24 November 2016

REVIEW: Venturer BravoWin S

Onto a winner.

Earlier in the year we reviewed the Venturer EliteWin; a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid with impressive specs for a decent price. Although it was good, and worked very well, the actual device wasn't... erm... very pretty. Well now Venturer have released updated versions of their machines, with better things going on both inside and out. We review the Venturer BravoWin S.

We were sent the BravoWin S, the smaller of the two updated models, which boasts a screen size of 10.1 inches, as opposed to the 11.6 inch screen of the EliteWin S. The whole unit is plastic-fantasic, but in a far more tactile feeling kind than the previous model. And, just like before, the screen detaches from the keyboard section to act as a stand-alone Windows 10 mobile tablet. And that it does very well.

Because this is essentially a tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard, all the bulk of the device is in the screen – and to be fair, it's quite a bit of bulk. The tablet has a chunky feel, not helped by a weird ridge that runs around the outside, through all the input ports and buttons along the edge. All that weight means that when it is plugged into the keyboard (something that is aided by magnets making it super easy) it can be unbalanced to fall backwards onto your desk. This doesn't happen when you're actively typing on the keyboard (which also very pleasant and solid feeling), but if you knock it, it will fall.

While on the subject of the keyboard, the whole thing feels nicely rugged and doesn't wobble or bend under the pressure of typing, as some add-on peripherals like this tend to. The track pad doesn't feature physical buttons, relaying purely on touch, but it works well and is nicely responsive. As we said, typing is a pleasure, but remember this keyboard is the same size as a ten inch diagonal screen, so it's compact and precise. If you're used to full-sized keyboards, it might take a while to get used to.

Right, what's going on inside the Venturer BravoWin S? Well, beyond that nice 1280 x 800 display is 2GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage. Considering this this costs less than £200, those are decent specs. Windows 10 runs very well, and when connected to the keyboard section feels very much just like a bigger and higher-powered laptop. In tablet mode Windows again works well, but we're not massive fans of Windows as a mobile platform in general, preferring Android. Still, tablet mode is activated automatically to bring up the finger-friendly buttons and icons, and every thing runs smoothly.

Uniquely, the tablet section can be reattached to the keyboard backwards, allowing you prop up the screen like an A board. This makes watching media far easier and, as Windows 10 is still in tablet mode, it is a simple case of jabbing away with you finger. No matter what the configuration of the keyboard, you'll still have clear access to the device's ports: headphone jack, Micro USB, full-sized USB, HDMI, DC 5V power port, and a Micro SD card port on the other side. In terms of physical buttons, you get power/wake, a volume rocker, and the the largely pointless Windows button. There are no ports or buttons on the keyboard, except, y'know, all the keys and that. You get a Q, a W, an E, a R, a T... only kidding.

We spent a few days walking around with the Venturer BravoWin S, using it to write a couple of reviews and generally keep up to date on social media. If you're moving from a full-sized laptop to this, you'll sing and dance around due to the massively reduced weight. Yes, you need to get used to the smaller keyboard (if you're not already), but for mobile computing this thing really does excel. We won't be using the built-in cameras for photography (they're not great, as tablet cams never are), nor will we be editing any HD videos on it. But as a walk-around, word-processor (month's free trail of Office 360 included), and as a Twitter and Facebook updater – as well a great media station for watching stuff – it's superb.


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