Tuesday, 13 January 2015

ONDA v820w 8" Intel Atom Z3735F Windows 8.1 Tablet (Part 1)

As a new age of cheaper tablets appear on the market, the power in them gets better and better. Now there was a new Intel Atom Chip which is a x64 chip, but imagine a tablet that can run all the programs (some well, some barely) that you use on a normal laptop or even a desktop. Well that imagination has become a reality. With Exertis making a entry level market of them with the Linx Tablets. The reviews on Amazon for these are intense and for under £100 these were a definite buy for a portable digital life. But with those linx ones, they are weak with a 1GB of ram (except the 10.1")  but the 32GB of storage is quite good, for a tablet at the least.

After searching Amazon, i came across a similar looking version but with the 2GB and 32GB and the white colour (you could call me racist for the preference but meh) that makes it look sleek. Amazon had some good prices for this ONDA v820w tablet but no UK stock and the shipping was with Airmail so it could get lost and so on and so forth. Then i found a site that was selling them, it seemed like ONDA's own e-commerce (shop) site.

The tablet was £76.57
Then you have the cost of a OTG cable for £0.63
Then you have delivery of £13.53
Then you have a customs Charge of £14.00 (Not in the cost from ONDA but the cost from DHL due to HMRC customs)

The total bill from ONDA but most of the cost except the £14 customs fee for me
In the end it came to around £110. That is pretty good since other 2GB windows tablets (branded like acer and dell and Toshiba) were around the £120 ex VAT (one supplier, Spire were doing it for that price).  But i ordered it on Monday evening (after dealing with Talktalk trying to make sense of why they cap fibre packages at 2mbits instead of 5 since it makes upgrading to fibre not worth it, so a £27.70 package for the rest of life but £17.70 for the first year from a phone rep named Helena, seriously, she pronounced it like "Hell Ana" and compared using twitch to online gaming).

Then during work on a friday afternoon, when dealing with a customer, it suddenly arrived (less than 5 days, holy fuck thats quicker than some UK ebay suppliers and even when i ship things off to Amazon for customers via marketplace). Sure they text the night before saying about £14 customs charge which i wish DHL could offer with paypal but since its only a admin charge, the less fees for them, the better. After a busy afternoon of hornby and CCL orders and chat about the hostage situation, i ran home with that package in very minor rain then i started to get it unboxed.
The video is below, this might be a 2 parter since there is alot of tests with this thing i want to show off, but enjoy anyway.

The packaging. 

This is quite good and i mean really good for a chinese product, more so if you went to a chinese version of PC world or Carphone warehouse. But the outer packaging was secure, That is what i like to see when a package is going from the east of the world to the west of it. 
The top of the DHL package

The bottom of the DHL package

it seems that Bonni helped get this to me, by signing forms i don't understand

This is suppose to be a invoice for commercial purpose

Peeking inside a shell

more peeking, oh look a UK plug

YAY, the windows and intel logos :)

Then i decided to get it out, and there was a few extras outside of the seal box with modern metro windows design and so much chinese mandarin or something else, i'm not the best at it. But the contents of what was in the shell was pretty good. The tablet, the OTG and the plug, oh and a mini advice note. Lets have a look at the box then :)

4 things in a seashell bag, a tablet, a otg cable, a UK plug and a list

The OTG cable is nicely packaged

Converting plugs

Your typical UK Mains Plug

The contents typed up

The front of the tablet box, with a fair whack of chinese as well as the Windows and Intel Logo

The back of the box, blank as a door in white paint

One of the sides with just the windows logo

The bottom of the box with some features, Specs and whats in the box, Both in English and Chinese

Another side of the box, with QR and EAN and a possible S/N

The top of the box with the windows logo and a product code it looks like

I'm excited of how nice and clear (ignoring my ignorant language barrier) the box was and it made it looks modern and the colour flow of the Windows logo. Which was really well done. Some parts were in english as well so i'm happy with some of it, reading it on the video well, that was fun haha But then after the box, we have the contents inside.

A simple inside. 

This was a suprise to see how small the contents of the packaging were, with only the tablet, usb cable and there were 2 documents, a pocket style manual, i mean it really was a small one, It didn't say much on how to use Windows 8 which is fair enough since its standard windows. But it was a nice white with a different scaley material but it was nice since it could help you grip it, The slots were minimal, except the headphone 3.5mm output, the micro hdmi and the micro usb close to that again. Its a shame ONDA didn't add micro USB ports, since that would solve an issue i faced later on when setting it up. But the build quality of the tablet was really high and firm to hold. 
The tablet box and the tablet inside of it

The front ot the Tablet

The back of the tablet

A close up of the icons for the buttons 

The micro SD card slot

The ports at the top . 3.5mm headphone jack to the left, micro hdmi and micro usb to the far right

The windows button which is a soft touch button 

The bottom of the back of the tablet

I felt that the tablet was going to be nice to hold and i'm happy with. But the rest of the box with the pocket manual that was very basic and also the usb cable were quite good and some small piece of paper with a one on one side and i think it was some chinese on the other, not sure what it meant.

Inside the box, with the pocket manual and the little slip of paper and a micro usb cable, So it does NOT come with a charger, which for me is fine :)

The reverse side of the label, not sure what it means

A decent styled Micro USB cable

The front 4 sides of the pocket 

the back of the pocket manual

Then it was time to set it up.

Now i did ask for it to have English to set it up, which actually wasn't done that well, more so the actual English Language Pack was not installed, but that i did later on after getting it setup with my MS account. But it turned on quite fast. 

Booting up with the ONDA logo
The desktop of the profile they set up
The start screen of the profile that was setup in English from what the option i added to the cart was.

After setting up a new account in PC settings and logging in. But signing in was in Chinese

Then it asked me to verifiy my account (in chinese)

Then once the code was enter from the text, i decided to copy the settings from my laptop. 

Then it started to do the colour change and "getting your apps ready"

The lock screen as i usually get (synced from my laptop)

And the wallapaper and icon synced nicely
Then it was time to install some apps (since i connected it up to wifi), But by apps i don't mean the meh style Windows 8 Metro apps, i mean normal ones, since this is a x64 SoC CPU (with an x86 8.1 with Bing). First off it was Steam, OBS and Chrome.


now i started to install steam which didn't take too long initially but then with Office 365 installing (in chinese until it found out i'm a UK MS account) then having to do a 128mb update and then steam guard to get done, it finally installed and i had access to my libary. Now lets be clear and say this is a entry level CPU so i'm not going to even test any of the Arkham games or even Goat Simulator since thats just stupid. But for an odd reason, i wanted to give RR unbounded a try, since i have the software for the PS3 controller ready to setup (i'm planning on a tutorial with that) as well as Age of Empires II HD. But i'll get on to how those perform later.

Installing Steam

My libary appeared. Also it was installing office 365 at the same time

Big Picture Mode is possible but it was slightly. Not useful on a tablet though, it will be better using a controller. 
I've copied some of the games from my main laptop and to a USB stick (as well as the steam installer and some other apps you'll see later). Putting them into C:\Games and i first thought "why was it not letting them be recognised", but then i forgot about adding the "common" folder and putting the games in there, and low and behold, it was picking them up and working fine.


This was one of the main pieces of software i wanted to load. Well, since this could be a portable streamer, and it installed and it even recorded the screen reasonably, ok 8000+320kbps at 720p is a bit of a test but the tablet was reasonable for some of it. I mean i might need to tweak some setting but this could let me stream on twitch on the go, whether it be via a console (using a capture card) or just from game capture. But i have tests to do on this later. 

OBS installed

Testing OBS with the Webcam


Well this is a simple one, Works fine, Google account synced, No difference, maybe right clicking on Tabs is difficult, but its actually smoother than my laptop. I'm not kidding. Twitch works flawlessly, I copied over my Tampermonkey scripts, easy transition, I'm impressed with it, typing is nice (well not my spelling), but it wasn't any lag in responsiveness. 

Typing up the review on the tablet s not easy, more so my fingers than the tablet itself


Well, this isn't really something to use, but more to keep an eye on the heat. Now i'm surprised there was a temperature reading, but this gave 2 readings, one for the CPU and one for the Motherboard. Temperature wise, the minimum is 48, average idle is 53 and when watching twitch is 70.

The specs and temps with Speccy
 Interesting that it shows a Realtek Wifi chip inside but not Realtek HDA. Also interesting with an Hitachi SSD instead of the samsung ones in the Linx tablets. Still impressive.

Movie Studio 12 Platinum 

This installed but only at 32 bit, which doesn't matter for me much and it does take a bit longer than i hoped to  get going (the spalsh screen can make it feel ages to load). More info here will appear about how it feels when editing, Keep looking back

Installing Movie Studio
It loads and although i've not set it up yet, it will probably work reasonably

Lets be honest, you need the magnifer tool for many functions like fading in and out, which works ok (more big fingers i have than the tablet)
Remembering that i need quicktime player for MOV files to work correctly

Rendering the exit bit of the Tablet review video, i'm not kidding, that YT video was rendered from this

The temps when it was rendering the video. 720p, 4mb bitrate with quicksync (Speed)


If you don't know what this is, its a decent video converter which can really make conversion of video fast and its LEGIT open source free. And i've used this on both my laptop and my desktop which can handle films and vlog footage to convert, regardless if its for instagram, wii, ps3, chromecast or even VLC for ios when fapping over porn at night. But it does it well. 
Since its only 32 bit, you have to use an older build but thats fine. Now i've tried to convert a video i recorded using OBS and it converted it at an average of 75fps (MPEG-4, 25fps, 720p, 5000Kbit, AAC at 160kbt) And the CPU temp was around 70. 

The start of the conversion

Halfway through almost and you can see a minor bit of strain
I'm happy with this. Also i did enable quicksync which might explain how smooth this feels when converting.

The quality of the cameras. 

Now this is something slightly weaker than i would of liked but with entry level tablets, nothing is amazing in quality in every way. The cameras were one of the drawbacks, sure it would be good if you on a stream (which if you use picture in picture with obs, it looks ok) but taking the pictures via the camera app (which is the standard windows 8.1 app, no changes, so its not the software) can be poor, even though 16:9 resolutions are supported only on the back camera, its not amazing. However the rear camera can handle 720p at 10FPS, which is a bit of a relief , but only the back camera, the front can handle 640x480 at 10FPS. Thats quite poor. 

A pics of the cat from the rear camera

a selfie from the front camera, no there isn't a selfie stick used, there isn't a 8" selfie stick

Enjoy the specs below for the Pics and the videos too. 

The specs for front camera pics

The specs for the front camera video

funny how the rear camera resolution is 900p. 

720p for the rear camera video at 10FPS, boo

All in all, the lighting with it is meh, it can be bad in dark situations, but for the odd skype call, its fine. 

The sound quality

I'm going to be happy with it being slightly quiet but it is only a rear speaker near the bottom of the back of the tablet, but windows is pretty nice with handling the touch controls, But there is bluetooth and also a 3.5mm jack for earphones or a fun bluetooth speaker that is reasonable. Intel is the device for it which is a new take, I thought realtek would of done the usual HDA fun (quiet to loud HD audio with the crab being round and the jack switching). 

The battery life.

Sadly this is utter poor, i've had to charge it 3 times so far today and i left it on charge overnight from 2am then used it at 10am a few times. Also when its busy doing something, the charge is slow, i mean it never moved up a percent when watching someone play KHII on twitch in theater mode for 2 hours slow. I know i can change the notifications but there is little with changing the Processor Power Management or any other power saving settings, not even a Power saver mode in 8.1 is listed (if you are unsure on laptops, this might make sense, people that know windows can make their own settings/power plan). The charging light by the camera is nice to notice. 

The network (Wifi, BT etc) 

Well, wifi is pretty strong, i've had no disconnects, ok if your doing multiple internet tasks, it might struggle but nothing too bad, twitch as worked fine, Youtube worked nicely too, i've not tried media streaming or even Valve's In Home streaming on steam, so i'll update you as and when. You might have to use the OTG cable for ethernet via a USB ethernet adapter. But this can upload a YT video without any interruption internally (as long as you turn the sleep delay off to 2 hours + depending on internet connection speeds).

Bluetooth i've not yet tried, but the realtek chipset is pretty ok, 

Verdict so far: 

With everything i've mentioned, there is some good points as well as some bad ones. But some of them bad points have workarounds which don't leave you completely doomed. Such as the 1 Micro USB port can get a OTG Y cable or a Startech Micro USB cable and coupler so you can charge it and using a USB device at the same time. 

Then you have the poor battery life, but that can be partly solved with a solar power bank, which might not charge it, it can keep it alive until the battery has died down. Which even though with mine, it was maybe an hour or so, its better than "OMG I WAS DOING SOMETHING THEN IT DIED". 

Also when recording, the sound was off slightly (with OBS) i think it could been the echo with obs or the sound was at 12db boost. But i must admit, it was pretty good.

Then with the touchscreen nice and clear and up to 10 fingers at a time (but without a screen protector) it makes it seem like a decent build quality. 

With this in mind

omracer's Rating: 8/10

The Good Points: 

  • The fact its windows 8.1 from a normal desktop on a tablet
  • Intel quad core with Quicksync on the Z3735F makes it good for handling video rendering and playback
  • Good screen resolution
  • Wifi is pretty good, no cutting out
  • Sound is pretty ok via the speaker at the back and good depending on what headphones you use.
  • The cost is less than £150, let alone £200, Even £100 if you go second hand or go for the linx tablets and live with 1GB instead of 2GB. 

The Bad Point:

  • Only one Micro USB port, you have the choice of either charge the battery or plug a external usb device in.
  • The battery life is poor and since its only a 2.1A current, the charge is slow, especially when using the tablet
  • That is about it.

Well this the majority of the tablet summed up. 
Goodbye for now

Enjoy part 2  where i show off how it performs with Games and some other applications.