It’s all Microsoft’s fault. That’s been uttered many, many times throughout homes and offices alike over the years I’d care to wager. However in the case of the Venturer BravoWin 10KT it might not be too far from the truth. Read on to see what we thought of this budget-priced 2-in-1 Windows 10 machine in our full review.
Let’s just take a second to give you a bit of background on the Venturer brand. You might not have heard of these guys previous – we wouldn’t blame you. In terms of their products, they are few and far between with sound bars, wireless speakers, and these 2-in-1 notebooks to speak of. That, and they’re based out in Hong Kong. Their products are only available from a handful of distributors in the UK, with Amazon, Ebuyer and Argos all stocking some SKUs.
Overview & Unboxing
We’ve already taken a first look at the Venturer BravoWin 10KT unboxing experience so we won’t dwell on this too much aside from giving a quick specs run down. This is a 2-in-1 Notebook with the ability to detach into a standalone tablet section, or be used as a conventional notebook. Check out our video below for more info.
This particular model is the Silver/Black version, with Silver, Metallic Black, and Gold/Silver all available. For the most part they all share the same internals of a 10.1″ 1280 x 800 resolution touch screen display, Intel Atom Z3735F processor at 1.33Ghz (with burst to 1.83Ghz), 2GB of RAM, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Gyro sensor, speakers, microphone and two 2 megapixel cameras; one on the front and one on the rear of the screen. There is also 32GB of flash storage here, and there is also a 64GB version too.
There’s decent connectivity to be found here also, with a Micro SD card slot, Micro USB port, full-sized USB 3.0 port, Mini HDMI and headphone jacks all along the left hand side of the tablet portion. The integrated battery is rated for up to 8 hours of use – more on that later.
Hardware & Performance
In truth, it’s a mixed bag performance wise. The Intel Atom processor just isn’t capable enough to run multiple tasks at once, without causing it a little bit of discomfort. The 2GB of RAM on this full Windows 10 machine also causes multi-tasking to be limited to the odd few applications. If you’re a tab-fiend in Chrome/Edge then this device is going to require you to take your patience-pills before engaging. Likewise if you’re into streaming Full HD or 4K media to your mobile devices, then again, this is going to struggle. We noticed some frames being missed when playing back remote 1080p files whereas some local 1080p files also struggled – not every time however. 720p files were absolutely fine.
If you are into your media however, the claim of up to 8 hours battery life is technically correct. In our testing we managed just a smidgen over 6.5 hours of continuous use consisting of some YouTube consumption, a couple of MS Word documents being worked on, some social media, and some emails. Not too bad considering the footprint and the weight of the device.
Running Geekbench 3 on this device produced relatively poor results for both single and multi-core scores; 714 and 1662 respectively which sit firmly in the low end which is to be expected.
The keyboard has had to make some concessions too. The small form factor of this device means that the “Right Shift” key is the same size as the other standard keys on the device, which may put some speed-typers off. We often hit the “Pg Up” key hoping to find the right shift. This became less the more we used it but it still never quite felt acceptable. The “Enter” key is similarly smaller, but not by quite as much. The large travel to activate the keypress might be good for those who like to thump their keys into submission, but that longer travel causes fingers darting over the keys to catch on nearby keys and misfire from time to time. The backslash button is also moved from the usual left side location to the more regular-for-notebooks location of bottom right – a pet peeve, but with a little familiarisation time, this poses no significant issues.
The screen is not the most amazing you’re going to find on a 2-in-1 device. Whilst it’s an IPS display, and that’s great to see, the pixel density of just 149 ppi means that pixels are visible in almost all conditions and the contrast of the screen leaves a lot to be desired, especially for those who will be staring at it for a period of time or who want to consume colourful content regularly.
The trackpad is nowhere near as bad as you’d expect for a device at this price point, with it responding quite well to all gestures and standard inputs. There did seem to be some inertia on initial testing, but a few tweaks of the settings within Control Panel, specifically turning off enhanced pointer precision, and this was gone to the point where only its petite size provided a challenge from time to time. It’s certainly an improvement over some of the sub-£250 laptops you see in supermarkets in all but size.
The touch screen is remarkably responsive and feels rather nice to swipe on. Those who are used to touchscreen devices will often look to augment their trackpad usage by scrolling via touch at times, and combining the two processes. This works here as well as any similar devices, with one notable difference; it’s not altogether that sturdy. The device has a rather large hinge to attach the tablet portion to the keyboard, and whilst the hinge does it’s job of being meaty quite well, it’s the lightweight keyboard portion where the problem lies. Touching the screen when opened in notebook mode can cause the device to tip, such is the lack of weight in the base. We wouldn’t say it’s easy to do, but it’s not all that hard either and it can become a slight irritation.
The tablet portion/screen is where all the connectivity resides, with all the ports and buttons being housed on the left hand side of the device. Whilst Windows 10 isn’t the most attractive tablet-based UI, this device actually makes it relatively bearable. The tablet is equally lightweight which is good for those not wishing to generate an extended workout for their forearms, and the controls are intuitively accessed whether in portrait or landscape mode. The tablet mode is where arguably the best experience for this device is had. There are no keyboard irritations to worry about and the tablet doesn’t get hot, even under severe load with temperatures only hitting 68 degrees in AIDA64 stress testing. The passive cooling also means you won’t be getting any unwanted hot air hitting your hands, or indeed unwanted noise from a fan interrupting your experience.
Whilst lightweight, there are a few creaks and groans from the plastic on the device which doesn’t scream “premium” – not that Venturer are aiming for that here. There is also a little bit of flex on the tablet portion as well as the keyboard, when separated. Again, to be expected as this is not a top-end machine.
Other than the low ppi, the only other niggle we had with this device’s screen is just how glossy it is! When viewing media it seems to be acceptable, but word processing in a brightly lit room at least means you won’t be caught unaware by somebody sneaking up behind you – it’s THAT glossy.
Software & Use
It’s Windows Right?
A full Windows 10 experience is a must for anything claiming to be a notebook, and the Venturer BravoWin 10KT certainly passes that test. Whilst it might only be a Home edition, and a 32bit one at that, only 18 months ago a device such as this would have been given the dreaded and now infamous “RT” moniker, meaning any “normal” Windows applications (x86 architecture) couldn’t be installed, leaving the Windows Store the only option for those looking to bolster the functionality of the software aboard. Gladly, that’s not the case here. Functional tools such as Paint.net, Notepad++, and Google Chrome can (and perhaps should, we might add) be installed to augment the still quite stale Windows Store app offering.
The Edge and Google Chrome browsers seemed responsive to sites on this device, with only the most hardcore of sites causing it a momentary pause. The Verge for example took around 6 seconds to fully load all content whilst lesser sites were virtually instant. Multiple tabs, as previously mentioned, did however cause the device to ponder its existence for a moment, but being aware of the devices’ limitations in this regard helps to offset those moments becoming a mainstay of the overall experience. Due to the low RAM installed, we’d recommend looking at a lighter browser than Chrome to avoid hitting the memory threshold too soon.
For those not familiar with Windows 10 this device could offer a conflicting experience. On one hand the device is budget friendly, has the ability to run all the built-in applications without incident, and a touch-screen brings out the best in Windows 10. However, on the flip-side, the Windows Store and the overall performance of the unit itself, might just as easily put newcomers off the OS – it’s a delicate balance which this device doesn’t quite pull off but certainly doesn’t outright fail at.
The long and short here is if Office Mobile (which comes with this device by the way), Internet browsing, email composing and the odd piece of media, social or otherwise, is your gig, then Windows 10 has you covered on this device.
Here’s The Plot Twist
Right – that’s the bad bits over with right? You’ve read about the cheap feel, the adequate performance, poor screen resolution/density? Good! Now, let’s caveat all of what you’ve just read with one brief statement; It’s just £150! To put this in context, this device is cheaper than the latest generation Moto 360 smart watch, as well as being in and about the realms of the cheapest Chromebook whilst arguably providing the prospect of more functionality.
Usually we look at devices on the merits of what they are trying to achieve and the suitability for the demographic they are aiming at. We’ve done that again here, but we just wanted to get address the elephant in the room. At £149.99 (or £199.99 for the 11″ version) almost all of our criticisms are excusable. For those with basic requirements from a device, the Venturer BravoWin 10KT might just do the job. This is exactly the demographic Venturer are pitching this device towards and on that point they have surely done enough to offset some of the criticism above.
“Is the device powerful enough to edit videos?” Nope, not even close other than small Windows Movie Maker editing. “Can I get through a day’s work on one charge?” Probably not quite. “I want to sit on the sofa and read social media. Will this be a good device for me?” Now we’re talking; almost certainly yes. “Is this the best Windows 10 2-in-1 device at this price……?”
That last question is a little difficult isn’t it? It’s “one” of them. The ASUS Transformer Book 10.1 has the same specification with a better build quality for just about the same price, but it does get a bit hotter than the Venturer BravoWin 10KT – not much, but a bit. The ASUS device is also a little heavier. Finally, ASUS is a known quantity and has an easily gaugeable support record which has been benchmarked over many years.
Final question then: “Does this make the Venturer a bad option at this price?” Absolutely not. Yes it has its foibles, and any low-end device is going to show clear signs of cost cutting, but there is a limit as to what can be deemed “bad” at this price. IF you’re an individual who has, and is only ever going to have the budget for something like this, your choices are narrowed considerably. It’s either a Chromebook with ChromeOS, a RAM-eating browser and a hit and miss Chrome Web Store, or it’s a device like this where performance is not quite as obvious as with the Chromebooks, but the user is given a little more scope for utility.
Venturer’s marketing material says it all really; “BravoWin 10KT – Easy for Learning & Play”. That’s about the size of it folks. If you’re after a wallet friendly device for some light use, or your kids to use, with solid budget specifications and performance, without expecting miracles, this is one of the leading contenders on the market, and it won’t disappoint.