BAM! Windows 8.1 Tablet For $99 In U.S.

Same-day updates after the break

The Chinese have landed in America!

Under the brand name of Insignia, with their eight-inch Windows 8.1 tablet called the Flex:

InsigniaFlex99Win8BB001

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Dual-speakers on the back, HDMI-out, microSD card slot, power and volume buttons, microUSB does double duty as output and charging.

There was Dell Venue 8 Pro nearby. This weighs less than the Dell.

Someone mucked around with the Magnification Setting in Explorer and I had to go in and make some adjustments:

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I was actually surprised I had no trouble figuring out how to fix things since I’d never before done that.

This joint:

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And YouTube:

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Using YouTube via the conventional web interface was a real Pain In The Ass.

Touch targets are very, very small. Touch, however, was accurate. But some weird shit was going on with that Microsoft browser and I kept getting zoom-ins when I didn’t want them and weird zoom-ins when I wanted the regular kind of zoom-in.

YouTube played well — when I managed to get it to play and aside from whatever was going on with the Best Buy WiFi that got me a spinning wheel. The trouble again was a combination of the browser acting weird and touch targets being small. I didn’t do a video of this because I really didn’t expect any problems, but there were. Are they insurmountable? I don’t think so, if you’re careful.

I put Volume on max. Even though I was in a very loud store, I could easily hear the sound. But it wasn’t good sound. It was rather tinny. This tablet really needs a better-quality Bluetooth speaker for audio output. The back speakers can be used in a pinch but don’t expect much fun from them.

And yes, I really tried to do the Google Books PDF test and ran into this damned roadblock:

InsigniaFlex99Win8BB014

Thanks for nothing, Microsoft!

And no, I didn’t even think of just downloading a damn test PDF anyway and trying the built-in PDF viewer. I was too disgusted by the above.

The guts:

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So this is a “1/16” tablet exactly of the kind being sold in China under a variety of brand names. When you’ve touched this one, you’ve more or less touched all of them in China.

My verdict?

It all feels like ninety-nine bucks.

It didn’t feel snappy. The screen didn’t seem pin-sharp. The plastic didn’t feel premium.

But hey! Windows 8.1 for $99!

This could be the “toilet tablet” — the one when I have to see what’s online but need to engage in a bodily function.

Now that this tablet has landed in America, I’m going to stop writing about the ones in China. iambillbil might have a second part to his iWork 7 evaluation — and that will be the final post about the tiny Windows tablets from China that I’ll do.

Additional:

Insignia website: Insignia™ – 8″ – Intel Atom – 16GB – Black

Same-day updates:

Chippy, who I consider the expert when it comes to Windows tablets — he’s covered them and used them from the start at UMPC Portal — added this in Comments and it needs to be seen here:

This matches the Intel reference design used in the Point of View Mobii 800W tablet i’m testing in Europe. 1/16 and incredibly difficult to use for more than 5 days without throwing it out of the window – which would be ironic.

My tip: Disable Windows update. Disable OneDrive offline cache. Don’t install Chrome. STAY IN RT / Modern / Metro. This is a device that can work well with Store apps. You’ll have 5GB storage free on first boot. Save the recovery partition to a stick and you’ll get 13GB free. 5GB will disappear in the first week if you do Windows updates.

For $99 it can do some good stuff but unfortunately user won’t know about the limitations and it will all go wrong. Unless they’ve read this!!!

He’s currently using one for Notebookcheck.

And via Twitter:

Chippy116Dialog

Second same-day update:

Chippy also sent these screensnaps:

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So it seems this is more of a “Metro/Modern” UI tablet. Which isn’t bad … just not what is expected when one thinks of “Windows.”

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9 Comments

Filed under Windows Tablets

9 responses to “BAM! Windows 8.1 Tablet For $99 In U.S.

  1. This matches the Intel reference design used in the Point of View Mobii 800W tablet i’m testing in Europe. 1/16 and incredibly difficult to use for more than 5 days without throwing it out of the window – which would be ironic.

    My tip: Disable Windows update. Disable OneDrive offline cache. Don’t install Chrome. STAY IN RT / Modern / Metro. This is a device that can work well with Store apps. You’ll have 5GB storage free on first boot. Save the recovery partition to a stick and you’ll get 13GB free. 5GB will disappear in the first week if you do Windows updates.

    For $99 it can do some good stuff but unfortunately user won’t know about the limitations and it will all go wrong. Unless they’ve read this!!!

  2. “So it seems this is more of a “Metro/Modern” UI tablet. Which isn’t bad … just not what is expected when one thinks of “Windows.”” < Exactly right.

    It's possible that Windows 10 will help these tablets (technical improvements combined with a new marketing slant) but for the next 6 months it's going to be a train-wreck for customers buying 1/16 Windows tablets thinking that they are WIndows-capable.

  3. Pingback: Best Buy Cracks the $99 Windows 8 Tablet Barrier with an Insignia - The Digital Reader

  4. Pingback: Insignia Flex $100 Windows tablet now available from Best BUy - Liliputing

  5. Mike: How many toilets do you have? You could buy a china tablet for every loo. I have to confess, I need extra toilets to house the china collection myself.

    • Ha. Just the one. But there have been times when I’ve been engrossed in something for hours that was happening live on the Net — such as Occupy or a tech unveiling — when the Call Of The Body had to interrupt.

  6. I am considering buying one between this one and the HP Stream 7. The Insignia 8 has an 8″ display but HP Stream 7 has a 32GB storgate. Both are $99. Can you please compare them which one is the best buy? Thank you!

  7. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving!

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