Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II Review: Productivity Workhorse?

... or just a pretender to the throne?

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Tecno’s latest Android tablet is a different kind. Unlike its other siblings in the DroiPad series, it is being pitched as a 2-in-1 hybrid device that you can take with you to meetings, product pitches and presentations or on a trip when you will need to still get some work done on the go without having to bring with you a bulky laptop.

Right out of the box, the DroiPad 10 Pro II shows that it means business in the way its packaging is presented as we observed in our initial run-in with the device. The included Bluetooth keyboard sets the tone for the device’s focus.

As is often the case with similar setups, setting up the Bluetooth keyboard for use with the tablet for the first time can be quite some pain. There are multiple steps involved. However, once everything is done, it comes in handy for tasks like text entry even though working on a Word document on the tiny keyboard can be challenging at first and it takes some getting used to.

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To get you started off, the DroiPad 10 Pro II comes with several useful applications pre-installed that prepare it for the tasks its makers envisioned it would do like word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Microsoft’s mobile office apps for those respective tasks are pre-loaded as is Google Drive which, though included by virtue of the DroiPad running on Android, comes in handy for purposes of creating Google Docs (the app must be separately installed).

The keyboard is not your traditional run-of-the-mill portable keyboard. Several keys have been customized to do specialized tasks in line with the device’s focus. For instance, one can call up the dialer application by simply pressing the call key on the keyboard (because it’s socially acceptable to hold up a 10-inch slate to your ear and make a call), fire up a quick text message by pressing the message key on what would normally be the Function keys bar on normal keyboards.

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The keyboard’s trackpad, though responsive, could be better as at times it’s just better going right ahead to use the device’s touch input instead.

Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II Specifications

Size244 x 172.5 x 8.5 mm
Display10.1-inch HD (1280 x 800 pixels) IPS
ProcessorQuad-core Mediatek MT8735W
Memory2GB RAM; 32GB internal storage (expandable via microSD)
CameraBack: 5MP;
Front: 2MP
Operating SystemRemix OS 2.0 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop
Battery7,000mAh
Network3G, 4G LTE
ConnectivitymicroUSB, USB OTG, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

There’s one thing we have not shed light on and it’s the elephant in the room: Remix OS.

As we have already noted, the Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II is an Android 2-in-1 device. In fact, it runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. However, in order to be able to better take up its responsibilities as a true hybrid device, there is need for a user interface that also allows for such use cases. Android is mostly a mobile-first operating system. Its application on large tablets has always been cumbersome as apps tend to be blown up to fill the extra screen real estate instead of being properly tuned to take advantage of the tablets’ unique setups. That has been the case for a while now and while the situation is changing, there is still need for something that naturally handles things better.

Enter Remix OS.

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Remix OS is simply Android customized to suit the needs of an Android desktop user. The Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II runs on Remix OS 2.0. It brings to the device windowed interfaces which mimick the traditional desktop windows experience while still staying true to Android’s mobile roots. All apps can be minimized, expanded and collapsed, something that you can’t achieve on plain Android software.

Some applications that Tecno has been bundling on all its devices don’t miss out on the chance to be on the DroiPad 10 Pro II. There is, for instance, the Boom Player app in its mostly vanilla instance (i.e. without the music streaming that we find on Tecno’s smartphones as part of the music app).

Other little annoyances like the Palm Chat app live on as well. The good thing? You can uninstall them in one tap if they get in the way of your experience. After all, you have 32GB of on-board storage to yourself and if you will be constantly banging copy as most members of the Techweez team are bound to, then you will quickly find yourself in need of every kilobyte you can set your eyes on. In such situations, the microSD card slot on the side (or bottom depending on if the tablet is docked or being held in portrait) of the tablet just next to the micro-USB port will come in handy.

Since you’re interacting with the display either by staring at it while you bang that keyboard or using it as you would a normal tablet, which the DroiPad 10 Pro II is when you detach the Bluetooth keyboard, you’ll be glad to know that the 10.1-inch HD display holds up its end of the bargain most of the time. However, there are some issues with the device’s overall touch. At times a single tap doesn’t result in the anticipated outcome, something we believe can be fixed with a simple software update.

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The Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II has a pair of camera sensors. One on the front and another at the back. Both might be just fine for the occasional video call, now that WhatsApp supports video calls, and not much else. Honestly, just use your phone(s) to take photos. The cameras on the tablet will disappoint but cameras on a 10.1-inch device are mostly included for convenience than for facilitating your transition into an amateur photographer so…

The device’s battery lasts several days. In our case, 3 to 4 days were standard when using cellular data since our review unit had issues connecting to Wi-Fi and we couldn’t figure out how to fix that.

Talking about networks, the DroiPad 10 Pro II has support for 4G LTE and 3G networks which makes it possible to keep working even when one is away from home or office Wi-Fi.

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The Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II blends a nice metallic design with a chunky keyboard adding to several options already available in the market for those looking for a hybrid device for handling light office work as they sip coffee in town or simply using it as we’re all bound to use tablets for eventually, entertainment.

The software does try hard to ease the pain of using Android for just more than the lite productivity on the go we are accustomed. However it still doesn’t get it 100% just as most Android-based devices in that regard are bound to. This makes it a tough sell at its nearly Kshs 30,000 price tag, the price point of several entry-level Windows PCs in the Kenyan market. But it does make for a nice gift, though, now that the holiday season is fast approaching. And there is where another problem arises. How are you supposed to proudly announce to someone what you’ve just got them for Christmas? ‘Tecno DroiPad 10 Pro II’ is quite a mouthful. Surely the name could be made better next time if not great again.

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