Sunday, November 22, 2015

You Get What You Pay For: A Review of the Nextbook Ares 11

    Back in my early twenties, when I was inexperienced … oh who am I kidding! Back when I was young and dumb I used to buy everything in the cheap, store brand versions. That included shoes, which I used to buy from Walmart for $10. I didn’t care how bad they were, ten dollars was a great deal I couldn’t pass up for work shoes. I was just going to tear them up anyway, right? That’s right and tear them up I did. Every month those cheap shoes had to be replaced with another cheap pair. Well it’s only ten dollars, surely I can spare that every month but after eight months of replacing these cheap shoes I realized how I had spent what I could have spent on one pair of good shoes to last the whole year. And if you include the gas I spent to go to Walmart seven additional times, really the cheap shoes ended up costing me more in the long run. It was a lesson I learned the hard way but the fact is you get what you pay for, and it’s wise to invest in quality.
    Wait, I clicked this link for a review of the Nextbook Ares 11! What the heck does this guy’s stupid shoe story have to do with anything …”
    The Nextbook Ares 11 is the Walmart store brand of tablets, and like those shoes you get what you paid for. From the box it looks comparative and promising for a $197.00 price tag. It has a sleek look to it’s design, with the blue edging and blue backlight to the keyboard. It has 64GB of storage which can be extended to 128GB with the use of a Micro SD card expansion. The tablet has a crisp looking 11.6” display running at a 1366x768 pixel resolution. There’s a modest but capable Intel BayTrail-T CR Quad-Core 1.83 GHz CPU and a GEN7 GPU processor inside. One of the greatest selling points for me at it’s price is the inclusion of a backlit keyboard attachment. And the tablet has lots of ports including 2 USB ports in the keyboard, a Micro HDMI port, a Micro USB port, and also the Micro SD slot I already mentioned. It runs on Android’s Lollipop 5.0 operation system. Oh did I mention it’s under $200!! What a deal!
    Then  we get home with it and start to use it, and the shoe begins to wear thin quickly.
    The first issue with the device is memory. It can handle singular tasks fairly well with a bit of longer load time than your average tablet, but once you try to run multiple Apps at once the background apps begin to shut down. For example when facebook’s Messenger App pops up with a message the App can shut down as you're in the middle of typing your reply. You have to stop what you’re doing and load the App as the main application of focus to have a chat session. This is especially annoying if you’re someone like me who likes to listen to music while you browse the Internet or type documents in your word processor. I’ve fiddled with the settings as much as the OS allows. I’ve minimized my Apps to just two, the music and my simple word processor, and still after about a minutes time of typing the music quits. So kiss multitasking goodbye!
    The rest of the issues seem minor again considering the tablet is so modestly priced. Yeah it’s bulky and gets hot. Sure the keyboard is a little awkward to use and the mouse pad actually gets in the way if you’re typing too fast. I consistently hit the mousepad with my spacebar thumb, popping my typing text to a random spot on the top of the screen. The speakers are a joke, as is the camera but what’s my battle cry here … you get what you paid for. The load times can linger on, and the gaming performance is a bit laggy on the graphically intense games.
    Did I mention the bang for your buck? For singular tasks it gets the job done and the display is very nice all things considered. Video play is bright and crisp, as long as your video App is the singular application running. The keyboard setup is very handy for a writer like me, with an easy detachment to switch the tablet to a convenient, but heavy, reading device. For a Walmart brand device it could be worse, but one could easily argue it could be better. Is it a worthy investment, hell no! But for someone who’s struggling financially it offers some nice features that the $200 market usually doesn’t get. Choose wisely because, one more time, you get what you paid for.

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