Tag Archives: PC

Windows 10 Now a Mandatory Update – Here’s How You Can Stop It From Installing

Windows 10 Now a Mandatory Update - Here's How You Can Stop It From Installing

If you’re running an older version of Windows, you might suddenly find Microsoft’s Windows 10 upgrade already downloaded on your machine.

You never requested it, so why are you getting it?

The automatic download is part of Microsoft’s aggressive push to get Windows 10 on as many devices as possible. Since last July, Microsoft has distributed the free upgrade on request. But starting this week, it’s also pushing it out to those who haven’t requested it – and who might not want it.

(Also see: Microsoft Labels Windows 10 as a Recommended Update)

Microsoft isn’t actually installing Windows 10 automatically, but installation is just a click or two away. If you’re not careful, you might suddenly find the new system on your old machine.

Is this good for you?

Why you should install Windows 10
Windows 10 has many improvements over its predecessors – especially Windows 8. It’s much easier to use than Windows 8, and it offers more modern controls – akin to mobile devices – than Windows 7. (There is no Windows 9.) Windows 10 also paves the way for multiple devices to work together. You might be able to buy an app once to run on your PC, phone and Xbox game machine, for instance. The app’s layout would automatically reconfigure to the given screen size.

(Also see: Eight Reasons Why You Should Upgrade to Windows 10)

New apps are being designed for Windows 10, so if you have an older system, you might find yourself shut out.

Why Microsoft wants you to install Windows 10
Microsoft is reducing reliance on software sales in favour of services such as the Bing search engine, OneDrive storage and Skype for communications. Windows 10 was designed to steer users to those services. Microsoft makes money from ads and premium features that cost money – such as additional OneDrive storage.

Microsoft can also encourage app makers to write more software for Windows 10 if a lot of people are using it. It’s similar to how Apple pushes its users to upgrade to the latest iPhone and Mac systems. App developers know they can enable the latest features without worrying about abandoning too many users of older devices.

(Also see: Microsoft Makes It Easier to Upgrade to Windows 10)

Reasons not to install Windows 10
System upgrades aren’t always smooth, especially on older machines with slower processors, less memory and less storage space available. Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 app will verify that you meet minimum system requirements – but minimum doesn’t mean speedy.

Older machines also might have software that won’t work on Windows 10, so you’d have to spend money upgrading those programs, if upgrades are available at all. Printers, scanners and other accessories also might need new controlling software, called drivers. If a driver update isn’t available, you might find yourself with a dead accessory.

And once you upgrade to Windows 10, you might be ceding control over future upgrades to Microsoft. The company is offering incremental updates to Windows 10 on a regular basis, and it won’t always give you a choice on whether to accept.

(Also see: Features You’ll Lose When Upgrading to Windows 10)

How to stop Windows 10 update
Microsoft is treating Windows 10 as a type of security update it regularly pushes to users. Microsoft is now reclassifying Windows 10 as “recommended” rather than “optional.” In doing so, those who have set their machine to automatically get important updates will get Windows 10, too. You can avoid this by turning off automatic updates in the settings under Windows Update. That’s not recommended, though, because you might miss important security fixes.

(Also see: Windows 10 Upgrade Could Install ‘Automatically’ if You Aren’t Careful)

If you work for a large company, your system administrators are likely monitoring these updates, so Windows 10 won’t automatically download without their OK. Plus, Microsoft isn’t offering Windows 10 for free to larger companies.

Microsoft will support Windows 7 until 2020 and Windows 8 until 2023, after which time it will stop fixing any security problems. By then, it might be time for a new computer anyway.

(Also see: Windows 10 Review: New, Yet Familiar)

If you’re ready to install Windows 10
To install Windows 10, all you need to do is accept it when prompted. Getting Windows 10 shouldn’t affect your photos and other documents, though there’s always a risk of a meltdown with any major upgrade. Back up your files first. You can use an online storage service such as OneDrive or DropBox to keep a backup online.

How to roll back from Windows 10
Microsoft keeps a backup of your system for a month. In the settings, go to “Update & security” and then “Recovery.” You’ll find the option to return to Windows 7 or 8. Your files should be OK, but you’ll lose any apps installed after upgrading to Windows 10. Remember, you have only 31 days to change your mind.

(Also see: How to Downgrade From Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1)

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Original Article

Mortal Kombat X Review: Microtransactions Ruin an Otherwise Flawless Victory

Mortal Kombat X Review: Microtransactions Ruin an Otherwise Flawless Victory

Mortal Kombat is a series that needs no introduction. It’s been around since the early 90s as a competitor to the incredibly popular Street Fighter games, except gorier and much more bizarre. Quirkily designed characters, over the top storytelling, and gruesome finishing moves known as fatalities – all of the franchise’s trademark pillars – make a return in Mortal Kombat X. It’s the tenth instalment of the series and it’s on PlayStation 4 (PS4), PC, and Xbox One.

The game is running on a modified version of the Unreal Engine 3 – the same technology that powered many last-generation console and PC games – but despite the old engine, Mortal Kombat X looks fantastic. Developer NetherRealm Studios appears to have eked out every last bit possible from Unreal Engine 3 to realise its vision of a strange world teeming with possibilities. From the many withering corpses to small details like spikes of ice, Mortal Kombat X is gorgeous game, especially in motion.

Speaking of motion, the pace of combat is a little more deliberate than earlier games in the series. It feels outright slow if you’ve been playing speedy fighting games like Marvel Vs. Capcom or BlazBlue. But it never ends up being so sedate that it feels like a PowerPoint presentation, instead of relying on the rapid reflexes needed from other games, Mortal Kombat X comes with a bit of a learning curve.

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On the other hand, if you played 2011’s Mortal Kombat, or Injustice: Gods Among Us, you’ll feel right at home. No surprise since they’re both developed by NetherRealm Studios. Novices shouldn’t have much of a problem thanks to exhaustive practise modes that go a long way in turning you into a seasoned warrior. Soon you’ll get into the comfortable groove of launching ice balls as Sub-Zero or summoning lightening as Raiden. Making a comeback are X-Rays, bone-crushing supermoves that decimate your opponent.

As you play, the more damage you take or special moves you make increases what the game calls a super meter. When it’s full you can tap the triggers on your controller to unleash a devastating array of attacks that has game entering slow motion and showing which parts of your foe’s anatomy is getting maimed, pulled out, or crushed.

Of course, you need to meet certain pre-requisites before dishing these uber powerful attacks such as how far you are from your target. And the other player can cancel out your X-ray move, with the right timing, making it not as overpowering as it may seem.

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Perhaps the biggest change this time around is that each character has three variants you choose from, each with subtle differences. Take Sub-Zero for example – choose his Cryomancer variant, and he can summon weapons in battle. Choosing the Grandmaster variant allows him to create a clone of ice while selecting the Unbreakable variant gives him more defensive moves such as creating a barrier of frost.

Old timers might find it slightly infuriating. Reason being certain moves you’d combine together from previous games are now tied to a different version of the character you’re using, forcing you to come up with new attack strategies. It’s an intriguing addition to the proceedings that levels the playing field between players regardless of skill. At its core, Mortal Kombat X is perhaps one of the more balanced entries in the series, there’s no particularly bad character to choose, and no single one is unfairly overpowered, as they were in previous games from NetherRealm Studios such as 2011’s Mortal Kombat and Injustice: Gods Among Us.

On the topic of skill, the game’s single-player mode lets you skip fights if you so desire. Much like its predecessor, Mortal Kombat X takes you through a slick story that has you in the role of different characters. This time around it spans across multiple generations, putting you in the shoes of series staples like Johnny Cage and, later, newer characters like, his daughter Cassie.

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It’s a tale replete with quick time events and cut-scenes that do a great job of helping you make sense of the weird, unusual world of Mortal Kombat. Don’t expect it to last too long. We clocked in about five hours to complete it on normal difficulty.

Once you’re done with Mortal Kombat X’s story, there’s a host of modes to partake in, both online and offline. The Krypt lets you explore gloomy environs in first person, unlocking a ton of artwork and moves for the price of in-game currency earned from each match you play. Living Towers let you partake in combat with certain modifiers such as acid rain falling from the sky in each level.

Depending on your tower of choice (quick, daily or premier) these have different difficulty levels and rewards, allowing you to keep playing Mortal Kombat X in a sort of endless mode if you’re the sort who is not interested in competitive online play. Keep in mind, you’ll need to be online to access this mode.

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While we’re on the topic of competitive play, versus mode is back with both online and offline options. While the latter is rather straightforward, letting you duke it out with a friend in the same room as long as you have a second controller, things get a little more complicated online.

Unlike Halo: The Master Chief Collection that had us waiting forever to find a match, connecting an opponent in Mortal Kombat X is quick. The match itself, is a bit of a concern. We noticed a slight delay between button presses and the resulting action on screen. Though matches did not have any perceptible, visible lag or frame rate issues, this pause between inputting a combo and seeing it on screen made for a jarring experience, especially when compared to how flawlessly it works offline.

This is something we faced only on the PS4 across a variety of speeds ranging from 1Mbps to 50Mbps and a host of regions including India, Europe, and the US. Firing up an online match on the Xbox One was a different experience. We were treated to matches that were as good as what they should be offline, making the choice between Xbox One and PS4 for online play, in our eyes, an easy decision.

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What of the PC version of Mortal Kombat X? We would strongly suggest against it for a variety of reasons. Given the Internet constraints faced in this country, the physical edition on PC comes with a mere 300MB of data, forcing you to download the rest of the game that’s around 20GB. Furthermore, this exhaustive post on Reddit breaks down what is still missing from the PC version despite several patches.

In terms of graphics, you’d be hard-pressed to find the difference between the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. In the end, your choice comes down to your controller preference and if you’re playing online or not.

Regardless of your platform of choice, you’ll be treated to a ridiculous purchase option of Goro, a character from the series within the character select menu. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, you can buy Krypt items and purchase a season pass too. Find it too hard to pull off fatalities – signature finishing moves in a match? You can buy your way to making those a cinch as well.

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(Also see: Of Midi-Chlorians and Fatalities: What Star Wars and Mortal Kombat Have in Common)

Oh and if you’ve downloaded the mobile game on iOS or Android, you’re treated to Rs. 20,000 worth of in-app purchases, some of which let you obtain rewards within the console and PC versions as well. While its no secret that AAA game development is expensive, its tragic to see publisher Warner Bros to resort to such tactics that do shake off the feeling of being nickel-and-dimed.

All in all though, Mortal Kombat X is a solid entry in the series. Some decisions relating to microtransactions and network code for online play mar the experience, but there’s very little else that comes in the way of this being one of the better fighting games available for fans and newbies alike.

We played review copies of Mortal Kombat X on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s available on both platform at an identical Rs. 3,499 and Rs. 999 for PC.

Pros

  • Looks good
  • Balanced combat
  • Gory presentation
  • Fun story mode

Cons

  • Microtransactions are a bit much
  • Poor netcode on the PS4 version

Rating (out of 10): 8

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Original NDTV Gadgets

Resident Evil 0 HD Review

After the success of last year’s Resident Evil HD Remaster comes Resident Evil 0 HD. It’s a prequel to the game in a series, that for the longest time, codified the horror genre as we know it. And while it might not have the same sense of uneasiness and tension that typified the first game, it’s well worth playing all the same.

Resident Evil 0 HD starts off much like a slasher flick. Except a summer vacation home is replaced with a train, a bunch of naive teens is substituted with special operatives, and a serial killer with a slew of zombies. It’s has a corny, almost satirical feel to the proceedings not too dissimilar to B-grade horror flicks. The overall tone harkens back to a time when the horror genre didn’t take it too seriously.

The low rent vibe extends to the level design as well. It’s rare to find yourself squared up against legions of the newly contaminated. Instead, interactions are limited to just a few enemies on screen at best. With ammo being scarce as it is and limitations on the number of weapons you can carry, the game feels pared down compared to Resident Evil 4 or its spiritual successor, The Evil Within. Horror junkies would be right at home with the approach while first-timers get to experience a now extinct portrayal of horror where less is indeed more.

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It doesn’t stop here. There’s a return to conventions the modern gamer might find preposterous, such as the game moving into first-person view when you open a door or go up a flight of stairs and a save system that requires you to find typewriters and ribbons to record your progress. In an age where games pride themselves on the ability to let you jump in and out of them at a moment’s notice, the adherence to old school design is charming and adds to an already atmospheric game.

Although less is more, the one area where Resident Evil 0 HD is generous in is the number of characters at your disposal. You control Rebecca Chambers a field medic and special operative and Billy Coen, an ex-marine and convict on the run. Both characters have unique strengths and weaknesses. Rebecca can combine items such as herbs to make potent additions to your arsenal but she has lower defence. while Billy can take more damage but can’t craft items. From time to time you’ll switch between them, useful for solving the game’s many intricate puzzles.

(Buy this game: http://www.prendas-online.com)

Doubling the character count also doubles your inventory. Much like Resident Evil HD Remaster, true horror does not lie in squaring off against a towering mollusc-like creature of slime and bones, rather by ensuring you can carry the necessary keys and health sprays without having to backtrack. What you can carry is as limited as ever but the ability to swap guns and typewriter ribbons (a necessity to save your progress) between Rebecca and Billy makes all the difference. Character switching was a great concept when the game first released and it’s still just as solid this time around. It makes us wonder why more horror games didn’t adopt such a feature.

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On the topic of backtracking, there’s a fair share of it in Resident Evil 0 HD. You’ll find yourself revisiting old locales ever so often. It never feels monotonous thanks to the fantastic amount of detail put into the game’s backdrops. Small things like broken bottles and messy suitcases go a long way it making the claustrophobic confines of the game a whole lot more immersive than they should.

The controls have received a much needed modern day rehaul. You could play it with the traditional “tank” controls of the series – something that was dropped completely from Resident Evil 6. This control scheme allowed you to either move, or turn – something that was necessitated with a fixed camera system that changed perspectives because of character movement.

This is there in the remaster as well, so you have to stop, then turn, and then move back or forward. Some people will appreciate the authenticity and the added tension these controls create, but we were pleased to see that a modern control scheme that lets you move and turn at the same time using the analog sticks is also there in the options, and it makes the game much more accessible, especially to a newer audience. However it isn’t perfect. If you’re playing with a controller, you’ll notice that firing a weapon demands you to press a button. In an age where triggers usually let you shoot guns, it’s an odd choice. And while you can change your control scheme, it won’t let you use triggers to dish out lead.

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And this isn’t all, as the name implies, Resident Evil 0 HD has received a visual overhaul. From the shambling undead to blood splattered walls, every single inch of the game has been spruced up. Safe to say it looks like one of the better remasters this generation.

Although it’s a treat to look at for most part, the cut-scenes – videos created using in-game assets, looks just like it was on the GameCube- the console on which it originally released. It sticks out as a sore thumb compared to the rest of the game.

Clocking in around 10 to 12 hours, Resident Evil 0 HD gives you a reason to come back with Wesker mode. When you finish it the first time you can play as series villain Wesker, pummelling your way through most monsters in your path. A nice way to add some replayability.

If you have played a Resident Evil game before or are a complete newbie to the series, there’s enough of a reason for you to check Resident Evil 0 HD out. It’s a good starting point for newcomers while managing to retain a host of systems and conventions to keep old-timers satiated.

Pros

  • Great to look at
  • Character switching is fantastic
  • Doesn’t take itself too seriously

Cons

  • Modern control scheme could be more modern

Rating (out of 10): 9

We played a review copy of Resident Evil 0 HD on the PC. The game is available on the PC for Rs. 1,499, and Rs. 2,499 for the PS4 and Xbox One at retail (which includes Resident Evil HD Remaster). It’s also available standalone digitally for Rs. 1,199 on Windows PC, Rs. 1,664 on the PS4 and Rs. 1,640 on the Xbox One.

Original Article

Evolve Review: The Hunter Is the Hunted

Evolve Review: The Hunter Is the Hunted

Evolve – recently launched for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC – puts you in the claws of a giant bloodthirsty alien monster, or the boots of four hunters that are trying to take it down. The multiplayer game makes you kill or be killed, whether you’re playing as one of the four hunters or the monster. Each of these five roles can be filled by either a human player or the computer AI (works offline), and the asymmetrical multiplayer of Evolve is one of its most interesting aspects.

Usually most multiplayer games have you in teams of equal numbers squaring off against each other in a duel to the death, or employ an each man for himself philosophy. Evolve, on the other hand focuses on teamwork for the four human players, and lets the monster player act like a lone wolf. The greater emphasis on cooperative play over individual glory can be seen evolving as franchises such as Pay Day and Left 4 Dead (which was incidentally made by Turtle Rock, the studio behind Evolve) gain prominence. Evolve marks the next step in this direction.

The game sport a slick sci-fi aesthetic and creative monster designs. All the action takes place on the distant planet of Shear, in a universe where man is attempting to colonise the far reaches of space. It’s a sprawling landscape replete with lush (and hostile) wildlife, peppered with the odd colony or power plant.

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After the game’s tutorial that does a solid job of explaining its basic mechanics, you’ll be asked what your preferences are in terms of class types or being the monster. Much like Team Fortress 2, there are a host of character classes to choose from. They’re divided into support, assault, medic and tracker varieties. While the first three are self-explanatory, the tracker class plays a crucial role in hunting down the monster and laying traps to slow it down.

All the characters have a role to play in Evolve’s five match modes. You’ll go from rescuing colonists, to defending a star ship, destroying monster eggs, or simply hunting down a monster in the different modes. The fifth game mode – Evacuation – is the most intense of the bunch, combining the game’s four standalone modes into one gigantic battle royale.

Here, winning a round grants you specific advantages, for example: saving a power plant as Hunters allows you automated turrets in the next match while destroying it as a monster makes the environment in the next match poisonous for hunters. The procedural nature of events allow for unique outcomes and possibilities that make Evolve deceptively deep.

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Regardless of the objective, the basic flow is the same. As a match progresses, the monster feeds on natural wildlife and tries to evade detection, levelling up and gaining access to new skills. Meanwhile, the hunters try to pinpoint its location, set traps and do whatever is necessary to find it. When the monster hits stage three of evolution, it becomes a powerful beast capable of total carnage, making the seemingly unfair four versus one split in its favour. From spewing fire to throwing rocks, there are a ton of skills at its disposal, as well as a more than generous health and armour that make the battle surprisingly fun.

It’s not all one-sided though. Hunters have some tricks up their sleeves. Their arsenal ranges from guns that fire lightning to orbital strikes on demand – not the freshest weapons, but a lot of fun to use nonetheless.

Within each of the four hunter classes are three characters you can play as, each with their own unique style. Take medics for example – the starter character is Val – who can heal one team mate at a time with a medigun, quite similar to Team Fortress 2’s medic. Play long enough and you’ll unlock Lazarus, who as the name implies, can raise the dead. The Lazarus Device brings your squad back from the dead, effectively making it twice as hard for the monster to destroy you.

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The sheer variety on display when available makes Evolve a treat to play. And the same applies to the monsters. You start off as the Goliath, a Godzilla-esque being with melee based abilities. As you play you unlock others such as the Kraken who deals long range electrical damage and the Wraith who can create decoys and cloak itself.

However don’t expect to have all the classes and monsters available out of the box. To start with only the basic hunters and monster (the Goliath) can be used. As you keep playing, you’ll unlock more advanced hunters and monsters. It’s an interesting system that rewards the most diligent of players. Unlocking everything took us around three to four days but will vary depending on your skills and amount of time you put into the game.

More often than not it felt like a grind, an unnecessary requirement before the game’s full potential could be unleashed. Reason being, in terms of teamwork and co-operative play, Evolve is a completely different beast the moment each character class and monster is readily available. Thankfully you can play offline with bots and gain the necessary experience points to unlock everything. There are no in-app purchases to hasten it either, which is commendable given that other games in the same price range such as Battlefield 3 have succumbed to doing so. However, we have to wonder if such a system was a necessity to begin with.

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Odd progression system aside, the second to second gameplay of Evolve is rather good. Playing as a hunter, the gunplay works well enough. Each weapon and ability has a distinct use that’s easy to master thanks to the clearly-detailed controls. You won’t be cycling through a host of guns here; the tap of a button brings up what you need. Each skill or weapon you need is mapped to the face button on the controller, making switching easy.

Furthermore, manoeuvrability across the game’s many maps is managed with the help of a jetpack that allows you to elevate to higher ground and provides a burst of speed to dodge some of the game’s more nasty hazards. Yes, as a hunter you’ll be dealing with more than just monsters. There are man-eating plants and water beasts called Tyrants to contend with as well. In bigger levels, there are minion monsters to fight off too. All of these elements add an amount of variance that makes Evolve’s matches anything but sterile.

Aside from the all but obvious graphical leap that this generation of gaming hardware grants us, it’s nice to see fresh ideas in terms of gameplay. Evolve and last year’s Titanfall are two examples of such originality. While it took the latter a while to get into its stride, it’s nice to see Turtle Rock hit the ground running with a surprisingly competent shooter. All of its elements such as the various class options, environmental hazards, and a slew of monster skills come together to make Evolve a frantic, fast-paced game whose appeal is hard to shake off. Barring the quirky progression system that betrays its depth, there’s very little else that’s wrong. If you’re burnt out playing modern day first-person multiplayer shooters, you may want to evolve to better things.

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We played a retail copy of Evolve on the PlayStation 4. It is available on the Xbox One and PC as well, retailing for Rs. 3,499 on consoles and Rs. 999 on PC

Pros

  • Varied classes
  • Procedural environments
  • Emphasis on teamwork

Cons

  • Quirky progression system

Rating (out of 10): 8

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Original NDTV Gadgets

Micromax Canvas Laptab LT666 Review: Super-Affordable Windows 2-in-1 With 3G

Micromax Canvas Laptab LT666 Review: Super-Affordable Windows 2-in-1 With 3G

Computer processors have shrunk to the point that we can stuff them into devices the size of tablets, and have become efficient enough that we don’t need fans to keep them cool. We’ve seen all kinds of slim designs in the past year or two, but what’s most exciting is that devices are getting less and less expensive as well. It is now possible to deliver an acceptable, mainstream level of PC performance in a device that costs less than a lot of smartphones.

We’ve reviewed the Notion Ink Cain (Review), Croma 1177 (Review) and Swipe Ultimate Tab 3G (Review), all of which were clustered around the Rs. 20,000 price point and all of which were tablets with wraparound cloth keyboard attachments. These products’ keyboards are fiddly to use, and just propping them up to look like laptops is annoying.

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Enter Micromax with its new Canvas Laptab LT666, which can actually be used in a lap! It follows the same formula but has a solid base with a keyboard. In terms of features, it’s pretty much identical to the rest, with the exception of 3G. However, for all its improvements, Micromax has still managed to cut the price down by 25 percent – the Canvas Laptab LT666 sells for just Rs. 14,999. We’re intrigued to say the least – has Micromax cut corners elsewhere, or is this product truly going to blow its competition out of the water?

Look and feel
The front of the Canvas Laptab LT666 is as plain as touchscreen devices get these days, with thick black borders and only a capacitive Windows Start button below the actual screen. There’s a small webcam cutout on the top, and you’ll see a status LED in the upper right corner when charging. Our test unit came with a screen guard already stuck on, but bubbles could be seen around the edges.

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However the sides and rear are styled pretty aggressively with accents that look like the whole device has a ruggedized rubber coating. Of course it’s nothing of the sort; just a different texture of plastic. Tall speaker grilles curve around the back on both sides, with the power and volume buttons sticking out quite a bit on the right. On top, the 3.5mm headset socket, Micro-USB port, microSD slot and Micro-SIM tray are incorporated into this border strip as well. The rear-facing camera is right in the centre.

The rear of the tablet doesn’t make for a very attractive laptop lid. There are two regulatory stickers and a bright blue Intel Inside sticker in addition to Micromax’s fist logo in one corner and a large Canvas Laptab logo right in the middle. The placement of the Micro-USB port is quite awkward for charging when the tablet is docked in its base, as the wire will stick straight out the top.

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The base is far more interesting from a design perspective. Unfortunately, the docking mechanism isn’t secure at all. The tablet will stay put when it’s docked on a flat surface, thanks to some relatively strong magnets and two little pegs. You can even pick up the tablet and shake it aggressively, and the base will stay securely attached. However, with the “lid” down, the two halves just do not stay together. In fact the tablet can slide right out of the dock with very little pressure. There’s nothing holding it in but the magnets on one side, so you have to make sure you carry it with your fingers curled around the edges, firmly gripping the two halves together.

The keyboard itself, unsurprisingly, has a compressed layout. No keys have been left out, but the Canvas Laptab LT666 makes the classic netbook-era compromise of shoving the right Shift key beyond the arrow block. For some reason the standard QWERTY rows are not correctly offset, so the spacing between keys will throw you off if you’re used to typing with all fingers.

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The keys themselves are tiny but are stiff and have good depth. Don’t expect the comfort of even a netbook keyboard, but this is a whole lot better than the folding ones we’ve used in the recent past on other low-cost Windows tablets. The trackpad is actually quite comfortable and usable. One nice touch is that there’s one full-sized USB port on the base, so you can plug in common devices without a USB-OTG dongle.

Overall, the Canvas Laptab LT666 is light and portable at 1.1kg and 9mm thick, but doesn’t come close to delivering a budget laptop experience.

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Specifications
At the heart of the Canvas Laptab LT666 is an Intel Atom Z3535F CPU, the same as we’ve seen on other low-cost tablets. It has four cores running at up to 1.83GHz, and basic integrated Intel HD graphics. There’s 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage. You can use microSD cards of up to 64GB and of course USB storage devices if you need more space.

The screen measures 10.1 inches diagonally and has a resolution of 1280×800. Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G data are supported. Both the front and rear cameras have 2-megapixel sensors. Finally, there’s a 7,700mAh battery.

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Micromax includes a basic pair of earphones, a simple carry case, and, most useful of all, a USB-OTG adapter. The processor supports 64-bit operations but the Canvas Laptab LT666 ships with a 32-bit edition of Windows 8.1. You’ll be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 10 when it releases in the near future. You also get a one-year subscription to Office 365 and 1TB of OneDrive storage. Thankfully there is no preloaded junk software.

Performance
We like the fact that the tablet boots up and resumes from sleep quickly, thanks to its flash-based storage. It’s not a speed demon by any means, but provides a reasonable level of performance for day-to-day tasks such as Web browsing and media playback. One thing we noticed right away was that the tablet did not insist on throwing up the on-screen keyboard every time we started typing with the dock, which a lot of others seem to do.

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On the downside, the pre-attached screen protection film was not only ugly but also increased friction when using the touchscreen. The unit also tended to get a bit hot when running benchmarks and videos, so it’s probably best suited to lighter tasks in general.

Benchmarks revealed average scores, which were on par with those of the other Atom Z3735-based products we’ve tested in the past. POVRay took 24 minutes, 57 seconds to run its built-in benchmark. 3DMark could not be installed, but we didn’t have any expectations about gaming performance to begin with. PCMark 8’s Work scenario gave us a score of 2526 which is just about okay, and SiSoft SANDRA showed us that the CPU, memory and SSD performance were on par with other similar tablets, which is to say suitable for basic tasks but nothing truly demanding. SunSpider took 505.7ms to complete and Mozilla Kraken took 13,905.3ms.

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The screen cannot be tilted in its base so you might have some trouble with reflections. We found it to be reasonably sharp, though not very impressive by today’s standards. Viewing angles are just about okay. Video files including 1080p clips played fairly well. The speakers were incredibly disappointing – sound was sometimes barely audible even at full volume, and music was hollow and lifeless. The two cameras were just as mediocre as we expected.

The 3G data support proved to be our favourite feature. With no full-sized USB port on the tablet itself, a 3G dongle would have been awkward to use. The built-in modem allows for a lot of flexibility and makes this device a great choice for those who need to work outdoors a lot, or who just want to move around without worrying about Wi-Fi range.

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Battery life was pretty decent – we managed to get 4 hours, 32 minutes out of the Canvas Laptab LT666 in Battery Eater Pro’s standard test before it shut down completely. That should make for just about a work day of light usage though you’ll drain the battery faster with 3G in use.

Verdict
We quite like Micromax’s latest venture, for a number of reasons. We’ve seen the tablet-with-a-keyboard concept before, but not only has Micromax raised the bar in terms of the physical keyboard dock, it has also brought the price down. If that wasn’t reason enough, there’s integrated 3G functionality which none of its direct competitors offer. The Canvas Laptab LT666 therefore stands out quite clearly as the best of the bunch.

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However, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically a great product. Yes, it’s a very affordable, 3G-enabled Windows PC. It offers portability and a reasonable level of productivity. However, Windows tablets still have shortcomings when compared to Android tablet and iPads, such as awkward touch controls and lower battery life. If you’re looking for a pure entertainment device, you might be happier with one of those. On the other hand, there are also low-cost laptops which might be better suited for work.

If you want a versatile, portable PC for general usage and light multitasking, the Canvas Laptab LT666 is a fantastic product. It could fit multiple use cases, even as a secondary PC, thanks to its low price and great features.

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Micromax Canvas Laptab

Micromax Canvas Laptab

R 14999 3.5

  • Review
  • Key Specs
  • News
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Integrated 3G
  • Extremely affordable
  • Solid base
  • Bad
  • Tablet slips easily from dock
  • Weak cameras
  • Cramped keyboard

Read detailed Micromax Canvas Laptab review

Display

10.10-inch

Processor

1.33GHz

Front Camera

2-megapixel

Resolution

1280×800 pixels

RAM

2GB

OS

Windows 8.1

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

2-megapixel

Battery capacity

7700mAh See full Micromax Canvas Laptab specifications