Open for business3 min read . Updated: 21 Sep 2012, 05:55 PM IST
Hoping for a Windows tablet? It's best to wait for a native Windows 8 device for now
Review | Milagrow Kupa X11
With the Windows 8 tablet expected later this year, does it make sense to buy a Windows 7 tablet? The Milagrow Kupa X11 has specifications which sound good on paper—a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, 2 GB RAM, 64 GB of storage, Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth connectivity, HD screen, HDMI out, stereo speakers, and 10 hours’ battery life. These numbers really stand out compared with other tablets.
Plus, it’s running Windows 7, which makes it a “full" PC, by any definition. There are two USB ports, so you can plug in anything you could to your computer.
On the other hand, the 10.1-inch tablet is bulky and heavy at 950g, far more than the Samsung Galaxy Note 800, which weighs 600g. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re holding it for more than 10-15 minutes at a go, you will definitely feel the difference.
Full Windows experience
Many people who complain about the “limited" nature of tablets will be tempted by the idea of a full-Windows device like this one. With an iPad, you can’t even plug in a flash drive to transfer files, but with a Windows tablet the drive opens automatically the moment you plug it in, and you can drag and drop the files.
You also have access to all the Windows programs that you are already familiar with. Jot a quick note with Notepad, or edit a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, without having to find the right apps. Of course, there’s no app store—if you want to switch to Chrome (with all the extensions and desktop customizations that aren’t available on the mobile version), then just go to the website and download it.
One additional advantage of this touch-screen version of Windows is powerful stylus support. Handwriting recognition seems faster and more accurate than any we’ve ever tried, and you can also use it to “snip" portions of the screen from, say, a website or a movie, and then paste them into a document.
The Kupa X11 can be operated with either a stylus or your finger. Both input methods have significant drawbacks. Since the tablet is running Windows 7, there are a lot of interactive elements which are hard to use on a touch screen.
All the menus and buttons are extremely small on the tablet, and it’s all too easy to close a window instead of maximizing it. One particularly annoying issue is scrolling—you can click on the scrollbar on the right of any window to move up or down a list, but the bar itself is incredibly small, and requires an extremely accurate touch. In theory, you can also scroll by flicking your finger across the window, but this works only some of the time—at other times, it starts selecting text instead.
There are some tasks which are best accomplished with a stylus—handwriting recognition and drawing come to mind. For the rest of it though, using a stylus feels extremely outdated in a post-iPad world. Unfortunately, it’s also the best way to use the Kupa X11. Considering this, you would think that they would have a slot built into the device to store the stylus, but there isn’t any, so you have to carry it around separately.
The stylus is also inaccurate around the screen edges—not an issue for the most part, but when trying to minimize a window, or scroll on a full-screen page, you need to use your finger, which is not ideal.
Needs more optimization
In short, the problem isn’t really Kupa’s hardware, but rather Windows itself. Until Windows 8 comes out, Microsoft’s OS simply isn’t ready for tablets. The hardware requirements are high—despite having reasonably good hardware specifications, the Kupa feels slow when performing simple tasks like Web browsing. Boot-up is also much slower than an Android tablet or an iPad, and it seems to take several seconds after it boots up to actually start working.
Interacting with the software is also difficult—the virtual keyboard takes up most of the screen when you need to type, and as we mentioned, scrolling, or using menus, is difficult with your fingers.
Companies that have invested heavily in Windows software for their business and therefore can’t switch to Android or Apple tablets will find value in these devices but for the general consumer, it is less appealing. So it’s better to wait for the Windows 8 tablets.
The Milagrow Kupa X11 is available for ₹ 54,990 for the 64 GB version that we tested.