Review of the iRULU WalknBook Hybrid Windows 10 Laptop /Tablet – an Affordable Alternative to the Microsoft Surface
The WalknBook from iRULU is a 10.1″ hybrid Windows 10 laptop / tablet designed to be a more affordable alternative to the Microsoft Surface tablet PCs.
The WalknBook comes with a folding case, detachable keyboard, a micro USB cable and dedicated charger. The tablet has an unusual design- the back panel is black glass, and it has a bright colorful green or orange plastic bumper around the sides. The case is deep grey, and the bright green or orange provides a lively splash of color. It has Windows 10 software pre-installed and you can switch back and forth between PC and Windows tablet modes.
The WalknBook comes with Windows 10 pre-installed and works just like a PC running Windows 10. It has Cortana, Microsoft’s voice activated assistant. I’d recommend spending a few minutes setting up Cortana, getting her trained to your voice and telling her things like where you live, so that she can be a very useful tool. The default web browser is Microsoft Edge. On your home screen windows show notifications from your calendar, linked social Media, email, local weather, news and more. You can also personalize the display by changing out the windows to include what is most important to you. You can set the WalknBook up to work with your iPhone, Android or Windows smartphone. As well as the Microsoft music and videos app it will also run iTunes.
The WalknBook will run the full PC version of Microsoft office. It comes with an option to sign up for a free month of Office 365 (after the trial it costs $99 per annum), or you can purchase and install Office 2016 or just use the pre-installed free mobile Office apps. I opted to buy and install Office 2016 to get the full PC Office experience without an annual fee.
I’m usually a Mac user rather than a PC user so for me the user interface was unfamiliar, but for PC users it will feel very familiar. As a Mac user I still find there are times when I want to use software than is only available for the PC and not Mac. I can use a virtual PC program but that doesn’t always work well, and this is a nice affordable way of being able to run PC based software.
Comparison to Microsoft Surface 3
Of all the Microsoft surface models the WalknBook is best compared to the Surface 3. It has a similar size and functionality. The WalknBook has a 10.1″ screen compared to the Surface 3’s 10.8″. The WalknBook does have slightly lower specs, but is less than half the price of the base model Surface 3, and comes with the keyboard included, which costs an extra $130 for the Surface.
Like the Surface 3 it will run the full PC version of Microsoft office, it has 2 GB RAM which is the same as the base model of the Surface 3. The Surface 3 comes with 64GB ($499) 0r 128GB ($599) of storage, the WalknBook only has 32GB but you can add a MicroUSB card to expand the storage- I added a SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD cardfor under $45.
They both have Intel Quad Core CPUs. The Surface 3 has an Intel Atom x7-z8700 (quad core, 1.66GHzI- 2.4GHz.), whilst the WalknBook has it’s predecessor the Intel Atom Bay Trail-T (quad core, 1.33GHz – 1.83 GHz). You can read more about the differences between these chips in this PC World article, but the main difference seems to be improved graphics performance. The WalknBook does also have a lower screen resolution at 1280 x 800 vs 1920 x 1280. However, I found that for how I was using it – as a PC, playing a few games and watching movies on Netflix, the resolution was fine.
They are a similar size and weight. Without the keyboard the Surface 3 weighs 1.37 lbs (622 g) and measures 10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34 in (267 x 187 x 8.7 mm.) The WalknBook is 260 mm x 174mm x 10 mm, with the keyboard it weighs 1660g, without approx. 750gm.
Case and Keyboard
The case has a soft micro-suede style surface and a magnetic closure. When you open it up the back panel folds, origami style, to form a stand. The stand only has 1 position, and is landscape mode only, but is on a flat surface it is surprisingly stable. The keyboard is built in to the case and is automatically switched on, when the WalknBook is in the case and in use. The WalknBook attaches to the case and keyboard by strong magnets so is simple to insert and remove.
The case does need to be on a flat surface such as a table or tray, if you use it on an uneven surface, such as your lap, the tablet tends to come out of its groove and disconnect the keyboard.
The keyboard is black plastic and has a built-in trackpad, it is designed to be the same width as the tablet so is a little smaller than a standard laptop keyboard. Although not as comfortable as my Macbook keyboard, it is similar in feel to many external keyboards that I have tested for the iPad and I had no problems typing with it. My one gripe is the trackpad surface is textured plastic which feels a little odd running your finger over it- a smoother surface would be nicer. Of course it has a touchscreen, so you can use that instead of the trackpad, or connect an external mouse.
The WalknBook can also be used as a Windows tablet – you can download apps from the Windows store and you can play XBox Live games. The Windows appstore does have less selection than iTunes but there are still lots of apps to choose from. My kids were pleased to see you can get the Windows 10 Minecraft (Beta) as a free download if you already own the PC or Mac version (as we do) and are enjoying playing Minecraft on it. We had no problems using it to play games.
Removing it from the case disconnects the keyboard, then you can use it in either portrait or landscape mode. Putting it in Tablet Mode increases the sensitivity of the touchscreen. If you need to type you have the option to use an onscreen popup keypad instead of the keyboard case.
Battery and Power Supply
The WalknBook has a 7800 mAh battery and charges with an included charger, this connects to the tablet via a round pin it does not charge via USB. The iRULU website states the battery lasts up to 6hrs, this will of course vary depending on screen brightness setting and what you are using it for. I did find that the battery life was noticeably less than my iPad. I do wish that it charged via USB so that you could easily use a back up battery when away from a power outlet such on on a plane or in a car.
I think that the WalknBook is a very useful product for the price. It is similar to the Microsoft Surface 3 base model. Although the specs are a little lower, it includes the keyboard case and comes in for around $400 less than the Surface 3 with keyboard. I see its primary use as a lightweight alternative to carrying a laptop, with the added bonus of also being able to play games and use apps. Although it isn’t going to be a powerful as a full high spec laptop it does have enough computing power to browse the web, work on Office documents, watch videos and play games. I like that you can run the full version of Office rather than just the pared down mobile version. I’d love to see an option to charge it from an external battery pack to extend the length of time you could use it without access to an electric outlet.
This is a product that the more I use the more I like it. I like how it looks- the design is unusual but fun. It is much lighter and easier to carry than my MacBook, but feels more like a miniature laptop than my iPad with a keyboard case does. If you are looking for a lightweight, affordable alternative to using your laptop on the go I would recommend checking out the WalknBook.
Price and Availability
The WalknBook is available from iRULU.com and Amazon, it’s current price is $212.99
Tech Specs (from iRULU website)：
CPU Processor：Intel BayTrail-T Quad core, 1.33-1.83GHz
Operating System：Windows 10
LCD：10.1″ 1280*800 IPS
Memory：32GB NAND Flash
Touch Panel：10 points Capacitive touch screen
Camera：2.0 MP front-facing camera, 5.0 MP rear camera
Weight：1660g (including the keyboard case)
Gravity：3D gravity sensor
Music Format：MP3,WMA,FLAC,AAC, WAV,APE
Picture Format：JPEG, BMP, GIF,PNG
Ports: USB, Mini HDMI, micro USB, headphone jack, power supply, MicroSD card.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.