Schenker Element review
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Processor||quad-core 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3735D|
|Front camera||2 megapixels|
|Rear camera||2 megapixels|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||MicroSD|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1|
|Warranty||one-year collect & return|
|Part code||Schenker Element|