Review: Micromax Canvas Lapbook
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The popular Indian smartphone maker, Micromax, is diversifying, from phones to proper computing devices. After launching their first Windows 8.1 convertible LapTab in June, the company has now entered the notebook segment with the Canvas Lapbook (Rs.13,999). Its arrival makes the low-cost segment more compelling as it is the most affordable Windows based netbook/notebook you can buy right now, and is competing against the Asus EeeBook X205 (Rs.15,490) and the HP Stream 11 (Rs.19,246).
Design: Smooth lines, classy looks
The Canvas Lapbook is a good-looking notebook, helped by the fact that quality materials are used on the lid as well as the keyboard deck.Cost cutting is very common in affordable notebooks, but none of that is evident in the Lapbook. The brushed metal finish, even though it is actually plastic, looks quite good. This is a good change from a lot of notebooks which come with glossy finish on the lid, and that gets dirty very quickly. The biggest highlight is the Lapbook’s light and sleek form factor. It weighs just 1.3 kg and is 19mm thick with the lid down. This is impressive and only slightly more than the Asus EeeBook’s which weighs 980g and is 17.4mm thick. The HP Stream 11 is sleek (19mm) and weighs about 1.5kg.
Display: Suitable for reading and typing
An 11.6-inch display seems standard in notebooks these days, because of the extra portability it offers. The screen resolution (1366x768pixels) is pretty much standard. Despite the HD screen resolution, the display looks a bit dull, in terms of colour richness. But, it is aequately sharp, and that makes it a good bet for students as well as for home use, with the main tasks including typing documents, web browsing and some video playback. The lack of touchscreen is not an issue as the device has been designed to be used only as laptop and a touchscreen wouldn’t have made any real difference to the user experience. The HP Stream 11 offers a bigger 13.3-inch display, while the Asus EeeBook has a 11.5-inch display with similar screen resolution and slightly better colours.
Keyboard: Small keys restrict typing
The Canvas Lapbook has a well designed chiclet keyboard with ample space between the keys. Unfortunately the small size of the keys makes quick typing a bit difficult. The keys don’t wobble, which is a plus, but the keyboard base feels a bit feeble and every time you press a key a tad harder than usual, you can feel a bit of a dip in the keyboard. The trackpad is very small but surprisingly accurate and easy to use once you get used to it. The Stream 11 and Asus EeeBook have bigger and more comfortable keys, because each key is slightly bigger and offer sharper response.
Performance: Strictly for basic tasks
Micromax has used Intel’s 4th Gen Atom quad core processor, paired with 2GB RAM. This combo drives several affordable tablets and convertibles including the Asus EeeBook X205. The storage is a bit limited and closer to the tablets than laptops—internal storage is 32GB and the micro SD slot allows another 64GB. When it comes to performance, it becomes clear that this is absolutely not meant for gaming. It handled Full HD movie playback and multi-tasking smoothly, though. Barring the slight heating up on the base, during video playback the performance is smooth and there are no issues with usability.
The 5,000mAh battery can easily last a day on a single charge, during a typical day at work editing documents, web browsing and a little bit of YouTube. Despite the sleek design, Micromax has not cut down on the number of ports— two USB ports, one HDMI port and a micro SD slot will suffice for most users.
Software: Latest Windows
The Canvas Lapbook runs the latest full-fledged Windows 10 operating system. This offers a much more intuituive computing experience than what Google’s Chrome OS and Android can offer on small computing devices. Users get access to the Edge web browser, personal assistant Cortana, multiple on screen desktops and Office 365 apps.
Micormax Canvas Lapbook is a good low-cost notebook, and does most things well—build quality does not betray the affordable price tag, good battery life and smooth performance. While the Asus EeeBook and HP Stream offer better display quality, that difference only really matters if you are really finicky about watching HD movies.