Hands-on review: CES 2016: Toshiba DynaPad

Windows tablets have been a hard nut to crack and even Microsoft itself took three tries before it made the Surface Pro 3 a tablet worthy of replacing your laptop. But for the most part Windows tablets have been either too thick and clunky or expensive to really take off. And so the Toshiba Dynapad comes as a surprisingly wonderfully thin Window 10 slate that also comes at an affordable price

Priced at $569 (about £389, AU$805), the 12-inch DynaPad costs about just as much as you would pay for a budget netbook, however, it does not feel like it’s budget at all. It weighs a mere 1.28 pounds (0.58kg) and measures just 6.9mm), making it the thinnest and lightest Windows 10 tablet even compared to the Surface Book‘s Clipboard.

Toshiba DynaPad

With a mix of soft touch paint on the back and a massive sheet of Corning Gorilla glass on the front, the DynaPad feels like a much higher-end device than you’d think a $600 tablet would. The whole device is wrapped in a carbon fiber weave to help keep it lightweight.

It also feels durable enough to toss around the house as the family tablet or whenever you want to see a bit of media. The 3:2 aspect ratio of the screen – resembling the same proportions as a piece of paper – makes the device perfect for reading websites or catching up with some shows over Hulu and Netflix.

Toshiba DynaPad

Internally the DynaPad comes rocking a 1.44GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor as well as a 1,920 x 1,280 resolution display – the latter of which comes as a bit of a surprise, because most budget devices under 13-inchs would typically feature a 1,366 x 768 display if not lower-res. But together, the tablet runs smoothly and a decent clip in terms of speed. Users should also expect to get about 8 hours of battery life while watching videos.

Toshiba DynaPad with stylus

The touchscreen feels great and it works splendidly with Wacom’s digital pen. Though I still have to give it to Microsoft for creating the best stylus experience with the Surface Pen’s rubbery tips. The Wacom pen feels just a bit too smooth and offers no real resistance. However, Toshiba has integrated soft and hard touch, so when you’re using a marker it will leave a swell of ink the longer and harder you press it into the screen as if it was a real piece of paper.

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The device seems a bit limited with only 4GB of RAM and a 64GB eMMC flash module for storage, but it’s unlikely Toshiba could have squeezed more into the device given how thin it is. Still you’ll be able to bump up your storage capacity thanks to an onboard microSD card slot and there’s a micro HDMI port for video out.

Toshiba DynaPad with keyboard

You can buy a separate keyboard for $99 (about £68, AU$140) and it’s definitely recommended. The keyboard accessory is nearly as light as the tablet but it doesn’t contain any batteries. Instead it has a small set of gold contacts that interact with the bottom lip of the tablet when oriented horizontally, from which it will draw power. The keys are nicely spaced and offer a surprising amount of key travel. The trackpad is also decent but nothing too amazing.

Toshiba DynaPad keyboard

The DynaPad also has a few features that would make it a great device for businesses. Toshiba’s TruRecorder can be used to record a conference and separate the audio by who is talking at the time. It can do this because it’s tagging different voices based on how far they were from the microphone. TruCamera is useful for taking pictures of white and black walls and basically flattening them into text search-enabled digital files.

Early verdict

For $569 (about £389, AU$805), the DynaPad feels like a steal for what is a high-end Windows 10 tablet. Still it limited specs regarding its low storage and memory, but these small disappointments are overshadowed by what is an amazingly thin and premium-feeling tablet.

The Full HD screen is a real treat and its paper-like proportions are perfect for consuming media when you’re kicking back on the couch. Still, I’ll have to see how well this tablet handles under the stress of daily use and if the battery life claims are true.

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