Schenker Element review

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
239

A great low-price 10in Windows 8.1 tablet with solid performance

Specifications

Processor: quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3735D, Screen size: 10.1in, Screen resolution: 1,280x800, Rear camera: 2 megapixels, Storage: 32GB/64GB, Wireless data: No, Size: 258x172x9.7mm, Weight: 594g, Operating system: Windows 8.1

The Schenker Element is a 10in tablet running the full version of Windows 8.1, at a surprisingly low price. The Element can already run all standard Windows apps as well as the special Windows 8 versions from the Microsoft Store, and to make it even more versatile you can use the optional keyboard and smart cover (£30, www.mysn.co.uk). The tablet also comes with a year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal worth £60, which makes it even better value.

This cover folds in an origami-like way to create a stand, which helps prop the tablet up at a comfortable angle for you to type away on the keyboard. However, due to the stand's shape, you'll need quite a bit of clearance behind the tablet, so it might not be feasible to use it on a plane or train’s fold-down tray.

Schenker Element tablet front angle with keyboard case

We were actually impressed by the keyboard and smart cover; it’s very reasonably priced, which makes it a solid choice if you want to be able to use the Element for work. Irritatingly, we found the caps lock and left shift key were far too large, shifting the character keys off-centre and making the keyboard more cramped than it needed to be. We got used to it after an acclimatisation period and eventually built up to a reasonably swift typing speed, however.

The keyboard and smart cover also has an integrated trackpad, but we found this was a bit too small to use comfortably. We found it more pleasant to use the tablet’s touchscreen for navigation, even though it meant taking our hands away from the keyboard. We were a bit disappointed that the cover doesn’t add any extra USB ports such as we saw on the keyboard case for the Lumia 2520, although this would have certainly added to the size and cost of Schenker's version.

Schenker Element keyboard case

The tablet alone weighs 594g, which is relatively heavy for a 10in tablet. However, when combined with the case the tablet could be considered a light laptop instead; 951g is lighter than any Ultrabook. The tablet is fairly thick at 9.7mm, but this leaves room for a decent array of connections. These include a Mini HDMI port to connect to an external display and a microSD slot to expand storage by up to 64GB. The microSD slot isn’t covered by a flap, but inserted cards are recessed enough that you won’t have to worry about ejecting them by accident.

There’s also a Micro USB port to connect to your PC, but you need to use the DC power socket to charge the tablet. Schenker provides a Micro USB to USB adaptor so you can use this port to mount USB devices, but we would have preferred a full-size USB port. Generously, Schenker throws in a Mini HDMI to HDMI adaptor too, so you won’t have a problem connecting to an external display out of the box. On the back of the Element you’ll find a pair of stereo speakers, strangely packed closely together. Sound was tinny but relatively loud.

Schenker Element tablet ports

A quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3735D with a burst frequency of 1.8GHz is responsible for processing power and this is coupled with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. As the Element runs full Windows 8.1 it would have been nice to have seen more RAM but you could level this complaint at most Windows 8.1 tablets. The 10.2in screen has a relatively low 1,280x800 resolution. This amounts to only 149 pixels per inch, and the display is slightly grainy. The screen didn’t perform particularly well in our calibration tests, with a below-average contrast ratio of 647:1 and sRGB coverage of just 59.9%. It's a fairly underwhelming display, but is still reasonable for the price.

We ran our Windows benchmark suite on the Element, which performs intensive image editing, video transcoding and multitasking tests. The Element scored 16 overall, so you shouldn’t expect to run many intensive applications. The tablet's fine for productivity applications and web browsing, though. It scored 589ms in the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark using Internet Explorer, which is an excellent score. This is backed up by our subjective experience; scrolling and panning around web pages is at least as smooth as on any Android tablet we've seen, even top-end models, if not quite up there with the latest iPad. In our video playback battery test the Element managed to last 8 hours and 39 minutes, which is respectable and should help you get through a day of light use.

Schenker Element tablet front straight

In terms of gaming performance, we used 3DMark Ice Storm and saw scores of 4,798 in Ice Storm Extreme and 8,206 in Ice Storm Unlimited, which are both fairly low scores. The Element should still be able to handle most 3D games from the Windows Store and Halo: Spartan Assault was perfectly playable, but you may struggle with 3D Windows titles not designed for tablets.

The Element is equipped with a front-facing 2-megapixel camera and another 2-megapixel camera on the back, which is quite low even by tablet standards. We found the rear camera performed poorly, producing soft and noisy shots and we don’t see anyone wanting to use it as a day-to-day camera. The front camera is good enough to use for videoconferencing but not much else.

Schenker Element tablet rear

The Schenker Element is reassuringly built and, when paired with the keyboard case, makes for a decent tablet to work on while on the move. If you're after a pure Windows tablet you’re better off with the smaller Lenovo Miix 2 8, or if you want the very best see the Surface Pro 3, but if you'd like a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to a laptop you should check out the Schenker Element. 

Hardware
Processor quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3735D
RAM 2GB
Screen size 10.1in
Screen resolution 1,280x800
Screen type IPS
Front camera 2 megapixels
Rear camera 2 megapixels
Flash No
GPS Yes
Compass Yes
Storage 32GB/64GB
Memory card slot (supplied) MicroSD
Wi-Fi 802.11n
Bluetooth 4
NFC No
Wireless data No
Size 258x172x9.7mm
Weight 594g
Features
Operating system Windows 8.1
Battery size 7900mAh
Buying information
Warranty one-year collect & return
Price £239
Supplier www.mysn.co.uk
Details www.mysn.co.uk
Part code Schenker Element

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