A hybrid is a laptop with a removable screen. Or maybe it's a tablet with a keyboard dock. However you describe it, it's intended as a best-of-both-worlds solution: tablet one minute, laptop the next, then back to tablet, and so on.
Of course, such advanced hardware costs a small fortune, right? Wrong: Walmart has the E Fun Nextbook 10.1-inch Windows hybrid for $179 shipped (plus tax). Notice I didn't say "for a limited time" or "while supplies last." That's because this is the everyday price on this brand-new model -- and it's a steal.
Most of the E Fun products I've seen are tablets, and fairly basic ones at that. The company aims squarely at the entry-level crowd, which is why you typically find its products in Walmart.
But with this Nextbook (which has no model name or number -- it's simply called "Nextbook"), the company has crafted an amazingly good, amazingly versatile Windows PC for a fraction of the price of most competitors.
I've spent the last few days test-driving it, and I'm thoroughly impressed. It's a solid, sturdy piece of hardware, and actually kind of on the heavy side: the screen and keyboard together weigh a hair less than 3 pounds, and the screen by itself (aka the tablet) weighs about 1.5 pounds.
I'm especially pleased with the keyboard, which, although necessarily a bit cramped, feels great overall. It's not the least bit mushy, a welcome surprise. Even the touchpad is surprisingly roomy. Perhaps best of all, the screen drops easily into the dock, snapping satisfyingly into place with magnets. There's no slider or other mechanism required to remove it; just lift and go.
Also, the hinge is cleverly designed to raise the rear of the keyboard to a comfortable typing angle. The entire setup is a little top-heavy, though, which can make for awkward typing on a lap.
I'm not going to delve much into specs or performance, other than to say the Nextbook manages to squeeze sufficient power from its admittedly entry-level hardware. And the screen is bright and colorful, though a little low-res at 1,280x800-pixel resolution. (I rarely found myself noticing it.)
Cons? The two cameras are mediocre, there's no USB port (only a Micro-USB), and it takes a second or two for the screen to shift between landscape and portrait orientations.
But check out the nearly 70 user reviews, which average out to 4.3 stars. (Mostly, they're gushy five-star reviews.) The Nextbook may not be a powerhouse, but it's an amazing value -- especially when compared with a similarly priced Chromebook. Or, for that matter,.
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