It has been a long time coming, but it is finally here. We are talking about some decent competition to Microsoft's Surface Pro 4. To be clear, as you will see below, the STOM Spectrum i100 from Malaysian IT retailer, Thunder Match Technology is not a direct competitor to Microsoft's 2-in-1 device. It is much cheaper and has a very different specification.
At first glance, the STOM Spectrum i100 does not look a lot like a traditional tablet. With a unibody chasis built out of aluminium, rounded edges, a protruding hinge and a thick keyboard, it is more reminiscent of a Chromebook or a small form factor laptop. Sleek and light, it has a lot of similarities with some smartphone designs.
Like the Surface Pro, the keyboard base is fully detachable. It also accommodates a full-size USB port on its right side. The main tablet unit includes a micro-USB port, a micro-HDMI port, analogue audio in/out and a set of speakers on either side. The power and volume buttons are on the top right side of the tablet. The Spectrum i100 also includes a 2 megapixel front camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera.
By laptop standards, the magnetic keyboard is rather diminutive, but it is comparable to other tablet keyboards. Compared to the Surface Pro 4 keyboard, the keys are noticeably smaller as well as the touch pad.
You can see both keyboards placed side by side below.
There are no visible mouse keys embedded in the touch pad or any 'pressable' surfaces which will function as mouse buttons. Double tapping anywhere on the touch pad will function as the equivalent of double clicking using the mouse.
The STOM Spectrum i100 has a 10.6-inch IPS display with a top resolution of 1920x1080. Like the Surface Pro, the screen is glossy. So although it might appear slightly brighter than screens with matte finishes, it is also not ideal to use in bright sunlight.
Also, rather surprisingly for a small screen, the device has a rather thick bezel about an inch thick. Unlike Microsoft's device, there is no attempt to merge the unlit black screen with a dark bezel. On the flip side, due to the thick bezel, the Spectrum i100 is easy to hold without smudging the screen.
It is not just the size and screen resolution which is less than the Surface Pro 4. The Spectrum i100's screen is also slightly less brighter. If battery life is not a concern, then it is best to leave the screen at its maximum brightness setting.
Although the STOM Spectrum i100 is a full-fledged Windows 10 tablet, Thunder Match has opted for Intel's Atom Z3735F integrated CPU. Built using the older generation 22nm process and based on the Bay Trail low power architecture, it is a 1.8GHz CPU which is primarily targeted at the smartphone market.
The device also has 2GB of DDR3 RAM and 64GB of storage. The RAM is a bit of a concern as it is the minimum required by Microsoft after the next Windows 10 update due in the near future. But Thunder Match has included a sizeable 8900mAh battery. This coupled with the low power CPU should ensure that you can get a decent day's work out of the tablet.
As expected, the STOM Spectrum i100 is not brimming with barn storming performance. Of all our benchmark suites, only 3DMark managed to complete its run. And even then the frame rate was in the low single digits. This is hardly surprising as the Spectrum i100 has a mobile-focussed CPU and a paltry 2GB of RAM.
Playing any kind of regular high-end PC games is out of the question. The best we managed was some Windows ports of mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga and Asphalt 8.
But regular office work or Full HD video playback on the Spectrum i100 is not an issue. Although a little bit cramped for long bouts of typing. the keys do have a nice feel about them. In its laptop mode, the device also lasted over 9 hours on a single battery charge.
The STOM Spectrum i100 reminds us a lot about Ikea - cheap and useful. In terms of performance, the Thunder Match 2-in-1 is certainly not at the top of the class. But it is good enough to be useful. So if you are after a cheap Windows 10 tablet for work or leisure, this little device should be considered instead of Microsoft's much more expensive beast.
Rating: 3 out of 5
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