Not long ago we released a review about the O+ Duo — a budget-friendly Tablet hybrid that boots both Android and Windows. The device was aimed for those people looking for something that balances their work/school life and entertainment needs.
But, the O+ Duo is not the only product under O+’s new category; it is accompanied with the O+ NotePad. This product, unlike the Duo, is a more premium option for some. The device, despite seemingly a tablet, is more like an actual portable PC. Sporting some high-end characteristics, the O+ NotePad 4G may be directed to those who are looking for a more serious machine.
However, with its slightly steep price tag of Php16,995, can it really deliver? Or is it just an overpriced toy? Let’s figure that out.
O+ Notepad 4G & Intellipen Specs
- Windows 10
- 10.1-inch display (1920×1200 WUXGA), ~224ppi
- 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor
- Intel HD Graphics
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB internal storage
- 2-megapixel front camera
- 2-megapixel back camera
- 4G LTE
- Bluetooth 4.0
- IntelliPen stylus
- 7500mAh battery
Video Review of O+ Notepad 4G
Hardware and Build
The O+ Notepad 4G with Intellipen is a departure from the company’s previous tablet-laptop hybrid builds. Both of the O+ Duo and the O+ Convertible didn’t look awful themselves, despite being made with plastic — but the one we have here right now just looks different (in a good way). The Notepad has a sleeker and elegant feel to it, which justifies the heft that you are paying to have it.
But don’t get me wrong, this is still plastic for the most part. What was I referring to is the solid build, despite the materials used, and some design touches. The device is surrounded by chamfered metal railings, which may seem like no big deal, but it actually gave a lot of extra points for the aesthetics’ department. This look is carried on to the buttons, the keyboard dock, and even around the camera lens.
The actual tablet, without the partnered keyboard dock, has already a substantial weight to it; which is a bit forgivable considering all of the vast hardware that is inside, and the fact that this is a 10-inch monster. The device is quite easy to carry around, although, using this extensively with one hand can be tiring.
The rear-end of the device doesn’t look too shabby either. The panel is kinda reminiscent to Samsung’s Nexus 10, due to the lip at the top, which I believe, serves as a network antenna. Not only that it gave the device the ability to receive 4G signal, but it just made it look good overall. However, I noticed that the back plate is prone to finger marks and smudges; which is not a big deal for me, since it is not that flashy on first look.
Taking a tour, we have the said 10″ IPS display on front; together with the 2-megapixel front-facing camera and the LED indicator for charging, which only lights up with no other color than blue. The lack of tint resulted to the light blinking when the device is recharging, then goes steady when it reach 100%. The blinking effect is very irritating, in my opinion, especially when you’re using the device while it is plugged in. The light going on and off is really distracting since it is also parallel to the actual display.
The right side caters all your inputs. The 3.5mm headphone jack; ports for the micro HDMI, USB 2.0 for charging, USB 3.0; and the slots for a microSD card and a Micro SIM card. The USB 3.0 is no doubt a big plus; for as long as you actually have something you utilize it for. Probably the most essential input option, for me at least, is the micro HDMI. Considering the power and usability that you are getting on this thing, you probably wanna hook it up also in a larger display, and have it pretend like an actual desktop PC.
The left side only has the two speaker drivers. The drivers feel like they are too tiny inside those grills, which makes the output also minute. Depending on the media player you are using, you can easily max out the volume you that are getting on this thing — but you might not want to go to that route, as the sound it spits can get really awful, and painful in the ears.
The top has the lock/power switch and the volume controls. These buttons are made with metal, however, they aren’t as tactile as what they should be; probably because of its ultra-thin profile. Having a chunkier button wouldn’t hurt, and can actually make it more usable.
At the bottom, we only have the contacts and magnets for the keyboard.
And speaking of the included accessory, the dock itself also has the same design footprint with the actual Notepad. From the weight and feel, up to the chamfered metal look, which is present not only in its sides but also to the borders of the touchpad.
There’s also a sleek trim at the bottom of the device, which accentuates the USB ports on both sides of the keyboard. Talking about these ports — Yup, the device can accommodate standard-sized USB inputs, without the need of any USB OTG cables (which is, by the way, also comes with the package) or adapters. You can plug in any thumb drives, accessories, and peripherals, or even smartphones and other devices. I tried plugging all of those, and they all worked fine — except for one thing — my Transcend 1TB External Hard Drive. I tried looking for a fix, but didn’t get any luck. Thus, I ended up utilizing the OTG cable that comes with the device as an accessory and plugged it in the USB 3.0 port on the actual tablet.
The O Plus Notepad’s keyboard utilizes a magnet hinge, which makes it more functional, rather than the implementation found on the O+ Duo. The hinge makes it more effortless to fold the device when not in use; it also gives you the ability to adjust the position of the device, to improve viewing angles; and while doing that, the keyboard itself does also lean forward, for improved comfort when typing. Also, the tablet wobbles a little bit when you pull it forwards, but quite stiff when pushed backward, which makes more sense when you have to utilize the touchscreen.
The dock also has a chiclet style keys, just like everyone else. Quality wise, the keys felt a little cheap; but still satisfying to press, with good travel distance, and quiet when being typed on. While, the touchpad also share the same sentiment. It is usable for sure, but I also wish that it was a bit larger.
Since this is a more premium product, the O+ Notepad 4G sports a more high-end display, in contrast to the O+ Duo. We have a 10″ WUXGA display, which has a 1920×1200 resolution, and has 226 pixels-per-inch. But what isn’t different is the aspect ratio; like its younger brother, the Notepad has an aspect ratio of 16:10, hence, the unusual screen resolution.
The screen aspect ratio — like what I have stated on the O+ Duo review — is a perfect bridge between a widescreen display meant for media consumption; and a standard, paper-sized screen for reading and productivity.
Quality wise, colors are okay. Contrast and saturation is average. Sharpness is on-point, which makes small texts still readable. Blacks are deep. And the glass that is covering the display doesn’t attract too much glares, or at least when compared to the reflective screen that the O+ Duo has.
Software and Features
Another bragging right that the O+ Notepad 4G Intellipen has is its latest, and probably the greatest, software version. The device runs on Windows 10 out of the box. But, just like any other Microsoft-powered device, you want to make sure that every driver, and even the software itself, are updated; as it seems like it isn’t out of the box, thus, really compromising the overall experience with the device.
And after the lengthy process of updating everything, we can now took advantage of all the good stuff that Windows 10 has to offer. An overall look on Microsoft’s latest offering is a subject for a more comprehensive discussion, but let me just name a few features that are truly essential. For one, we now have an Action Center, that spawns on the right side of the display which houses all your recent notifications and shortcut buttons. The software now also reconfigures the interface depending on the weather it is attached or not to the keyboard; Using the device without the dock activates’ Tablet Mode, which displays all the tiles right on the home screen itself; alternatively, when the NotePad is docked, all those tiles are hidden in the Start Menu, cleaning the interface, replicating the simple look we had on Windows 7 and earlier.
Of course, we also have the multi-window feature, voice-assistant’ Cortana (Which can only be enabled when you set the PC to compatible region.), Microsoft Market, and the fast Edge Browser.
But what set this device different from other devices — or at least to some of them — is the IntelliPen or Stylus that comes with it. The pen is pretty lightweight, although, there’s some pretty heft to it when compared to other styluses out there. This is due to the single AAAA battery that’s inside it(which can be accessed by rotating the top of it), and its metal construction all around. There’s a clip present, which not only makes it hard to misplace but also gives it a realistic look; and two buttons, which acts as an Eraser, and the other one — well, it looks like it doesn’t do anything at the moment, or at least until a software update arrives.
A leaflet from the package shows some applications that can utilize this feature. Apps like Fresh Paint, AutoCAD 360, StaffPad, and Autodesk’s SketchBook works well with the device. I have tried native software like Paint and OneNote, and they also played well with the accessory.
The IntelliPen sure is a good inclusion, but the experience with it is surely not perfect. If I may complain, some software doesn’t seem to play nice with my palm touching the display; thus, registering some weird pen signatures.
The O Plus Notepad 4G also has a quite spacious internal storage of 64GB, with around 57GB to use; which is enough already, in my opinion, to store all apps and software data, and some primary files. If you’re really planning to use this as a primary computer, a more spacious external storage device can be helpful to store all your movie collection and other auxiliary files. A quick fix to this problem is buying a microSD card or a USB flash drive in which you can store your photos, videos and music. However, if you’re not into that kind of thing, O+ USA recently launched the O+ Notepad 4G 2.0 which is basically this laptop but with a bigger 128GB of internal storage.
The O+ Notepad brags a 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor, with Intel HD Graphics, and 4GB RAM. Such tip-top figures are really appetizing, but, does it can really deliver in real-world scenario?
Before we start, let us set our expectations right first. This device is meant for the specific types of creatives, and people who need a device that can handle day-to-day tasks; and in that regard, this thing does really perform well.
Apps that utilize the IntelliPen (Fresh Paint, AuctoCAD 360 and Autodesk Sketchbook) all ran fluidly. I have also tried playing Asphalt 8: Airborne, and side-loaded Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the gameplay with those titles are almost comparable to those on budget desktop-sized PCs. I also tried stressing the spacious RAM by opening multiple browser tabs at once (some have YouTube videos preloaded), playing music via iTunes, and writing this review via the Microsoft Word — and the device didn’t have any problems at all. Although it showed some stutters when I tried shifting between different applications, but the experience is still commendable.
The NotePad is really geared for those people who are always on-the-go. That’s why O+ opted to also include a 4G connectivity network on this thing. It accepts a Micro SIM card, which may not support the one you have on your smartphone since a Nano-sized SIM is almost a standard to today’s devices. However, this is probably fine, since you might be opting to use a separate network for your other device anyway; or just simply get an adaptor. The package comes with a Smart Bro sim card preloaded with free internet.
And just like most of the tablets that are existing today, the O Plus Notepad Intellipen also has a crappy set of camera sensors. Both the front and back shooters only have a 2-megapixel sensor with them
The camera feature on this thing is only usable for video calls, or if you are really left with no choice but to take photos with it (i.e you left your phone at home.). Needless to say, both of them can capture images with tons of noise and grains, ugly colors, and dead contrast. However, everything still looks bright, and details are perceivable — characteristics that are only acceptable on Skype Calls.
The O+ Notepad towed in a large 7500mAh battery, which is probably the main reason behind its hefty weight.
Even so, despite the substantial juice inside, my tests yielded standard results. Screen-on time listed the device for about 4hrs. and 30mins. before the juice indicator reached 14%. That is hours of web browsing, streaming movies online, writing word documents while iTunes is playing in the background, and of course, gaming. For a power user like me, that’s quite good.
For other light to casual usage, this thing can surely last you a day. Say, you’re just doing clerical work or jotting down notes in school, you can get throughout those hours and not worry if left the charger at home. But in case you actually did, and you ran out of battery before you get home, you can replenish the device via its microUSB port through an external battery pack.
Now there you have it. The O+ NotePad 4G in all its glory. Despite all the optimism that I had with it, I bet that there are still a lot of people shaking their heads — which is really inevitable. Some might have found a different device, which they think has a better value for the money — and I don’t blame them for that, since there are actually a lot; but it actually depends on what you are looking for a device.
I did check other devices under this price range, and figured out that the O+ NotePad 4G Intellipen is in fact worth the shot– if you are in the market for what it does offer. Other devices that are within the NotePad’s Php16,995 price range do include a larger display, or even slightly better build quality; but almost none of them offers a Full HD touchscreen display, a keyboard dock, a stylus, and 4G connectivity — Sure, there are great tablets out there that already have these specs, but those aren’t real laptop-tablet hybrids. This thing can do actual work.
The O+ NotePad 4G is a more refined, and smarter O+ Convertible. It is a more geared device for creatives, than any competing devices. Creatives who can’t afford an iPad, or a Microsoft Surface, and an add-on stylus. O+ wants you to express your passion, right away, without the fuss – in a reasonable price.
The O+ NotePad is a bold move for the company, and I commend them for doing such.
- Sturdy and appealing build
- Excellent keyboard dock and IntelliPen
- Large and sharp Full HD display
- Windows 10
- Capable processor
- 4G connectivity
- 4GB RAM
- Good battery life
- Prone to smudges
- Poor camera quality
- 64GB internal storage