tall for my needs, and while they have good displays and good build quality i am not font of their design decisions. I have a Zbook 17 G5 workstation at work we bought new and not even 6 months passed and the CPU fan now rattles like crazy..here’s my 1st day rant about it: (forum won’t let me post the link – search “Note to HP Zbook 17 G5 design engineers!!! Please read and respond!”) Also they are overpriced like crazy. I wouldn’t ever think of buying again from them. Also the power supply is proprietary as some of the internal hardware. F*ck HP
- Huawei MateBook E: Aside the lack of ports it is a pretty good designed device, display is perfect but slightly smaller than the biggest i can fit – depending on price it might be a good consideration assuming i can run a USB-C dock i can charge within the car
- Samsung Galaxy Book 12: Similar to the Huawei above, just a little faster but with a worse display, extra usb-C port. Older and more expensive than the Huawei
- Toshiba Portege X30T and others: Ports are on the keyboard and not on the tablet, won’t work for me.
I think i’ve covered 99% of the options but i may could have missed 1 or 2. To be honest i won’t need this tablet for another 3-6months i would guess but at least i’ve done my research so i will be prepared when the time comes to buy one. What do you think? I know i went a little crazy but i’m that type of person that never regrets his purchasing choices because i don’t buy blindly.
ps. Sorry for the split post, i had an issue with the forumsApril 12, 2019 at 6:26 pm #151221
- Posts: 23
I was doing similar research some time ago. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me :-)), even though no USB-C, I found the ONLY RELIABLE thing is – Microsoft Surface Pro. Even though a bit expensive, lacking modern ports, but TBH I have never ever met a laptop (I use it as my main laptop) which worked so smoothly, starts extremely quickly, everything works perfectly, it recognizes any external device I connect to withouth any issues, simply perfectly tuned machine. Sorry other guys, I really like Surface Pro.
About the obsolete connectors: really no problem to get more or less any suitable hub or converter on Aliexpress for just funny price (Mini Display Port to HDMI converter just 1,5€ and works PERFECTLY…, etc.)April 12, 2019 at 6:27 pm #151222
- Posts: 23
Oh, and I forgot: CHUWI Pen V3 works just perfectly with Surface Pro, and costs just 1/4 of the price of original Microsoft Pen.April 13, 2019 at 5:59 pm #151232
Well this comes mostly to using an nvme ssd and a cpu with appropriate cooling. While surface pro’s are good devices there are still overpriced and they have the interface limitations i mentioned in my postApril 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm #151277
spammer accountApril 16, 2019 at 9:00 pm #151292
- Posts: 2634
I really think your only option is the Surface Pro after reading through your posts. With the Chinese alternatives, you’re not going to be happy not with those requirements.
The Surbook Pro if it ever sees the light of day should be better for sure. Maybe a Core i3/i5 CPU? And my guess is another crowdfunded one.
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