The new NextBook Flex 11A is a compact 2-in-1 tablet/laptop running Windows 10 with a boatload of features and true value pricing. It has an 11.6″ 1366 x 768 resolution screen that is better than the 720P HDTV standard. It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, good for watching movies. The guts of the system are in the tablet portion, not the keyboard base. This makes it seem a little top heavy, but the mechanism that locks the screen and the keyboard together is sturdy and more stable than the so-called keyboard covers you’ll find on some other tablets such as the Microsoft Surface. It is an almost full-sized backlit keyboard, and I had no trouble typing on it. The keys are the pop-up kind, known as Pogo, that are typical of a laptop and not the surface membrane on other keyboard covers. For those of us who still touch type, this is a significant plus.
Again, because the brains of the system are in the tablet/display, that’s where most of the connectivity is as well. There is a full-sized USB port on the keyboard. The tablet has a micro-USB, a micro HDMI, and a micro SD card slot. There’s also a headphone jack. The built-in microphone is on the side of the tablet, not the front. There are front and rear facing 20MP cameras. Of course, it has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The Flexx 11A is powered by an Intel® Atom CherryTrail Z8300 quad-core processor. It comes with 64GB of storage, but with the micro SD, you can add another 128GB. The tablet portion contains the battery, 9000mAh. But battery life can vary substantially depending on whether you are using the keyboard, which has no power supply of its own. Speaking of the keyboard, while it does have backlighting with pleasant blue LED’s, the keys themselves are not translucent, so all you really see is their outline, not their function. You might just want to turn off this function to save battery life. There is a capable touchpad but if you’re going to use this in laptop mode you might want to add a wireless mouse.
Because the Flexx 11A has Windows 10, it also has Microsoft’s Cortana Personal Assistant. We used the interactive voice function to set up the computer for the first time, and generally found she understood most of what I said, and the interactive experience was quite pleasant. Unfortunately, Cortana’s not quite as good at answering questions as she is at giving instructions.
We tried streaming some movies on Netflix, including Dr. Strange and found the screen playback quality was surprisingly good. The screen is sharp, the colors clear and vibrant. We also tried streaming some music from Amazon Prime and I was pretty satisfied with the audio quality for such a small machine, though the experience was better with headphones.
Overall, this is a compact two in one that has a lot going for it. It’s an ideal traveling companion, with the flexibility of using it as a touchscreen tablet on its own or as a fully functioning laptop. It’s a little small for my taste, but if you’ve got good eyesight, it’s great. It’s currently available at Walmart for $179.