The iRulu Walknbook W3 Notebook (tablet) was kindly provided to me by iRulu-UK free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.
The iRulu Walknbook W3 Notebook is available in the UK from iRulu-UK Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £159.99 with free P&P. In the US the iRulu Walknbook W3 is available from iRulu Fulfilled by Amazon.com at a cost of $158.99 both with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).
To enlarge an image and view its description, please click on the image.
The iRULU Walknbook W3 Notebook comes supplied in a large rectangular retail style box bearing product specification information on the rear that is shrink wrapped in plastic.
Inside the box at the top the tablet is wrapped in two thin layers of cellular foam placed within a rubber frame surround with an additional layer of thick cellular foam placed on top. Below the tablet there is a cardboard riser insert holding the weight of the tablet from the contents underneath.
Below the cardboard riser is the keyboard dock that is wrapped in a single layer of cellular foam and is protected with an additional layer of thick cellular foam between the keyboard and the riser.
Below the keyboard, there is an illustrated instruction booklet which is in Spanish, Italian, German, French and English and contains very little information for the uninitiated.
In a separate plain white rectangular cardboard box located to the side of the tablet and the keyboard you will find the remaining accessories…
– A round white basic quality USB A to Micro B charging cable measuring 95cm long. There’s something not quite right with this cable, during my time I have used literally hundreds of bundled cable if not thousands and there is most defiantly something very odd about this cable. The wire inside the cable feels and sounds very brittle.
– A UK mains charger.
– CPU: Intel Atom Baytrail-CR Z3735F (64Bit, 22MB L2 Cache, 22nm, Quad Core 1.33Ghz (1.83Ghz Burst), TDP:4.4w, PassMark Average Score: 906.
– GPU: Intel HD Graphics (Graphics Base Frequency: 311Mhz, Burst Frequency: 646Mhz) This is similar to the onboard graphics with the Pentium N3530/40 and shares system memory. In terms of performance it is 6% more powerful than the AMD HD6290 and 8% slower than the AMD HD 7290.
– RAM: 2GB (Sadly, I am unable to confirm additional info on this component)
– ROM: 32GB (Device manager just lists this as a “Generic NCard”)
– Battery: 7000mAh
– AC Power Adaptor: Input AC100-240V,Output DC 5V@2A
– Operating System: Windows 10 Home
– Screen: 10.1″ Multi Point Capacitive Touch Panel. Specifics are lacking, but the Amazon product listing states the display is IPS and the iRulu site states that it is an IPS TFT Screen.
– Camera: Front and rear both 2MP.
– G-Sensor: Kionix KXCJ9 3 axis accelerometer SPB.
– WIFI: Realtek RTL8723BS IEEE 802.11b/g/n single band.
– Ports: Mini HDMI x1, USB Micro B charging port x1, USB A x1 (there’s also one on the keyboard), 3.5mm audio port x1. (Device manager shows the built in USB A port on the tablet to be USB 3.0, transfer speeds of a Samsung M3 HDD are far closer to that of a USB 2.0 port than a 3.0 port).
– Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR
– Microphone & Speakers: Built-in
– Buttons: Vol+, Vol-, Reset, Power & Windows button
– Micro SD Card: Up to 128GB. (No further compatibility information provided)
– Dimension: 257.9x173x17.5mm
– Weight: About 1150g
The measurements listed in the specification section of this review are from the iRulu site. The following measurements are taken by myself using a combination of an engineers rule and a digital calliper (and a set of scales).
L: 17.35cm ,W: 25.9cm, D: 0.951cm and it weighs 611g.
The tablet attached to the keyboard, closed for transportation.
L: 18cm (this includes the keyboard hinge),W: 25.9cm, D: 1.997cm (this measurement includes the feet) and the combined weight is 1127g.
The rear of the tablet is almost entirely made from a smooth good quality aluminium with a very dark grey near black finish. Located in the bottom right corner is a serial number & bar code sticker, in the left there is surface painted product information, including certification labels and in the centre is further iRulu and product model labelling. In comparison to offerings from Asus, Samsung and Apple the rear of the tablet is sadly far from a clean and minimalist look.
Around the edge of the back is finished off with a rubberized silicone surround that is dark grey in colour. Located at the top centre of this frame is the rear facing 2MP camera and towards the right edge are labelling indexers for volume up, down and power buttons.
On the right edge you will finding labelling indexers for the microphone, headphone, USB A, Mini HDMI, USB Micro B, DC power ports as well as for the reset button and MicroSD card slot. Located just in front of the reset and MicroSD card indexers is a flap matching the rubberized silicone surround (but is made from plastic) that covers the MicroSD card slot.
This flap is easy enough to open even with very short finger nails, although you do however have to use more force than you might expect and when it opens you kind of get the feeling that you just broke it. The flap is non removable as it is attached with a short strap to the tablet, it is as easy to replace as it is to remove however, due to four clips it has to be reinstalled in a specific manner.
The dark grey rubberized silicone frame located on the rear edge continues all the way around the outer edges of the tablet. On the top edge to the left is the power button and volume rocker switch that are made from black plastic.
On the right edge at the bottom is a speaker grille with 2×8 holes measuring 1.5cm x 3mm. On the left there is a matching speaker grille at the bottom, 7.5mm up from the edge of the speaker is the removable flap containing the MicroSD card slot.
Also located just in front of the flap just above the reset button is the mains power input port and located above this you will find a USB A output, Mini HDMI, USB Micro B charging (input), 3.5mm audio (headphones) ports and finally a small pin hole microphone.
Finally, on the bottom edge there is a contact point for connecting the keyboard. Either side of the contact point there are two recessed latching points that secure to the keyboard dock.
The front of the tablet is entirely covered with glass that appears to have a film layer installed over it (no I’m not talking about the protective film you have to remove before using the tablet). The screen measures 21.85cm x 13.6cm and has a black frame surround. Located centrally in the top frame section is the front facing camera and at the bottom is a white Windows logo, which is in fact a button.
With the exception of the plastic film attached to the screen that looks like a cheap screen protector the overall build quality of the W3 tablet is dare I say very good, it’s a little heavy but it feels solid.
The quality of the keyboard dock if I am honest is a little disappointing in comparison to that of the tablet itself. Compared to an equally priced standard Bluetooth keyboard is doesn’t really compare (at least to those I have personally previously reviewed). That said, it should be noted that the keyboard with the iRulu W3 is more than simply a keyboard as it is also a dock with an additional USB port and track pad as well.
Firstly the hinge, this appears to be impossible to manipulate when the tablet is not connected to the keyboard. When it is it is stiff to manipulate and entirely capable of holding the tablet at any set angle (with the tablet and keyboard closed together being 0 degrees the maximum the tablet can be opened attached to the hinge is 115 degrees).
On the underside of the keyboard, there are small square black rubber feet, these protect any surface the keyboard is placed on from the plastic underside and also prevent any unintentional movement.
There is a slight problem regarding the hinge and feet however. When the tablet is opened the hinge raises the back of the keyboard, lifting the rear two non slip feet off the table. As the hinge only measures 10.7cm wide if you hit any keys on the keyboard in the top left or right extremes with too much force it can someone make the entire device a little unstable.
The touchpad is actually pretty good, the textured surface does add some notable resistance when dragging which isn’t ideal, but other than that compared to the touch pads of my Toshiba L50 and S70 it’s far more tactile, responsive and accurate.
The keyboard (keys) sadly however are by far and away the single largest problem I have with the iRulu W3. The flex is significant, the keys are very squidgy with little resistance and no tactile feedback and under the caps there are large holes leading to the internals ripe for dust, dirt, ash and food. Even the slightest spill could potentially ruin the keyboard and a hardened regular typist will most likely wear it out within a year.
My second concern regarding the keys is that the indexers or characters on the key caps are nothing more than stickers, which again for a hardened typist simply aren’t going to last very long. It’s quite annoying as if you remove the actual keys from the equation its quite a well made keyboard, unfortunately corners have been cut in the wrong place to keep costs down.
On the hinge is a single button that releases the tablet from the keyboard dock, this must be held down while pulling the tablet up and away. Also located on the right edge of the keyboard is an additional USB A port and either side of the track pad are some protective bumpers that prevent the screen of the tablet coming into contact with the keyboard.
The layout of the board is largely similar to that of a laptop tenkeyless keyboard, there are however some differences as follows…
1. The enter key is single spaced and very narrow.
2. The hash (# & ~) key usually located before the enter key is located above the enter key.
3. The Delete (Del) key is located on the bottom right row.
4. On the left side between the L Ctrl and Windows key is a Function (FN) key that enables secondary non standard key functions.
5. On the right between the R Alt and Delete key is a dedicated button to disable the track pad (for when you are using a mouse)
6. To use the function keys (F1 to F12) you have to hold down the FN key to use them as function keys as their primary use is actually as follows.
F1 = Mute.
F2 = Decrease volume.
F3 = Increase volume.
F4 = Play / Pause.
F5 = Search.
F6 = Refresh.
F7 = Share.
F8 = Settings shortcut.
F9 = Home key.
F10 = End key.
F11 = Page up.
F12 = Page down.
The iRulu Walknbook W3 Notebook is supplied with Windows 10 Home installed and activated with the key embedded in the bios and no backup media supplied (the tablet can be restored to factory default from within Windows however). Before turning your tablet on for the first time ensure that the tablet is either fully charged or on mains power first. There is no warning, but during the initial setup phase the tablet runs a number of updates and only warns you to connect to mains but only once it has started.
Before proceeding to use your tablet ensure to update the tablet first (doing so while it is on charge), this may require Windows update to be run several times with several reboots in-between. Updates are quick enough to download but installation can only be described as a rather slow process.
A default install of Windows 10 installs a lot of its own bloatware and store links that can easily be uninstalled to clear some space, the full list of installed “Apps” is as follows…
– 3D Builder – This is a 3D rending App that is free on the Windows Store
– Alarms & Clock – A combination of alarm clock, world clock, timer and stopwatch.
– Candy Crush Soda Saga
– Contact Support – This is MS support not iRulu support.
– Excel Mobile – This is a free App and not a retail product.
– Films & TV – Media player.
– Get Office – This is a link to an Office 365 Trial.
– Get Skype – Link to the Skype App on the Windows Store.
– Get Started – Windows 10 Tutorial.
– Groove Music – Free Music player App.
– Insider Hub – Intended for those interested in the Windows Insider Program.
– Microsoft Edge – Internet Browser.
– Microsoft Solitaire Collection.
– Microsoft WiFi – Pay as you go WiFi App.
– Money – Stock Market and Financial news feed App.
– News – Newsfeed App.
– Optional Features – This allows you to set features such as OCR, Speech recognition and text to speech.
– People – Contacts
– Phone – Integrated as part of Skype
– Phone Companion – Sync, backup, and transfer data between your tablet and your Windows, iOS or Android phones.
– Photos – Photo browser
– PowerPoint Mobile – This is a free App and not a retail product.
– Skype Video – Yup, there’s a link to the Skype App on the Windows store installed and the Skype App is also already installed. Either or both can be wiped. I’m starting to think MS really wants you to use Skype.
– Sport – Sport news feed App.
– Store – The Windows App Store.
– Sway – A free digital story telling App.
– Voice Recorder
– Word Mobile – This is a free App and not a retail product.
– Xbox – If you have an Xbox live account, you can link your Gamertag and earn achievements in games from the Windows store and interact using your Xbox account. This sadly cannot be uninstalled.
Other than the above listed Apps the only other software installed are drivers and OS related files.
One further note, I want to make in this section is regarding video playback. I haven’t done a vast amount of research in this area, but I can offer the following insights for you.
– The VLC for Windows App from the App store isn’t great, but it’s still better than the bundled media player.
– Testing with some DVD files obtained using MakeMKV and converted to MP4 using FFMPEG that are uncompressed (2.5GB to 4GB in size) the tablet doesn’t handle them too well. Files play back smoothly from A Samsung M3 2TB HDD, but there is notable and frequent pixilation. Playback is slightly better from files located on the internal storage, but the quality is still far from perfect.
– In comparison to my own uncompressed files, video playback from iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon at HD is crisp and clean. If you’re going to use your own files clearly some work within Handbrake to compress the files is going to be required.
Unfortunately, I’m currently caring for my mother at her house and these are the only video files that I have access to (her Sony TV doesn’t like MKVs). It should also be noted in VLC you MUST disable hardware encoding or you will only hear audio and not see any picture from the video. (Open VLC, go into Settings > Video and disable hardware encoding).
Audio is ok, but it totally lacks any bass or depth, I wouldn’t say it was tinny… it’s just very flat with little in the way of apparent frequency range. The audio is serviceable for system notifications, but for movies and music a speaker or earphones are clearly required.
To test the microphone the Voice Record App was used. I was sat half a meter away, facing the screen and I recorded “Test, Test, Test, 1, 2, 3”. Playback at 100% volume was clear with no popping, but there was notable low level background hiss and at 100% playback volume it wasn’t as loud as you might think.
The tablet has a 7000mAh battery, this can be charged using the included micro B USB cable and there is also a separate DC 5v port to charge the tablet using a mains socket.
Drain test one.
The tablet was fully charged and put into standby with WiFi on and left for approximately 20 to 24hours. During this period the tablet battery drained by 51%.
Drain test two.
With a battery level of 49% the battery was monitored while the tablet was in constant light use (WiFi was on but the internet was not actively being used).
– After 21 minutes the battery level had dropped to 43%.
– After 42 minutes the battery level had dropped to 38%
– After 1 hour the battery level had dropped to 35%
According to the tablet it had 3 hours and 16 minutes of power left based on my current usage. (During this test while the screen was constantly on, which is by far an away the largest cause of consumption, but I defiantly wasn’t putting the tablet under any strain). In my test the battery had drained 14% in one hour which indicates just over 7 hours of use on a full charge.
Charge testing with a laptop USB 2.0 port.
The following testing was conducted with a Drok multimeter with the tablet currently holding a 35% charge (the lower the current charge the faster it charges and visa versa). Initial readings were 4.95v, 1.237w, 0.25A, oddly these readings are rather low, I expected the readings to be in the region of 5 watts / 1A if not higher. After 1 hour the tablet had charged just 400mAh… clearly charging using a laptop USB 2.0 port isn’t up to the job of providing enough power while the tablet is in use and as a result even when charged via a USB port the battery will still drain and eventually run out.
Charge testing with a Samsung 2A wall charger that came with my Note 10.1″ tablet.
The readings from the Drok this time again when the tablet had a 35% charge are as follows… 4.95v, 1.386w, 0.28A with a charge of 520mAh over 60 minutes. With the keyboard attached and watching films either locally or on the net this still doesn’t provide enough power for what is being consumed, clearly the mains charger is the best way to go.
Now I have a confession to make here. iRulu sent me the German version of the W3 with a German keyboard and an EU charger. I contacted them to advise of this and within 24 hours of being informed they sent me a UK keyboard to be able to write a review with a UK keyboard. Sadly however, they did not send me a UK mains charger to be able to do any power testing with.
With a full battery charge and the tablet on charge via USB you should get between 10.5 hours and 12.25 hours use before the battery gives up. One would hope that the mains charger supplied with the tablet is capable of providing enough power to keep the battery fully charged while it is in use. That said a USB port is more than capable of actually doing so, but in reality is sadly does not for one reason or another. As such consider the fact that it actually might not, which could be a problem for some.
While the 7000mAh battery sounds like a lot if you compare an Android Tablet to a Windows tablet the comparison simply isn’t a fair one. Android is a Streamlined purpose built OS designed for mobile devices, Windows on the other hand just isn’t. It’s more resource hungry, requiring more powerful components to drive than a comparable Android device which results in an overall more power hungry device.
As such my Note 10.1″ with a 7000mAh battery lasts over a week on standby, this Windows tablet however can just about manage two days.
The screen has some good and some not so good qualities most of which are attributed to the IPS panel used. Here are a list of pros and cons for you to mull over…
– Excellent viewing angles.
– Excellent colour reproduction, a big plus when working with or watching videos and pictures.
– The 1280×800 display looks far superior to that of the 15.6″ 1366×768 displays on my 15.6″ Acer Aspire and Lenovo E540 laptops. Compare it to the display of my 2012 Note 10.1″ however, and you start to see it isn’t as crisp as once first thought despite the resolution being the same.
– No noticeable lag or blurring during fast paced action film playback.
– Due to the viewing angles privacy is a concern.
– Best used in low light or under synthetic light. Or rather what I should say is, unless it’s overcast outside the tablet frankly is unusable outdoors.
– The tablet has a very and I do mean VERY reflective finish. This is a very minor to non issue in low light or dark rooms, but in well lit rooms it can become an issue and the tablet is unusable sat directly under a light source.
– Occasional light bleeding around the edges. I have to confess during over 24 hours of use over 3 days, thus far the only time it has been blindingly obvious was during the initial setup screens when the tablet was first booted, it has otherwise been unnoticeable.
The tablet has a single band built in 802.11b/g/n WLAN Card. The results of some speed testing using the speed test feature within Bing are as follows…
(Virgin Media 20Mbps connection with a wireless G router with aerial facing upwards. The test was run at 3.18am on a Saturday morning.)
The tablet was 40cm from the router with the router being obstructed by a monitor Ping <1ms, Download 18.5Mbps, Upload 6.09Mbps.
At a distance of 8m slightly obscured by a wood & glass sideboard as well as a monitor the results were <1ms Ping, 15.57Mbps Download and 5.88Mbps Upload.
Testing the Candy Crush Soda App already installed on the tablet I can confirm that it plays perfectly fine (better than on my Note 10.1″ 2012 if I am honest).
I can also confirm that vintage classics such as Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Diablo 2 work perfectly well running off a Sandisk 32GB Extreme MicroSD card as does Sim City 2000 and Transport Tycoon.
In real world use the iRulu W3 frankly humiliates my oldest laptop (an Acer Aspire T7500, 2GB, Vista). That said the old Acer can handle uncompressed MP4 files, although sluggish to get started playback is fine which it isn’t on the W3.
To give you an example of how capable the W3 is at multi tasking the following testing was conducted…
Opened Excel, time taken 3 seconds. Then opened Edge, time taken 3 seconds. Then opened PowerPoint, time taken 3 seconds. Then opened News App, time taken 4 seconds. Then opened Candy Crush, time taken 11 seconds. Then went back to Edge and searched BBC and clicked through to the site, time taken 2 seconds. Then opened Groove, time taken 3 seconds.
At no point did the W3 feel at all sluggish or laggy, my T7500 dual core 2.2Ghz Acer could only dream of being as capable as this tablet.
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE INFO.
Boot Time = 15 Seconds
Reboot Time = 47.27 seconds
Shutdown Time = 4.13 Seconds
Transferring a 3.37GB file from a Samsung M3 HDD using the USB A port on the tablet showed sustained transfer speeds of 37Mbs.
The following benchmarks were conducted on a factory fresh tablet with Windows 10 fully updated.
The procedure for testing was to download a benchmarking app, charge to full, reboot and run app. The app was then removed and the next installed and the tablet rebooted and fully charged before the next being run, etc. This was done to ensure constancy with the results.
Linear Write = 61.36MB/s, Read = 132.16MB/s
512k Write = 47.05MB/s, Read = 104.93MB’s
4k Write = 6.56MB’s, Read = 6.47MB’s
Single thread = 32.37 Hash MB/s
Multi thread = 114.65 Hash MB/s
Threads = 5 (3.54)
Main RAM = 584.24 MB/s
GPU Compute = 516.04
GFXBench DirectX. (Formerly DX Benchmark)
None of the texts were compatible with the W3 tablet.
Depth of Field = Low
God Rays = On
Normal and specular mapping = On
High Dynamic Range = On
Bloom = On
Average Performance = 21.37Fps
When iRulu first sent me the W3 tablet review I was accidentally sent a German sample to review with an EU mains plug and a German layout keyboard. Within 24 hours of informing iRulu of the mistake they kindly sent me a UK keyboard dock to update my review with. Sadly however, they did not send me a UK mains plug.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.
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