Since we’re practically swimming in low-cost Windows tablets right now, you might wonder how it’s possible that new models are arriving regularly. You might further wonder why you should throw even a couple of hundred dollars on such a device with Windows 10 on the horizon. These are fair questions. But a Finnish newcomer called Eve is offering up the T1, a tempting alternative to the boring Windows mini-tablets we’ve seen so far. Does it have the chops to put it over the top?
It’s certainly possible. One of the things I’m a bit leery of in this age of Windows “zero dollar licensing” is the race to the bottom when it comes to specifications. With Windows mini-tablets, that means 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage, which is about enough to boot up the OS and then do nothing else. But if you want to actually use the thing—and actually take advantage of the free Office 365 Personal subscription that accompanies such devices—you need more. You need at least 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage.
Sure you could just go cheap. But the $100 HP Stream 7 doesn’t quite replicate the successes of the Stream 11 and 13 laptops, for example, in part because it’s hobbled by 1 GB of RAM. And the $60 WinBook TW700 Tablet goes even further down-market with just 16 GB of storage, compared to 32 GB in the HP.
As is often the case, the low-cost model is what gets people in the door, but it is the next model up where you often find the sweet spot. And so it is with some interest that I see that the Eve T1—admittedly, an unknown in so many ways—ticks more of the right boxes. Yes, it’s very inexpensive at just 159 euros, or $130 in the United States. But for that small bump in price over the HP Stream 7 and WinBook TW700, you get the right mix of specs, I think: a full 2 GB of RAM, a full 32 GB of storage, and, as crucially, an 8-inch screen.
Sweet spot achieved.
Those specs alone put the Eve T1 in Dell Venue 8 Pro territory, and I still consider that Dell—suddenly a wizened old-timer in this market—to be the best overall value in the mini-tablets I’ve tested. So the Eve, too, is very interesting, given that it’s a more modern device.
That screen, by the way, is an IPS panel, and though it’s a bit on the dull side, it lacks the crazy reflecting properties of many screens. It runs at 1280 x 800, so it’s no Retina-class display, but as I’ve noted in the past, I find that to be a nice compromise in this price range.
The processor is familiar—it’s a 1.8 Ghz Intel Atom “Bay Trail” Z3735F unit—as are the rest of the specs: a 5 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front camera, 802.11g networking, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, micro-USB for charging (and expansion, so you’ll need a dongle), microSD expansion, and a 4300 mAh battery. Nothing inspiring, but exactly what you might expect on such a device.
From a build quality perspective, the Eve T1 does indeed evoke the Dell Venue 8 Pro; when I pick it up, I find myself turning it over in my hands since it feels just like the Dell, with the same pleasant textured and grippy back.
The buttons are all a bit odd. The Windows button is curiously feedback-free, so you’re just pressing on the glass, but it works. And the power button doesn’t seem to quickly turn on the device. I press it, nothing happens. Press it a bit longer, nothing. Hm. Press and hold. There it goes.
The packaging is minimalistic, I guess, but it comes in a nicer box than any of its competition. Presentation matters.
So we’ll how it goes with the Eve T1. First impressions are favorable overall, and I’m moving to a general recommendation that this configuration—2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and an 8-inch screen—is the least one should expect from a Windows mini-tablet. Even really does seem to have gotten this right.
And imagine how good this thing will be with Windows 10 Mobile.