TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

Summary: The parade of Windows 7 tablets has already begun, as the TEGA v2 began shipping late last year. I picked one up and have been using it for a few months, and it's time to give it some pixels.

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The parade of expected Windows 7 tablets has begun, as the TEGA v2 began shipping late last year. I picked one up and have been using it for a few months, and it's time to give it some pixels. Sharp-eyed readers may be thinking the TEGA v2 looks like the just released ViewSonic ViewPad 10, and you are correct. The same ODM is making both the TEGA v2 for Tegatech in Australia and the ViewPad for Viewsonic, and they are the same right down to the dual-boot environment with Android.

The TEGA v2 is a thin slate with a 10.1-inch display running at 1024x600. It is heavier than the Motorola XOOM, but about the same size. It is basically a netbook in a slate form, with an Intel Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM and a 32 GB SSD to speed things along. The multitouch capacitive digitizer works as well as that on any smartphone, and the webcam is handy for video conferencing.

Check out TEGA v2 photo gallery with comparison to Motorola XOOM


Image Gallery: Check out the TEGA v2 Windows 7 tablet photo gallery with Motorola XOOM comparison. Image Gallery: TEGA v2 Image Gallery: TEGA v2

Hardware specs as reviewed:

  • CPU: Intel Atom N455, 1.6 GHz (single core)
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB SSD
  • Display: 10.1-inch, wide-angle, 1024×600
  • OS: Windows 7 Pro
  • Slots/ ports: 2-USB, Mini VGA, microSD, audio, SIM (3G)
  • Battery: integrated, 3,500 mAh, 3.5 - 4 hour real-world battery life
  • Connectivity: WiFi b/g, Bluetooth, 3G (GSM)
  • Webcam: 1.3 MP
  • Dimensions: 10.8 x 6.7 x 0.63 inches, 1.9 lbs.

The construction of the TEGA v2 is first-rate, from the black plastic bezel on the front of the tablet to the aluminum back. It feels very solid in the hand, if a tad heavy for prolonged use. The accelerometer is used for auto-rotating the display to the desired orientation, and as this feature is incorporated in the BIOS it works very well with only a slight delay observed in the process.

The three buttons on the right of the display (in normal landscape orientation) are reminiscent of those found on Android phones. They are (top-bottom) Power; Home; and Back. The Home button has a nice function that is handy for a Windows tablet; hitting Home instantly minimizes all open windows and displays the desktop. It is a toggle so a second tap brings all of the windows back instantly. The Back button toggles WiFi on and off so care must be exercised to not hit this accidentally. The Power button works as it does on any Windows system and can be configured in the power management to put the tablet to sleep.

Windows operation

The TEGA v2 is a complete Windows system and operates as expected. The touch screen has just the right sensitivity for operation via the fingers, and Windows 7 works with touch better than you might expect. Some controls are small for tapping with the finger, but most can be adjusted in size to make this work better. Overall I find that it is easier to use Windows on the TEGA v2 than I thought it would be. The performance of Windows on the tablet is quite good, due to the fast SSD.

The problem with this tablet, as with all Windows touch tablets, is quickly discovered when you run a program. As my ZDNet colleague Mary Jo Foley is fond of pointing out, Windows 7 is touch capable but not touch-centric. This is evident when running programs; any Windows program can be used on the tablet, but few of those are written to handle touch operation properly. Most Windows programs don't handle touch at all, and these can be tough to run without a mouse and keyboard. This will have to be addressed in future versions of Windows designed for touch. It is not just the operating system that must be written for touch, the apps must also be optimized. This is not unique to the TEGA v2, it is the same for any touch tablet running Windows 7.

The advantage of the Windows tablet over those running other platforms is the ability to run any Windows programs. The TEGA v2 can handle any of these with ease, with the exception of CPU-intensive programs. It can also be used with an external keyboard and mouse if necessary, in effect turning it into a super portable netbook. For those facing situations where running Windows programs is mandatory, and the TEGA v2 is a perfect fit.

Android operation

The TEGA v2 (and the ViewSonic ViewPad) dual-boots into Android 1.6. Tegatech is working to release version 2.2 (Froyo), but they've been working on it for a while and it's not out yet. This old version of Android cannot run some of the newer Android apps, and older apps don't handle the large 10-inch screen particularly well. The Android Market is not available either, so having Android on the tablet is more a novelty than anything useful.

Once Froyo is released that will change, as Android can be used for quick sessions without firing up Windows. It should be better for battery life, too. I will give this a try when the update is released but until then I don't boot into Android.

The TEGA v2 has the Intel processor, so the open-source version of Android written for the x86 platform is what is used. This may be affecting the speed of the Froyo update on the TEGA v2.

Conclusion

The TEGA v2 is a solid tablet that is well-made and quite functional. Windows 7 runs very well, and the touch screen and other controls are nicely laid-out. Windows tablets such as the TEGA v2 are suited for the enterprise, particularly those with proprietary Windows programs that would benefit from the slate form factor. If running Windows programs is not what you need, you will be better off looking at the iPad 2 just announced or another tablet such as the Motorola XOOM.

This tablet is available through Tegatech for $799, which is the price for the tablet as reviewed. They also have accessories for the TEGA v2, including a case with an integrated keyboard.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, Windows

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Talkback

30 comments
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  • Hows the battery life when running Win 7?

    ?
    The Star King
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @The Star King As noted in the specs, I am seeing 3.5 - 4 hours real-world battery life with the v2.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

        @JamesKendrick That's disappointing. Everything else sounds wonderful on this tablet, but that battery life is just too off putting to make me want to invest any money into one (mostly be using it for work.).
        Bates_
      • I am not sure that it makes sense to compare this device to Xoom (or iPad)

        @JamesKendrick: obviously these devices are of totally different nature. One would want Atom tablet only if there is some superspecific software that only exists for Windows. For any other case it is ineffective; Xoom would work much better (except for it is buggy and now apps for couple of nearest quarters); iPad 2 will be even more optimal.
        DDERSSS
  • Dual boot?

    Wouldn't the option to run Adroid inside Windows be more productive? ....or even better, toggle instantly between the two if virtual Android bogs the system down too much.
    kd5auq
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @kd5auq
      You have to remember this is not a desktop so you're not going to have the additional horse power to run 2 OS without a lot of compromise. Running one OS within another OS is in my opinion a bad idea. Running a layer of translation always means there is an extra layer of bottle neck at some point.
      rengek
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @kd5auq

      If you really want to run Android from within Windows and don't want to be limited to Android 1.6, then load up the Android SDK with the emulator. No idea how fast it would be but the combination of limited RAM, Java and Windows overhead... well, let's say that I'm not optimistic.

      But the benefit is you can run any Android version that runs withing Google's supplied emulator. You aren't limited to Android 1.6. I've got Android 3.0, 2.3.3, 2.2 all the way down to 1.5
      Marc Jellinek
  • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

    James,

    Were you able to try out the stylus at all? It would appear to me to be really useful for OneNote type tasks in the stylus works well.
    Michael L Jones
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @Michael L Jones Touch tablets like the v2 do not have active digitizers, they are touch only. No inking allowed, other than with a special capacitive stylus which don't work well. These are not Tablet PCs, merely touch slates.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

        @JamesKendrick Thx. I figured as much, but I saw the stylus they were offering and HOPED for a minute that they'd figured something out that was at least usable.
        Michael L Jones
      • Interesting distinction

        @JamesKendrick So is the HP Slate a "touch slate" or a "tablet PC"? I wan't even aware of the difference.
        The Star King
      • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

        The HP Slate has a dual digitizer specifically to allow both touch and pen operation. That makes it more of a Tablet PC, but MSFT needs to figure out how to make that clear to consumers.
        JamesKendrick
  • I like the idea of hybrid tablet

    with a lighter "tablet" OS and the ability to boot into a full OS for other functionality but not at a $800 price tag.
    bobiroc
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @bobiroc
      Im right there with you on that. The battery life is a bit low yet it kills my sony laptop battery life which with extended battery in it last about 20 minutes on a full charge . the standard battery lasted about 10 minutes on my vaio in standby mode. The dual boot is very cool but yeah $800 for any kind of slate, pad , or tablet is not gonna float. Get this in the $299 range or $350 with a sim card option and we can talk.The cost of $800 I would rather go buy a hell of a laptop for that much.
      Fletchguy
  • Tega V2: android

    Why not put Android 3.0 on as an update.
    downer93
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @downer93
      I don't think android updates can be a "just toss it on" update. I think the manufacturers have to do some tweaking to make it work well with higher versions of android.
      rengek
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @downer93 The advantage and disadvantage of Android is that you customize it for the hardware it is on. Since it is all open source you can do that. Microsoft is open standards so the hardware conforms to it.
      hayneiii@...
  • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

    "? any Windows program can be used on the tablet, but few of those are written to handle touch operation properly. Most Windows programs don?t handle touch at all? ."

    and

    "The advantage of the Windows tablet over those running other platforms is the ability to run any Windows programs. The TEGA v2 can handle any of these with ease?."

    And you don't see the obvious logical contradiction here?
    DeusXMachina
    • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

      @DeusXMachina Windows tablets can run Windows programs, that's the advantage for those who need that capability. Most apps are designed for touch so it's hard to use with the fingers. They do work, though, if you connect a KB/mouse to the tablet.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: TEGA v2 review: Windows 7 tablet with Android on the side

        @JamesKendrick
        " Most apps are designed for touch so it's hard to use with the fingers."

        I'll assume that's a typo.

        "They do work, though, if you connect a KB/mouse to the tablet."

        In which case you have negated the ENTIRE point of it being a tablet. So again, calling this an advantage of Windows tablets borders on the ridiculous.
        DeusXMachina