Teclast X3 Pro Review

Buy One

2016 has seen the release of the new Intel Core M3 “Skylake” Chinese tablets, with an improved GPU & CPU the newer chipset promises an increase in performance over the previous Core M 5Y10 as used in last years Teclast Core M flagship the X2 Pro. This year’s model looks the same, but has some changes under the hood. Let’s look and see if it’s a true upgrade or just a quick bump in specs…

What’s in the Box:

  • Teclast X3 Pro
  • 12v 2A DC charger (White)
  • Some warranty cards and info in Chinese

Hardware & build quality:

Disappointingly, Teclast didn’t refresh the design of the X3 Pro, it uses the exact same design and housing as the X2 Pro from last year and therefore inherits the X2 Pro’s sharp angled corners. The corners of the tablet should have been rounded and when holding it X3 Pro as the tablet the sharp edges dig into your palms and make it uncomfortable.

The the only real changes Teclast made was to replace last years Core M 5Y30 with the new Core M3 6Y30 and increase the RAM to 8GB. This most have saved them the extra costs involved in having to redesign and regear their production line for a new design. Teclast would have saved a lot and this possible why Teclast could increase the RAM for 4GB to 8GB without the price of the tablet increasing over competitors 4GB Core M3 tablets.

Still the build of the X3 Pro is solid, we have a metal rear housing that clips onto the back of a solid ABS plastic like frame. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the bottom left-hand side and above this you’ll find the dc jack for charging. The upper left-hand side is where the 3.5mm headphone jack is with mic support, micro HDMI and MicroSD card slot.

You’ll notice the large bezels and the 16:9 screen are starting to look somewhat dated.

Stylus:

Like the X2 Pro, the X3 Pro supports an active stylus, that’s powered by a AAAA battery. The stylus supports up to a claimed 256 levels of pressure sensitivity, well it’s true that the hard you press down when writing on the screen results in a thicker line drawn in OneNote, it also means plastic screen protectors are a no go. The stylus will scratch and even cut the pre-applied screen protector.

Teclast X3 Pro14The accuracy of the pen on the screen seems perfectly aligned to where it’s displayed on the screen as pictured below. Note, that only pressure sensitivity works in applications that support it like OneNote. Once the pen is detected, being close enough to the screen. Palm rejection kicks in and touch isn’t registered.Active stylus

Keyboard dock: (Optional)

Unlike my X2 pro review this time around I couldn’t find the flip cover style keyboard case for sale. Instead, I had to get the fixed angled flat keyboard that also has a USB 2.0 port on the right side, handy for plugging is a mouse for example (if right handed). The keyboard is rigid and sturdy, but you only have one angle to dock the tablet upright in. Love it or hate it, you’re stuck with this angle.

Typing on the keyboard is good and the keys are spaced out and have around 1.8mm of travel. It’s sensitive and the bottom of the touchpad has left and right hardware mouse buttons. Windows 10 gestures are supported. Some of which can be very annoying with no real way to disable them. I found the best solution as to plug in a mouse and disable the touchpad.

Screen and touch response:

The touch screen uses a Goodix controller with active stylus support. And for the most part the screen is responsive and accurate. But when using Edge or Chrome for example I noticed that scrolling down with my finger isn’t as responsive as say the Cube i9 which is another Core M3 tablet from China.

Yes, that's a gap of about 2mm between the IPS panel and digitizer touch scree.

Not fully laminated. that’s a gap of about 2mm between the IPS panel and digitizer touch screen.

As for the IPS panel, Teclast used the same 11.6 inch AU Optronics 1080P 16:9 display and I recorded 288 cd/m2 of brightness at the maximum setting. Which is more or less the same brightness I got on my X2 Pro review. Being a non-laminated display it’s more susceptible to reflections as the IPS and digitizer glass aren’t optically bonded together. The pixel density of 190 isn’t record breaking. Still the screen looks sharp enough, but if you look close enough you’ll see pixels.

The screen comes with a pre-applied screen protector and it’s not very scratch resistance either. No gorilla glass here, just cheaper run of the mill soda lime glass.

Storage:

Like last years model the X3 Pro has the same Chinese branded M.2 2242 spec SATA3 SSD. It offers far better performance than the typical eMMC drives as seen in most Chinese tablets but still falls behind compared to premium SSD drives as offered in the Surface Pro 4. Write speeds are good compared to others but I did notice a large difference in read speeds compared to the BWIN drive in the Cube i9.

X3 Pro SSD Speeds

[visualizer id=”40054″]

Ports & Connectivity:

The X3 Pro is the first Core M tablet out of Shenzhen, China I’ve seen that has Intel Wireless AC. This is a first and great to see. And only one of a few tablets to have the less flooded 5Ghz band. The chipset is an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 (M.2 card)

Teclast X3 Pro Internals 5

You can see the dual antennas of the Intel wireless AC 3165 card, it’s soldered onto the motherboard.

The above results are good considering my desktop gets 24 Mbps and about 4mbps uploads. This is one of my temp 3G connections I’m forced to used after my unlimited 4G plan was capped. The wireless range on the Intel dual band Wireless AC card is very good, excellent in fact. I can still get full signal from downstairs where the common Realtek 2.4Ghz would have only 50% signal. Wireless performance and Bluetooth is definitely one of the strong points of the X3 Pro

MicroSD card slot. Full speeds and 128GB support.

My Samsung 128GB Pro+ card worked without a hitch. 70-80+ reads and writes.

My Samsung 128GB Pro+ card worked without a hitch. 70-80+ reads and writes.

The two USB 3.0 ports work perfectly, able to power external 2.5″ HDD’s and as seen below work at full USB 3.0 speeds.

Two USB 3.0 ports, great to see more than the usual one port.

Two USB 3.0 ports, great to see more than the usual one port.

USB 3 portWindows:

The X3 Pro has Windows 10 Home installed and activated without any problems. What I did encounter was some preinstall bloatware in Chinese. 5 applications in total. One of which now and then pops up a huge advert just when you least wanted it. I cannot trust a system if it comes with this type of adware/malware. If you get this, a fresh, clean Windows 10 install is highly recommend to be safe. Or at the least install a decent anti-virus and do a full system scan.

Bloatware

Not good: Chinese ads are randomly displayed thanks to preinstalled malware/ Chinese bloat.

Window Benchmarks:

The X3 Pro performed well in most benchmarks, beating the Cube i9 just in all but 3Dmark11 which kept hitting power limits. The extra 4GB of RAM doesn’t really increase the tablet’s performance. What it does allow however is increased multitasking and better performance in RAM hungry applications like Chrome, Photoshop or Auto CAD and other memory heavy apps. Below is a comparison of the X3 Pro’s performance compared to other Core M tablets tested here.

[visualizer id=”40041″]

Below are the scores and other benchmarks tested.

  • Geekbench 3: http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/6439131
  • Passmark: http://www.passmark.com/baselines/V8/display.php?id=61490002718
  • 3DMark11 http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11231707
  • 3DMark Ice Storm 1.2 Extreme: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/11945225?
  • 3DMark Ice Storm 1.2 : http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/11977294?
  • PCMark 7 http://www.3dmark.com/pcm7/1043880

Gaming:

The GPU in the Core M3-6Y30 is a Gen9 Intel HD 515. It’s capable of more than you would think giving it has thermal heat room to keep the GPU clocks up. It’s able to play popular online titles like Counter Strike Global Offensive and DOTA 2 and League of Legends at the native screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. Only settings need to be lowered in order to keep the frame rates high. And as seen below when gaming the tablet will get to around 83 degrees on the GPU and in the low 80s on the CPU. It will also get very warm to the touch just above the d/c jack (Up to 43 degrees C to the touch after 2 hours of gaming). This is common on all fanless Core M tablets and something I also experienced on my Surface Pro 4 M3 and Dell Venue 11 Pro, more expensive premium tablets

Battery life:

The tablet has two 4500mAH cells giving a total of 9000mAh. This lasted me on average around 4 to 5 and a half hours only browsing the net, using multiple tabs in Chrome and writing this review (By the way it was all  done on the X3 Pro)

battery life

Heat and throttling:

Like the Cube i9, the Teclast X3 Pro doesn’t experience thermal throttling, but something similar. Power limit throttling works to lower the chipsets power limits which in turn Teclast has used to stop it from overheating. After gaming for 1 hour and 30 minutes playing Counter Strike Global Offensive against some bots. It only took about 3 minutes for the power limiting to kick in. Thermals, the CPU reached 82 degrees max and the GPU 83. Hot, but not thermal throttling. What was certainly hot was the rest of the tablet just next to the D/C jack that reached auncomfortablele 43.4 degrees c. Which meant it was very hot to the touch.

Teclast X3 Pro thermal throttling

Max temps Teclast X3 Pro

Charge time:

The X3 Pro took around 4 hours to charge from when it powered off with a low battery. Once charged, it will stay at 100% and run off power. This should prolong the life of the battery cells unlike Atom tablets that tend to drop to 95% and charge back up to 100% to only drop back down. This causes wear on the battery from constant charging and discharging.

Audio quality:

The speakers on the X3 Pro are the same as the X2 Pro. They are loud enough, offer very little bass. The 3.5 mm jack supports a mic input and the output is both loud and clear. No sign of static or interference over the port.

Cameras:

The 5MP auto photo camera is nothing special.

The 5MP auto photo camera is nothing special.

The front facing 2MP camera is fine for basic video chat needs in good lighting. Take the tablet into a dark room and people will struggle to see you. And the 5MP rear camera takes average shots, Can’t say I would use it. But at least you could get a snap or two of text or a diagram if your mobile wasn’t handy. I would leave any serious photos up to your DSLR or mobiles camera, it will take a photo ten times better.

Here are some Teclast X3 Pro rear camera samples:

Conclusion:

The X3 Pro is a solid performer, great wireless performance and finally 8GB of RAM. It’s a shame Teclast used last year’s design, which is starting to look dated with those pointed edges. Competitors, Core M3’s like the Cube i9 have 16:10 screens with smaller bezels, a kickstand, and a better screen. Still the X3 Pro is a step forward,  finally, we see Wireless AC and 8GB of RAM on a Core M powered tablet from China.

And let’s not forget the X3 Pro slighty underperforms compared to other Core M3 tablets like the Surface Pro 4 due to power limiting to restrict temperatures. And the exact same thing is happening on the Cube i9, the other Chinese Core M3 offering. With its active stylus support, the Teclast X3 Pro is the only Chinese Core M3 stylus enabled offering currently available. So if you need a cheaper Core M3 tablet with stylus support, this is it. There is no other (yet).

Buy this Product

Good

  • 8GB of RAM is a first on a Chinese Core M
  • Active Stylus support
  • Intel Wireless AC
  • Loud speakers, loud 3.5mm jack
  • Good build qaulity
  • Great wireless range and speed

Bad

  • Inherits last years design with sharp edges
  • Power Limit throttling
  • Touchscreen not as fluid as other Core M3 models
  • Preinstalled Chinese bloatware / adware
  • Battery life could be better
7.8

Good

Performance - 9.5
Build and Design - 7
Screen - 7.5
Sound - 7.5
Battery Life - 7.5

14 Comments

  1. Folks, I need help – information on where I can get a replacement speaker for the X3 Pro. My tab’s right speaker is damaged for quite a long time (crackling and popping sound); with the headphone and Bluetooth output sounding perfectly fine.

    If I can just get the spare, I can solder it myself. Would anyone be so kind enough to assist on getting a replacement?

  2. hi
    do you happen to know if they use pwm to dim the monitor ?
    and if they do at what rate ?
    for example the cube i9 has a rate of 200hs which is too low.
    thanks

  3. Hello,

    I am thinking about this tablet, but almost exclusively for Linux. (so please if there is any major stopper there let me know, I have already researched -mainly here- and some people say Linux runs fine)

    My question: I cannot find this optional keyboard -that is shown on the review- on any of these online chinese shops, please some help.

    The review says the keyboard is good enough, but someone has posted here that the keyboard is not good. Any other opinion?

    Has this tablet any kind of standard for pogopins and magnet lock that would allow me to buy any other keyboard other than the one in the review?

    • Linux you will run into drivers issues like no sound and maybe no touch. The keyboard is fine, but it does have one flaw only one fixed angle. So you either love it or hate it. The keyboard should still be around, the X2 Pro keyboard is the same as the X3 Pro one.

  4. Well, I saw your other videos on this, and understood your reservations. It was between this and the cube i9. Earlier today the i9 was briefly £280, so I bit the bullet. Glad I did after seeing this review. I fancied the 8 gig, but that aspect ratio is too much.

  5. After spending some time with the X3 I’m kind of disappointed. It’s small things like ghost touches when you charge the battery or that the battery sometimes seems buggy and disappears in windows and any programm that reads internal stats like HWMonitor. The battery life itself is rather short like Chris pointed out but I guess the upside is that the charging is fairly quick.
    It doesn’t support 200gb microsd cards, granted, it says ‘up to 128gb’ but quite often you can use a bigger card as long as the OS supports the file system.
    The 16:9 screen ratio is worse than I expected it to be but I certainly can’t blame Teclast for that except maybe for some of the preview pictures on the article page. I can’t recommend the tablet if you think about getting it but you worry about the screen ratio. There’s certainly a reason most high class tablets use a 16:10 or 3:2 ratio. Chris pointed out the corners of the tablet but I underestimated it. I wonder why they decided to go with that design because casually holding it is like he said uncomfortable.
    About the Stylus: I use a pretty cheap Wacom tablet (without display) for drawing and hoped to switch to the X3 to actually see where the pointer is but the Stylus feels like a cheap ball pen as the tip is somewhat loose. Not much, maybe 2 mm but it feels irritating when the tip gives in after you put it on the screen and apply pressure. Nowhere near the feeling a Wacom stylus gives you but I guess that’s to be expected.
    There were no problems for me powerwise like stuttering but I think it’s disappointing to use the newest generation of M3 cpus with a very basic thermal design. Maybe they wanted to conserve the battery life.

    I wish they’d charge 100$ extra and actually put some work in the development of a new tablet. Sad thing is that they probably won’t release a better tablet until this ones product cycle is over and unfortunately the Cube i16 desn’t look too promising either with the 10.6 inch screen and 16:9 ratio.

    @Chris: Thanks for the article. I wish I would’ve waited for the review but I REALLY wanted to get a M3 tablet with stylus support.
    I think you meant ‘done’ instead of ‘gone’ in the battery section.

    • Thanks for the input, yes I wish they have focused on a whole new design, rather than rehash this one. Sure it’s got 8GB of RAM, Wireless AC, and the stylus support. But having the Cube i9 side by side with this X3 Pro, the Cube i9 is clearly a superior tablet. Just waiting for Cube to release a stylus enabled 8GB wireless A/C version of it! The screen is the main factor of a tablet and the Cube i9’s is just more responsive and better looking in 16:10 with less ugly bezel.

      Thanks for the tip, there are no doubt a few errors here are there. Many a late night to write this all up as well as full my reviews and working on 4 other tablets at the same time. Write ups like this might be less frequent as video reviews are done in half the time.

      • The Cube i9 is on flash sale for 399.99 at Gearbest.

        • $449 now 🙁

          • I think it’s $550, unless there’s a coupon? ALL the products on Gearbest seem way overpriced. I used to buy vape gear from them. Usually for about 2 days after the product released they would have a great deal, then they would jack the price up permanently after (higher than even msrp)

          • I have bought this great tablet and I am delighted with it, I have removed windows 10 home because it works very poorly and I have installed windows 10 pro and everything goes much better and more fluid, the problem is that the screen rotation does not work and I think It does not have much solution but for everything else it is spectacular.

  6. If only the Teclast x3 Pro did not have a 16:9 screen ratio….

    Come on people (Teclast, Cube, Chuwi) !!! We want:
    – a 3:2 screen
    – Core M CPU
    – SSD (upgradeable)
    – Dual Band Wifi

    (even last year’s Core M would be extremely fine for me, if I get the other specs)

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