When you first lay eyes on the iBall
CompBook i360, chances are that you are not gonna be able to comprehend the
capabilities of this seemingly tiny and fancy looking piece of hardware. But
once you 'flip' it open, this budget laptop opens a world of convenience for
you. iBall partnered with Microsoft India and Intel to bring Windows 10 touch
based laptops closer to the population of a country that has been growing
digitally. The CompBook i360 is one of the devices from that line of products.
The box-pack of the i360 is as compact as
the laptop itself, open it and you find the laptop. Also contained in the box
are the charger, user manual, warranty card and a USB to microUSB cable. I was
not too impressed by the quality of the charger but overall the contents of the
box were satisfactory. The amount of padding and protection provided really
left me impressed. The i360 comes in a rather luxurious looking golden colour
which combined with the black coloured keys, trackpad and screen bezel really
complement each other and give the laptop an elegant look overall and the
material is soft to touch. At 1.5kgs it carries a decent weight for its size.
There is an LED indicator right next to the charging point on the left side
that glows while the laptop is charging. Apart from this just above the left
side of the keyboard you have LED indicators for power, caps lock, num lock and
Boot up the laptop and the initial Windows
10 setup greets you. The laptop gets the Home Basic version and is also packed
with Cortana, the virtual assistant from Microsoft. The reason as to why it is
called i360 is because you can flip the screen to a full 360 degrees (without breaking
it). This combined with the touch display enables you to operate the laptop in
four modes - laptop, tablet, stand and tent. There is even an option in the OS
to enable tablet mode to change the UI for a better tablet like experience. A
small slider on the right side of the laptop enables or disables the physical
keyboard and trackpad so that you do not accidently press any keys while using
the laptop in tablet mode. On top of that the display also comes with screen
rotation and you can work in portrait mode too.
The 11 inch capacitive touch screen on
this laptop has a resolution of 1366X768. The display quality is just about
average with slightly less punchy colour reproduction and not so deep blacks.
You can tune the way that the display looks slightly within the settings but it
will still not feel as premium. On top of that the screen is somewhat on the
reflective side. Using it under direct sunlight takes a little effort but indoor usage is mostly fine. This display is
ideal for single person use as the more you view it from the sides, the darker
it gets. The touch response how works like a charm and I do not have any
complaints in this department. There is a 0.3MP camera right above the display
that can be used for taking decent selfies and can record videos at a maximum
640X480 resolution at 30fps.
Getting into the technical specifications
of the laptop, it runs on an Intel Atom Z8300 that clocks between 1.4 to
1.84GHz. You also get Intel HD graphics. There is 2 GB of DDR3 RAM running at
1600 MHz but there is no scope for expanding the RAM as the processor itself
has a limit of 2 GB when it comes to RAMs. However the 2 GB of RAM is enough
for most of the tasks. Now it is no surprise that you encounter brief hangs as
the processor is not too high end but given the budget and the segment that it
is aimed at, one can forgive this easily. The laptop is meant for many first
time users and still provides more features than many of the laptop which cost
2-3k more. We tried a few games on this laptop and found that lower end games
like Candy Crush worked fine. It even played somewhat higher end games like
Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt Extreme but there were some frame drops during
certain parts. However the laptop runs great when it comes to doing what it is meant
to do and that is editing documents in Word, browsing the web, playing media
content like music and movies. Video files ran smoothly till the 1080p
resolution post which the videos did lag and stutter.
The storage space stands at a mere 32 GB
out of which you get close to 29 GB on the first boot. This can be somewhat
problematic for some people but there is some relief in the form of an option
of adding a microSD card of up to 64 GB directly into the laptop.
The connectivity options present on the
i360 include a WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, a mini HDMI
input, a place to slot in a microSD card, an ethernet connection port and a
single 3.5mm audio jack for headphones and mic. A CD writer is missing but that
should not be too big a problem. There are two speakers situated underneath the
laptop and they pack quite a punch. They are not the loudest but get the job
done. The placement of the speaker is such that they are close to the curve on
the lower surface thus the sound does not get too muffled when you place the
laptop on a flat surface but I think that iBall could have made the same
speakers even more effective if they had placed them somewhere on the top.
Similarly the power button situated on the right side is prone to accidental
pressing as you shift the laptop while it is on.
The only thing that bothered me bit was
the response of the keyboard. Although the keys are light to press, sometimes
they do not register the press. Many a times I found myself typing things only
to find alphabets or spaces missing. So you will have to put a little extra
pressure on the keys while typing. The track pad on the other hand behaved
nicely except for a few times where it registered a click at the slightest
Battery life is nothing less than great on
the i360. You get a 10,000mAh battery that can give you a running time of 6-7
hours quite easily. On using the provided 5V charger I got a decent charging
time of close to 4.5 hours from 0-100%.
I was thrilled when I first heard the
pricing at which iBall was going to deliver the CompBook series of laptops. Now
after having spent time with the i360 I am delighted to find that iBall managed
to deliver on almost all fronts. Yes the laptop has a few shortcomings like the
keyboard response and a few placement choices but goodies like decent power
under the hood, an HD touch display, Windows 10 and much more, outweigh the
shortcomings by a big difference. At Rs 12,999 first time users will get to
experience some technologies in the iBall CompBook 360 that are mostly seen in
higher end laptops.
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