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Ok, so I finally got my hands on the Cherry Mobile Alpha Shift Tablet/ Laptop and I am so excited to try this baby out.

By now you probably know that I support Cherry Mobile’s products not only because they’re quite inexpensive but also because they have good quality for the price.

Other reasons I have for supporting Cherry Mobile is because it’s a local company and yes I would love to see a local company become internationally known which could lead to great things for our economy. More jobs for our fellow countrymen. Okay enough of that nationalism and on to the product.

Here’s what Cherry Mobile Alpha Shift says they have under the hood:

    10.1-Inch IPS Display (Full Touch)
    Windows 8.1 OS
    Intel Atom Z3735F Chipset
    1.33GHz Quad Core 64-bit CPU
    Intel HD Graphics
    2GB of RAM
    1.2 Megapixel Camera
    32GB Internal Storage (SSD)
    500GB Internal Storage in Dock (HDD)
    Expandable Up to 64GB via MicroSD
    Wi-Fi b/g/n
    Bluetooth 4.0
    USB 2.0 Port
    Micro USB 2.0 Port
    Micro HDMI
    3.5mm Audio Jack
    Accelerometer
    177 x 263 x 9.9 mm (Tablet)
    177 x 263 x 13.6 mm (Docked or Laptop Mode)
    6,300mAh Li-ion Battery

To be honest, I barely understand all of the technical stuff. All I know is that 1.33 GHz Quad Core 64-bit CPU is fast enough and 2GB RAM will let me do my stuff without lagging too much.

Before I got the Cherry Mobile Alpha Shift, I had been debating on getting an Asus Transformer or that Acer laptop/tablet product they had to offer as well. Good thing I saw the Cherry Mobile Alpha Shift before getting any of the other two. Although Asus is a great product which I also support, Cherry Mobile wins hands down because of the price difference and because it’s made locally.

So is the Alpha Shift any good?

Well let’s see. After Playing around with it for a bit I do have a few complaints but I have a lot more praises for it.

In tablet form, at 10 inches, it’s quite big and can be a bit heavy unlike the smaller 7 inch tablets Cherry Mobile offers. So reading at night, in bed is a bit uncomfortable and can be a bit tiring. You can’t complain about the size of the display though. After puting in a comic book reader and an ebook reader, I don’t have to squint as much as I do with the 7 inchers. It also helps that the Intel HD graphics really makes things pop out. I had to adjust the brightness though cause it kinda hurt my eyes after having the tablet so close to my face reading all the comics and books I pre loaded into it.

Connecting the tab to the dock transforms it into a laptop and it feels sturdy enough to stand on its own without fear of it falling over. I just can’t place it on my lap though because it kinda feels imbalanced. Still, I believe that working on your laptop should be done on a proper desk to promote more productivity. Get a desk!

All the programs seem to work. I have MS Word (I’m using it right now to type this out) and MS Excel. Having both of these programs is enough to complete my world in terms of productivity.

The chicklet type keys are a blessing for people like me who like typing 60 WPM, although it does feel quite cramped. To be fair, I’m quite used to typing things out on my larger Asus laptop which now serves me more as a desktop than a portable gadget. So I’m looking forward to bring the Alpha Shift along when I’m on the road. Expect some single finger typing.

I don’t like using the mouse trackpad. Heck, I don’t even like my Asus’ trackpad. Good thing there’s a USB slot for an external mouse. I use an A4Tech wireless mouse and it immediately recognized the device and installed the necessary drivers. Voila! No more trackpad issues!

Connecting to my Smart wireless modem device was also quick and easy. Just don’t do what I did and open a lot of tabs quickly. It is still not a PC, so open a few tabs and you won’t have any issues with lagging or anything like that.

I’m glad to say Skype was uninterrupted and doing Social Media stuff like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram was painless.

The sound coming from the device is tinny so if I were you get some headphones out. Sound quality through headphones is still pretty much standard, not too overwhelming but enough to let you hear the highs and lows well. Not much to say about that.

I may not be much of a techie but 32GB internal storage is just not enough for me. That’s just about a third of the size of my digital comic collection. That does not include my ebooks. So yeah that’s a problem for me and I hope the next product they come up with has an even bigger data storage in tablet form. It’s a hassle to choose from my comic collection and wait for it to be stored inside the tablet. There’s an option to expand the data on the tablet though via Micro SD card so that’s another 32 GB of data you can cram into the tablet. The Dock has 500GB though and I wasn’t expecting that.

Battery life isn’t too impressive, I managed to get a couple of hours worth of life from it. I don’t know how long it’s supposed to really last. Here’s what I did during those times, wrote some chapters of a book, created some Excel files, wasted time online on Facebook and chatted with some guys I work with on Skype. Oh yeah I kinda zoned out on a couple of Youtube videos too. So maybe I overworked the device. Still, it should allow you to do some work if you’re more focused than I am.

The last concern that I have is the size of the screen, at 10 inches, I find it very small. But then I’m also kinda spoiled because of my 14 inch screen size on my Asus laptop. So prolonged usage of the Cherry Mobile Alpha Shift is only going to happen if I don’t have my Asus nearby.

The Alpha Shift is relatively light for a laptop so it is nice to bring along without the fear of developing chronic back problems.

Turning it on and off is fast which is great when you’re always on the go and inspiration strikes you in the oddest of places. So far, I’ve used mine in a few coffee shops, a gas station, a few food places, in my backyard, someone else’s backyard, on a roof deck and on the beach. This baby has gone places in just a week’s time.

So would I recommend it? If you’ve got 15K to spare and you really need a laptop/ tablet device, then this one’s for you! Don’t expect too much, this isn’t a PC. If you’re just going to do some light work with MS Word and MS Excel, this gadget is perfect. Going online isn’t too much of a hassle, just don’t open too many tabs.

Holding the tablet in your hands for prolonged periods can make you experience some discomfort so make sure you have some support for your arms and please adjust the brightness level if you’re going to hold it near your face the whole night!

Ta ta for now, I need to read some more comics!

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