- Editor's Rating
- Cheap, and it works
- Decent port selection
- Frustrating keyboard
- On-board storage barely enough
Keep your expectations in line with its price, and the iRULU Walknbook is a decent Windows 10 2-in-1 that costs less than most budget brand-name alternatives.
The iRULU Walknbook 3 PC is a compact and entry-level Windows 10 device that hits well below the $200 price point, complete with a feature set comparable to similar budget 2-in-1 devices. The question is, what compromises were made in design and quality to achieve this low price? Find out in our iRULU Walknbook 3 review.
Build & Design
The iRULU Walknbook 3 earns its 2-in-1 moniker by means of a detachable keyboard, rather than the 360-degree hinge design used in other convertibles from the likes of Lenovo and Dell. Processing is via the two-year old quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F CPU, and system memory is 2GB of RAM. Storage memory is provided by 32GB of on-board, which is thankfully upgradeable by up to an additional 128GB via a microSD slot. It comes with Windows 10 Home 32-bit preinstalled.
The tablet portion of this budget 2-in-1 has a plastic case and frame and is fairly stiff in terms of flex and twist however the back cover is very flexible and can be pressed in until you feel the internal components compress under pressure. The display has a decent sized bezel and our tester shipped with a screen protector pre-installed on the tablet.
On the keyboard side of the iRULU Walknbook 3, there is also a small touchpad and a single additional full sized USB 3.0 slot. There are also NUM LOCK and a POWER indicator lights. The POWER indicator light is somewhat confusing as the keyboard portion houses no internal battery so it really just serves to indicate that the tablet is connected correctly to the keyboard. Underneath the keyboard are four non-slip pads, which are firmly in place.
As is the nature of this design, it is top-heavy, but the hinge design does a decent job of preventing it from tipping over until it is pushed back a good 20 degrees beyond its maximum open angle of 145 degrees. There is a central button on the hinge that when pressed, unlocks the tablet from the keyboard.
Display & Speakers
The display is a 10.1-inch IPS panel with a native 1280 x 800 resolution, and it provides multi-touch input using TFT technology. That’s roughly 150 pixels per inch, which is decent and will look just fine to most people. Thanks to the IPS display, this tablet has very good off-angle viewing, and has plenty of brightness to prevent image wash out in well-lit environments.
A pair of stereo speakers are located on the lower right and left edges of the tablet. They are tinny and shrill and really only serve for the run of the mill beeps and dings of regular computer usage, or for the spoken word portion of a video. Any music played through these speakers will be recognizable as such, but frankly these speakers were not built for sustained playback, much less the enjoyment, of music. This is the case for virtually all tablet speakers on the market.
The tablet is equipped with front and back facing cameras mounted in roughly the same location on both sides. Both cameras are listed as being 2MP cameras, but all pictures taken with either camera were coming out as 1280×720 resolution images which is 0.9MP resolution. If the cameras are indeed capable of 2MP, that capability is unreachable via default settings. Images from the cameras were fairly standard with some loss of focus along the edges of the images.
Ports & Accessibility
The iRULU Walknbook 3 provides a healthy number and variety of expansion ports for this market niche. All ports reside along the left-hand edge of the tablet. From top to bottom: headphones, microUSB (Type-B), mini HDMI, full-sized USB, DC power, and then a pinhole for resetting the tablet. There is also a plastic door that conceals the port for the microSD expansion slot.
The headphone jack is for output only and will not support three-connector plugs typically used for headsets with microphones. The full-size USB port does also provide a current for charging external devices, although it is not marked as such to do so. Upon initial use, both USB ports were very snug and once the cables were inserted it took some severe wiggling and pulling to remove them from the ports. Over time these will probably loosen but initially users should be careful when removing cables to avoid unintentional damage to the port or the cable.
The 32GB of storage memory is painfully cramped for a fully functional Windows 10 PC as more than half the usable memory is consumed by Windows and the default programs that ship with the iRULU. Thankfully, iRULU included the microSD card slot. The slot is secured behind a plastic door that is very stiff and difficult to open. But this is a good thing as it should prevent the accidental ejection and loss of any memory with essential data on it.
On the top edge of the tablet all the way towards the left side are the power button and a volume rocker switch. Both are responsive with an audible click of feedback.
Keyboard & Touchpad
All PCs this size suffer with small keyboards. The keyboard here is compact (to say the least) and there are a few design decisions that vary from quirky to annoying. The first and foremost frustration is the shrunken size and placement of the right shift key. Here the oft-used Shift key is sized the same as the rest of the keyboards alphanumeric keys rather than its usual enlarged shape.
More annoying though is the Shift key was pushed over one spot further to the right by the up-arrow key. This means that any attempt at touch-typing often results in a mistaken move of the cursor one line up. Too often, attempts to capitalize letters resulted in typing out a sentence one line upward instead. The only plus to this awkward placement is that it does preserve the typical T-layout of the arrow keys.
The keyboard also has unusually thick keys with deep travel for such a compact design. But again, things are cramped. Those with anything but the thinnest of digits will experience inadvertent key presses.
While the keyboard has its issues, the touchpad behaved as expected with predictable areas, though unmarked, for right and left click. Tap-to-click worked fine throughout the touchpad. There is also a clearly marked ‘off’ button for the touchpad to prevent accidental responses when typing, but this is a manual solution to what most manufacturers are able to correct via a software setting.
The iRULU Walknbook 3 sports a quad-core Intel Atom Processor Z3735F, which runs at 1.33GHz and was introduced in early 2014 and is part of their Bay Trail family of SOC (System On a Chip) products. Using Intel’s Burst Technology, the chip is capable of brief intervals of 1.83GHz. There is 2GB of on-board RAM, which is double the minimum required amount for the 32-bit version of Windows 10 that comes pre-installed.
The Intel Z3735F is a common chip and is fairly ubiquitous amongst entry-level tablets and netbooks, including the Dell Venue 10, the Lenovo IdeaPad 100s, and the Toshiba Encore 2. Amazon and eBay are thick with off-brand tablets with the same chip, and there are also some ultra-compact PC’s and PC-on-a-stick devices that utilize it as well. At a tray price of $18, it is the second least expensive processor that Intel makes that will support Windows 10. The cheapest is $1 less and can only support 1GB of RAM.
Such modest processing power will result in modest response. When using the iRULU Walknbook 3, it is best to exercise a little patience when operating within OS itself and switching between open applications.
Lag is often noticeable, though not ever-present, with a particular presence in the first few minutes of usage from a cold boot. This is most likely because Windows 10 is set to automatically check for updates to its apps and OS right after power up. This boot-up-lag is noticeable on even full powered machines, but on this tablet the updates can introduce very noticeable performance issues. Again, patience is required, and the automatic update settings can be turned off in the Windows Settings.
Once the OS finishes updating and a program is loaded and ready for use, then the computer behaves with acceptable speed and timing.
Thankfully, the Windows 10 Tablet mode is quite possibly the best finger-friendly OS that Microsoft has ever built and so despite the occasional lags in response, the iRULU Walknbook 3 is quite easy to use and will satisfy those with reasonable expectations for this tablet PC.
Benchmark scores for the iRULU came back as comparable to other devices running the same or similar processors, and behind devices with more modern chipsets. During this testing the back panel above the CPU did warm to the touch but did not become uncomfortably hot.
wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance tests:
Wireless is provided via the Intel SOC chipset and is compatible with 802.11 b/g/n and with Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR. Wireless reception sensitivity was on par with older mobile devices, like the iPad 2, in testing. Bluetooth pairing with a set of Bose Soundlink headphones went fine albeit a little slow (but no slower than similar tablets). Audio streamed through the Bluetooth did get a little choppy when the CPU was tasked with heavier duties or when downloading a large data file.
The iRULU Walknbook 3 review unit lasted 3 hours and 38 minutes in the strenuous Powermark balanced benchmark test with Wi-Fi on and the display brightness set to 70. This is a decent result for a budget device, and users can expect a bit more from the iRULU by minimizing the brightness further and utilizing Windows 10’s power-saving features.
Powermark battery life benchmark test results listed in minutes (higher scores indicate longer battery life):
Price & Configuration
At the time of writing this iRULU Walknbook 3 review, the device is available directly from the manufacturer for $159.99 with free shipping, and for slightly more through authorized online sellers New Egg and Amazon. By comparison, the Dell Venue 10 Pro 5000 series has virtually identical specifications, uses the same processor, same screen resolution and same storage capacity, yet its current ‘sale’ price is still $100 more than the iRULU.
Most people shopping for a budget 2-in-1 are going to use it as a secondary computer, whether it be ‘for the kids’ or as a lightweight travel backup or as casual browsing and email tablet. As such, price becomes a major decision factor over brand name for these buyers. Those who are willing to accept an unfamiliar brand name and perhaps a few design quirks in the keyboard can save decent money and get pretty much the same functionality when choosing the iRULU Walknbook 3. Take a step back and it’s pretty amazing that a brand-new and fully-functional PC with the latest OS from Microsoft is available for $160.
- Cheap, and it works
- Decent port selection
- Frustrating keyboard
- On-board storage barely enough