Nextbook Ares 11 review: Unremarkable in every category but price
The Nextbook Ares 11 is an unremarkable Android tablet in every category but price. It starts at $197, exclusively on sale at Wal-Mart, and it comes with its own keyboard.
Running the latest Google operating system, Lollipop 5.0, packing 64GB of internal storage, and offering a multitude of ports doesn’t save the Ares 11 from its lackluster performance and rinky-dink construction.
It works fine for basic tasks like checking email, surfing the Web, and simple mobile games, as long as they’re conducted one at a time. Any activity more than that and performance becomes sluggish, providing a stodgy Android experience. Easily overwhelmed, it slows down if multiple apps are open in the background and lags when switching from one app to another.
Without the keyboard, the Nextbook Ares 11 is outdated and subpar to most $200 tablets. With the keyboard, it’s a better deal that provides extra functionality features for budget-conscious students and families alike. However, despite its few productivity perks and low starting price, its paltry performance and measly construction fall short for anyone looking for an adequate workstation.
The tablet easily and solidly snaps into the keyboard’s dock. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
The Nextbook Ares 11 dons a traditional tablet-hybrid design. Easy and straightforward, the tablet simply docks into the keyboard using the sustaining ports and the pogo connectors. When connected, the power LED light on the keyboard turns on.
The plastic-laden keyboard definitely feels cheap, but it’s not uncomfortable to use. It doesn’t recline very far, up to about 120 degrees, but it’s enough to provide effective viewing angles. When the tablet is attached, laptop-style, the keyboard is slightly elevated, providing a more comfortable angle for typing. The touchpad is also a nice addition, giving you an alternative option to navigating using the temperamental touchscreen — more on that later.
A tablet-hybrid under $200 is hard to find. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
Another convenient feature of the keyboard is the backlit keys. The keys themselves don’t light up; however, the surrounding blue plastic that wraps around them does, illuminating them for easy typing in dark environments. The blue adds a fashionable touch to an otherwise drab design, and it provides good contrast on the keyboard.
All of the ports on the tablet are located on its left edge. From top to bottom you’ll find the microSD card slot, Micro-HDMI port, MicroUSB port, AC adapter port, microphone, and headphone jack. The keyboard has two USB 2.0 ports, one on each side.
Plenty of ports. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
Similarly, all of the buttons are located on top-left corner of the tablet. On the back, you’ll find the power button, volume rocker and home button. To tell them apart by feel, the power and home button are slightly concave and the volume rocker sports a pair of dimples.
Unlike many tablets, the Nextbook Ares 11 does not charge via Micro-USB; it comes with its own power cord. The good news is it charges it relatively fast — if you’re not using it at the same time.
The buttons are located on the back. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
Aside from the included keyboard, the Ares 11 is a pretty simple, no-frills tablet. It runs on the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android Lollipop 5.0, and it’s a mostly pure version, with the exception of some unfortunate bloatware. It also ships with the full suite of Google apps to get you started.
Packing a relatively unadulterated version of Android, the Ares 11 is hampered by bloatware. The apps include Vudu, Flixster, Barnes and Noble Nook for Android, MusicMaker Jam, and, of course, Wal-Mart.
The Ares 11 runs the latest version of Android. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
If you’re new to technology, you’ll benefit from the Nextbook user guide and FAQ. The user guide shows you how to set-up Wi-Fi and Google Play settings, as well as demonstrates how to conduct a factory reset. Unfortunately, you cannot uninstall these two “apps” — they’re more like shortcuts to the Nextbook website.
The Nextbook Ares 11 houses a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F CPU, 1GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a microSD card slot that’s expandable up to another 64GB.
The keyboard provides a lift for a better typing angle, as well as two extra USB ports. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
One impressive characteristic of the Ares 11 tablet-hybrid is its selection of ports. As mentioned earlier, in addition to the usual Micro-USB and microSD options, the tablet houses a Micro-HDMI port, while the keyboard packs two full-size USB 2.0 ports.
Other features include Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.
Considering its low price point and bare-bones specs, the underwhelming performance of the Ares 11 is no surprise. However, it does have a few good things going for it.
It’s a bit on the thick and heavy side. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
The extra connectivity makes the tablet more versatile than other budget tablets. Both Micro-HDMI and full-size USB ports are a rare accommodation on most tablets, let alone those priced to sell, like the Ares 11. This means you can connect your tablet to your HDTV to enjoy streaming content, or plug in your flash drive to load your latest homework assignment or vacation pictures.
I often found myself using the touchscreen, admittedly out of habit, not because it worked better than the touchpad. The touchpad responded quicker and more consistently to gestures than did the touchscreen. Taps often go unrecognized, especially if the tablet’s busy running a program or two. For effective results, it’s better to press the touchscreen with some pressure, rather than merely tapping it.
The matte finish on the back almost feels like suede. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
The functionality of the keyboard wasn’t affected when simply writing an email or in a Google Doc, but the top row of shortcut keys often lagged in response. I particularly found the volume and brightness buttons slow to work if two or more apps are running.
Rocking a 11.6-inch IPS screen with a 1,366×768-pixel resolution, the Ares 11 features a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. I was actually impressed with the sharpness of its screen. The resolution isn’t impressively high, yet HD content looked clear and crisp, and viewing angles were decently wide. Streaming video took its time loading and tended to be pixelated at first, but with a strong Internet connection it quickly smoothed out to a crisp HD experience.
The blue plastic around the keys lights up. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
However, the muted range of colors and low brightness hold it back from being one of its better features. In very bright environments, the screen suffers from a lot of glare — common for most — however the brightness couldn’t be cranked up enough to offset this effect.
Larger games take a very long time to load, and they tend to be plagued by choppy graphics once loaded. Simple mobile games, surfing the Web, reading, and checking emails are smooth, but if you want to do anything more than any of those activities, you’ll find severe lag. In 3DMark testing, it — unsurprisingly — didn’t come close to the best gaming tablet out there, but it also trailed behind comparable models (in size and price).
|3DMark Ice Storm (Unlimited)|
|Nvidia Shield Tablet||28104|
|Acer Iconia Tab 8||16831|
|Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (10-inch)||14958|
|Nextbook Ares 11||13003|
The Nextbook Ares 11 works well if you’re working on one task at a time, with minimal apps open. It can become easily overwhelmed and may start to slow down if a few apps are open in the background. Navigation lags, and widgets can be buggy, especially when required to keep a consistent Internet connection. Switching between apps takes a few seconds.
The front and rear cameras are both 2-megapixels and they have a low-res charm to their washed-out colors and fuzzy focus, but otherwise they’re pretty good at adjusting exposure in bright environments.
Not the best, but definitely not the worst tablet camera. Xiomara Blanco/CNET
Anecdotally, the tablet lasted about a day and a half with moderate-to-casual use. After testing it in the CNET Labs, the Ares 11 averaged 9 hours of playback — a pretty standard and solid amount of time for a large tablet.
The performance of the Nextbook Ares 11 isn’t even close to a laptop alternative, and it definitely won’t replace your desktop PC. If you’re interested in a laptop-like experience for a bargain-basement price, it’s also worth checking out cheap Chromebooks. The Hisense Chromebook costs below $200 and offers a basic workstation experience, except the keyboard isn’t detachable, and it has less internal storage.
Like a cheap flip-phone, the Nextbook Ares 11 may suit the needs of a frugal shopper in search of something to use casually and infrequently. Since it comes with a keyboard and floats below the $200 price range, there’s no other comparable tablet to the Nextbook Ares 11. Paired with the keyboard, it’s one of the cheapest deals you can get for a hybrid, but as a standalone tablet, it’s disappointing.
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As Seen In…
ONYX BOOX Livingstone e-book review :: ONYX BOOX e-books
- Source: ixbt.com
- Author: Dmitry Switch, 06/27/2022
- Published with permission of the author
ONYX BOOX Livingstone is equipped with the latest generation E Ink Carta Plus screen. The display has a MOON Light 2 backlight system with adjustable color temperature, and it also has increased contrast and resolution, and the SNOW Field function is supported. The performance of ONYX BOOX Livingstone is provided by a 4-core processor and 1 GB of RAM. This model can also be used as a tablet for surfing the Internet, because Android is installed on board, and Internet access is carried out using the built-in WiFi. Thanks to the built-in G-sensor, the book will automatically change orientation. Management is carried out using a touch screen, as well as physical buttons, two of which are installed in a designer case made using SIDE Control technology.
- Diagonal book screen 6.0″
- Features Screen backlight • Touch screen • Wi-Fi module • Bluetooth • Case included
- Screen Type E Ink Carta Plus
- Operating system Android
- The amount of random access memory (RAM) 1GB
- Built-in memory 8 GB
- Screen resolution 1072 × 1448
- Headphone jack No
- MicroSD card slot
- Supported file formats TXT, HTML, RTF, FB2, FB2.zip, FB3, MOBI, CHM, PDB, DOC, DOCX, PRC, EPUB, CBR, CBZ, PDF, DjVu, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, WAV, MP3.
- Dimensions 156 × 112.5 × 8.8 mm
- Weight 164 g
Packaging and contents
The device is supplied in a book-shaped cardboard box. On the front side of the package there is an image of the company logo, as well as the model name. On the back of the box you will find all the characteristics of the e-book, as well as information about the supplier.
Opening the box, we immediately get access to the device. The rest of the equipment is under the book. Includes:
- Charging and file transfer cable
- Warranty card
The manual is written in Russian and contains information on how to operate the book and its characteristics. For clarity, the instructions have images of the items described.
For file transfer and charging, a USB\Type-C cable is included, its length is about a meter, which allows you to use the book even if it is charging at the same time.
The book has a rather stylish leather case with SIDE Control technology. The function of this cover is not only to protect the device from external influences. The cover has two buttons that are responsible for turning pages, in addition, when the cover is closed, the book will automatically go into standby mode.
The connection of the device with the case is carried out using spring-loaded contacts, which contributes to a longer service life.
The cover is not only functional, but also beautiful, everything is made of quality materials and perfectly stitched.
Dimensions of the book without cover are 115mm*160mm. The case is made with a soft touch coating, which perfectly holds the book in your hand and does not leave fingerprints. Screen size 90mm*120mm. The E Ink Carta Plus display, unlike other screens of this class, has a lighter substrate, as well as greater contrast and resolution. The method of “electronic ink” is precisely this principle of image formation used in this model, combined with the absence of flicker, makes reading comfortable for the eyes. The screen is equipped with a sensor that allows you to control the device without using physical buttons.
In addition to the touch control of the book, it is possible to use the usual buttons. So, to turn the pages of a book or move through the menu items, you can use the buttons installed on the cover on the right, there are two of them. The buttons are made of plastic, the button travel is quite small with a quiet click.
There is a back button on the bottom of the tablet that will take you to the previous menu item.
At the top of the book is a button to turn on / off the device. She also sends the book to standby mode and takes it out of it if you use the device without a case.
On the back of the book you will find information about the manufacturer and the power supply of the device. To charge the battery, it is recommended to use devices with characteristics of 5V, 1A. The battery capacity is 3000mAh. On the side, you will find contacts for connecting the device and the case.
At the bottom of the book is a memory card port, supports cards up to 32 GB, and a Type-C port for battery charging and file transfer.
The ONYX BOOX Livingstone e-book is equipped with Android 4.4 OS, which makes this device not just a book, but practically a tablet, but first things first. Thanks to the installed OS, you can view files of various text and graphic formats on the device, change the font style and size, adjust the position and scale of pages, and leave bookmarks. An English-Russian dictionary is already installed in the OS; to translate a word, you just need to select it in the text. Thanks to the installed BT and WiFi modules, books do not have to be transferred via cable, now it is also possible wirelessly. Convenient search and filters will allow you to easily find the desired file in the library. The main screen menu is represented by four items that you can see below:
- File Manager
The “library” page will display all the books that you have started reading, you can go to the next book by swiping across the screen. On the same page, you can set up filters and set the display mode you need in one or two columns. To start or continue reading, you just need to click on the cover image.
The device already has several books, you can find them by clicking on the “scan” item, the search found 14 pre-installed books. You can also find them by going to the next menu item “file manager”, where you will have access to the file system and the library of books placed in a separate folder.
In this menu item you can work as with the books themselves, you can select an application to open the file, rename, delete, copy or cut the file.
So it is possible to work with the folder itself. There is a folder search, it is possible to create a new folder, mark several files for further actions, set up a filter or change the view from a list to icons.
The file folder looks like a normal Android OS file system folder.
The upper status bar is also functional and has a set of home and back buttons, a battery charge indicator, current time, a backlight control button, an A2 mode activation button, a button for opening all active files.
The next menu item is “applications”.
There are not many installed applications, and as you may have noticed, there is no Google Play. Therefore, to install the application you need, you will have to transfer the file to the device using other devices via a memory card or download it from other sites. In order to use the Internet, you need to connect to WiFi, the device has a module, and the browser is already installed, so there will be no problems with this.
In terms of settings, everything is simple and clear, especially for Android OS users. The settings are minimal and nothing much can be changed there. Updates have been checked and no new versions have been found.
Thanks to MOON Light 2 technology, the device can be used both in poorly lit places and in complete darkness without harm to the eyes, as it creates a soft screen glow that is optimal for dark rooms. The backlight can be adjusted by color temperature, and Flicker-Free technology completely eliminates flicker.
ONYX BOOX Livingstone has incorporated all the necessary functionality and even more, including the ability to surf the Internet. New technologies designed to take care of the condition of your eyes, miniature size, functional case, as well as Android OS on board this model are clearly worth paying attention to this model. You can find out the price and purchase by clicking on the link.
Readers and tablets inspire to read books more often
The number of e-book fans traditionally increases after the holidays, when many people receive readers and tablets as gifts, and foreign websites about technology actively tell what to do with brand new devices.
Surprising fact – having bought a reader or a tablet, users begin to read more.
According to Pew Internet, 21% of Americans read e-books, and the number of readers is growing year by year. A large selection of books encourages reading more than before, and books to buy instead of borrowing. 29% of Americans have a device that can read e-books.
True, it is still too early to talk about a complete transition to screens: 88% of those who read e-books over the past year also read printed books. Compared to other readers, they actually read more. They are also more likely to take out a bank card and go to an online store than to borrow books from friends, and start searching for a new book on the Internet.
On average, 24 books per year are read from electronic screens, compared to 15 books for traditional readers.
Readers for adults
One of the first high-quality children’s applications for the iPad, for example, in Russia were interactive books, but electronic publishers bet on little readers last. In America, only 9% of parents believe that readers are the best way for children to read, 81% prefer traditional books. Although if by children we mean teenagers too, then their interest in readers is growing. For kids, publishers actively publish colorful expensive paper books, put plush toys, microphones, puzzles, and pianos into them. And the big question is what the parent buys in this case – a book – a source of knowledge, or another toy, often not of the best quality.
Users read slower on screens
An interesting paradox is that people with reading devices in their pockets, as we said, read more than those who have a traditional bookcase at home, but reading on a tablet is 6.2% slower than on paper, and 10.7% slower on Kindle readers than on paper. In bed, 45% of people read electronic devices, 73% of people take e-readers on trips (against 19% with paper books in their suitcases).
Four reasons people don’t buy e-readers: don’t need or want one, can’t afford, have enough other devices, prefer printed books.
Foreign media write articles on the topic “Why paper books will never die”, recalling the obvious advantages of hardcovers – the smell of the book, understanding when it will end, the subjective feeling that you are reading, and not just using the device. Fans of paper also like to find forgotten tickets and quotes in the margins in volumes bought long ago.
The advantages of readers are that you can store many books there at once, which means you don’t have to drag half a suitcase of books on vacation, don’t fold boxes when moving from place to place, etc. This type of reading is suitable, oddly enough, also for those who are ashamed to show people exactly what they are reading.
By the way, entering the world of electronic books does not end with the purchase of a Kindle or similar. For readers, customized covers are released, for example, with a picture that the owner chooses, with his name and text on the inside, cases stylized as a paper tome. There are cases for readers that you can safely take to the beach, they will protect the device from water and dirt.
From screen to paper
American publishers make more money selling e-books than paper books. In the first quarter of last year, they brought in $282.3 million, showing an increase of 28.4% compared to the same period a year earlier.
An interesting example is the bestseller 50 Shades of Grey, which has already sold 65 million copies worldwide. It was first released in Australia electronically and printed in paperback on demand (about 250,000 copies sold). Then Random House bought the rights, re-released the electronic version, made the series in paperback, and almost a year later the book was published in hardcover. Readers have asked for this. The story when a person, after reading something on the screen, goes and buys a book with a good cover, is now not at all uncommon.
This scenario is supported by the fact that we don’t actually buy e-books, but only lend them, pay for the opportunity to read them. An illustration of this is the case when an Amazon user from Norway recently lost access to all purchased books. No wonder people want to have a book on the shelf if they really like it.
Three books a year
Readers are not as popular in Russia as in other countries. Kindle and Nook are not officially sold. According to the FOM for August 2012, the most popular reading frequency is up to three books per year: when asked how many books they read in the last 12 months (including audiobooks and e-books), 44% answered – none, 6% – one book , 14% read 2–3 books, 10% read 6–10 books, 5% read 11–20, 9% – more than 20 books.
For pleasure, women (70%) and young people aged 18-29 (71%) read more often, in order to keep abreast of current events, men (70%) and women (74%) read almost equally often, and also people aged 50–64 years (77%), women (47%) and young people 18–29 years old (53%) read more often to study a topic in their personal interests, for the purpose of studying or for work almost men (31%) and women (35%) read equally often, as well as young people aged 18–29 (48%).
Only 5% of the respondents have readers, 4% have a tablet, while 36% are sure that they do not need a reader, 15% might have bought it, but there is no money for it, 4% are fans of ordinary books, 2 % do not know what they are talking about at all, only 1% planned to buy a reading room in the next six months.
In the assortment of Ozon.ru, for example, there are 21,000 digital books, 11,000 audio books, and 607,000 printed books. In total, books account for 32% of sales in this store (34% – electronics, 34% – other product categories). In 8 months of 2012, Ozon sold 5 million printed books (22,000 books are sold per day). Moreover, women are more likely to buy books online (58%) than men (42%). And in Russia, unlike the West and the USA, a digital book is much cheaper than a printed one.
E-books are sold individually and in bundles as part of a subscription, such as monthly or yearly. On many sites, before buying, you can read several chapters for free. And the British startup Valobox went even further: it allows you to buy books in parts (chapters or pages), and read them on the web (on a computer, smartphone, tablet). Books are stored in the cloud, no special applications need to be installed. First, you can use the search to find the desired chapter, and then buy it. You can give links to books in social networks, there is a standard affiliate program here, when the author of the link receives 25% of the purchase of the one who clicked on it.