Intel Malaysia and SNS Network have launched the Joi 8 tablet, which is the first locally-branded Intel powered Windows 8.1 tablet. Featuring a retail price tag of RM499, it easily puts the tablet as one of the most affordable choices for consumers who operate on a desktop operating system in a tablet.
Initially, I had a preconception that the Joi 8 tablet will be sporting a glossy back finish based on the promo pictures on the company’s website. However, I was immediately proven wrong as I picked up the device. Although the tablet is on the chunky side, the Joi 8 is built with a matte aluminium body and rubberised sides and edges to keep the device ergonomically built – this design also prevents the tablet from slipping while using it one handed.
The camera module is slightly raised with a hump and is flanked by two stereo speakers. There are several different ports on the left side which include a 3.5mm earphone jack, a micro USB 2.0 port, and surprisingly a mini HDMI port. Additionally, there is also a rarely implemented TF card slot, and a proprietary DC jack for charging. One corner edge of the device houses the volume rocker and a dedicated Windows Start button.
If you think that they are a handful to remember, the team behind the Joi 8 tablet had took the liberty to label each and every port and module mounted on the device from the Start button to the microphone.
After few minutes into handling the device, I immediately found a few gripes. There is unfortunately no camera flash, and the seams where the aluminium and the rubberised plastic meet are pretty obvious. Additionally, it should have made sense for both the stereo speakers to be front facing, instead they are pointed towards the back and away from the user. Nevertheless, I couldn’t quite comment the “you get what you pay for” phrase as the software and internals are pretty compelling for its price point.
Powering the Windows 8.1 mobile operating system is an Intel Atom Z3735E which was revealed during the launch event. The chipset is in a quad-core arrangement and is clocked at 1.3GHz which translates to a pretty smooth experience on the interface despite the 1GB RAM. Flipping through Microsoft’s metro UI and opening and closing apps is a breeze with no signs of stutter or lag. Opening up the camera app brings you to the typical minimalist Windows 8.1 layout for the camera interface. There is even a LED indicator while the front facing camera is in use.
With 1280 x 800 display resolution, the screen looks sharp with an acceptable accuracy on colour reproduction, however, I couldn’t tell for sure as there is still a layer of protective plastic on the screen of the Joi 8 demo unit that I had.
To sum things up, the Joi 8 tablet is definitely a well built device with a great value for money for consumers who favour the Microsoft mobile platform. Despite the the few quirks, it offers most features that a tablet should have. With a price tag below RM500, the new Joi 8 tablet would definitely give other Windows 8.1 tablet manufacturer by big branded companies a run for their money.