iBall Slide X1: brace yourself

30th March 2015
iBall Slide X1: brace yourself

This tablet is a stand-up artiste!
March 30 2015: When  tablet PCs are  larger than 8 inches, it can be uncomfortable to hold  it in your hand for long.  When it is 10.1 inches -- a frozen shoulder and  a numb wrist is a given. iBall seems to have got the message.
The new  iBall SlideBrace X-1 tablet  comes with an integrated cycindrical flexible  kickstand  which lets you set it up   horizontally as a second screen on your desktop  or upright for video conferencing.
In keeping with its  dual work-play avatars, the Brace -X1  has a powerful  8-core MediaTek processor , 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and 16 GB of storage expandable to 32GB.  The cameras are about this best you can get-- a 13 MB rear cam with autofocus an a  5MP for  selfies.   There are two  standard sized 3G SIM slots hidden behind the stand  and the FM Radio has a record mode.  |
The default apps installed include Whatsapp, Hungama, Myntra and Quikr -- but  what I found most useful was iBall's news aggregation tool 'Newshunt' -- the most wide ranging collection of  Indian and global sites for hard news, entertainment, finance and technology, I have seen on a phone or tablet.   The display is 1280 by 800 pixels IPS --  not full HD but better than 720p   and the  dual chamber speakers in the stand belt out very clear sound. The  true test is not music but voice search as I have learned from past experience.
The virtual touch keyboard  can be set to any of 17 Indian languages  but I am a bit mystified at the lack of a physical keyboard at least as a paid accessory. When you set the tablet upright on your desk, how do you use the virtual keys?  We reviewed the similarly sized  iBall Slide WQ149  on this page last year -- and it came with a very light external keyboard and that cost just Rs 4000 more. 
The Brace X1  which costs Rs 17,999,  is heavier at 700 gms , possibly due to the large 7800 mAh batteries.  But while I applaud the very sturdy design  for doubling as a desktop, I still have a sneaking wish for a physical keyboard.  Anand Parthasarathy