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When I was still starting to blog, I got fascinated with dual booting operating systems. I could neither afford a Macbook nor even an iMac so tried installing Mac OS and Windows XP on my desktop PC. The process was so laborious, and yet it got me so hooked up. I remember sleeping around 3am because I had a hard time installing iAtkos build on my PC. Reinstalling and updating a hackintosh back then was also painstaking, and yet, I always found myself going through the complicated process.

The case of dualbooting is simple nowadays, and there is no legality issue as well. Operating systems that may be installed on computers aren’t just Linux, Mac and Windows. With the introduction of Android and system-on-chips that can accommodate various operating systems (yes, Intel – that’s you), dualbooting has started to become mainstream. In fact, another mobile device company, O+, just recently announced O+ Duo – a tablet that’s dual-boot capable.

Cherry Mobile just made Dual Booting a mainstream feature

Powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F, with processor clocked at 1.8Ghz, the MAIA Smart Tab features a Smart boot system that basically allows the device to boot 2 operating systems. With this device, the need for 2 devices – one that runs on Windows, and another one that runs on Android – may be curbed. On the technical side, having both operating systems compatible to a single device is quite a feat.
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Apart from its powerful mobile processor, the MAIA Smart Tab has a 32gb internal memory and may be expanded via microSD. It has an 8-inch 1280×720 (HD) screen and packed with 3800mAh battery. The tablet also has a 5mp rear camera and 2mp front camera.
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The Cherry Mobile MAIA Smart Tab is a Windows-first device. Its design and build consider Windows 8/10 at its primary operating system. In fact, the capacitive button found at the bottom of the screen is the iconic Windows logo. Pressing it brings out the Windows homescreen with live tiles, or the Android homescreen when booting the device on Android 4.4.4.

The device is made of plastic, but the construction is well built. The ridge on its sides help me easily grab the device especially in portrait orientation. Its bezels are quite wide, which most of you might find unappealing.

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There are a total of 3 hardware keys – (top to bottom) sleep/wake button, volume up and volume down. It has 1 capacitive button – a Windows key; and 2 ports – 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB port.

Overall in the construction department, the tablet is pretty solid but not exactly ready for a lot of beating. The screen isn’t protected with any anti-scratch coating, so if you’re getting this one, be sure to get the official leather flip case that also doubles as a stand. Get one, and you’ll never regret it.

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The Smart Tab’s HD screen displays accurate and vibrant colors. Max optimized resolution is at 1280 x 800, and I find it just right as a mobile entertainment device. I didn’t encounter any hassles when I tried watching my favorite TV series on iFlix (via Chrome browser on Windows), and played some of my touch-compatible Windows and Android games.

Software. Performance and Gaming

When I first booted the device a couple of months ago, I was immediately given the option to upgrade to Windows 10. I didn’t budge and just let that moment pass because I thought that it’s best to test it with the pre-installed operating system. I was dead wrong as I found Windows 8 not optimized for mobile. A week later, I found myself upgrading the tablet to Windows 10 and it was simply of the best decisions I made. There were a couple of driver issues during the upgrade process, but everything was resolved by installing and using the Intel Driver Utility.

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Switching to Android and back to Windows is satisfyingly fast. Both operating systems have software switches, which – when triggered – restarts the devices and automatically accesses the boot configuration of the partition being called for. It is crucial to take note that should you decide to wipe everything off, you will lose the dual boot function.

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Don’t get your hopes too high on the performance and battery “departments” though. While the device can run our favorite Windows applications like Sony Vegas 13 and Adobe Photoshop CS4, its 2gb RAM and ultra limited available internal storage can’t keep up with the resource demands of the aforementioned applications. In fact, there are times that the device struggles to perform smoothly when there are more than 8 tabs opened on Chrome.

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The Android experience on the Smart Tab is a different experience though. For an operating system that’s primarily made for mobile devices, the experience is a lot smoother and better. I am happy to report that the tablet handled the applications we downloaded via Play Store pretty well. Too bad though, the tablet doesn’t support GSM and mobile internet via 3G/HSPA but at least it can connect to the internet via WiFi.

Gaming on the Smart Tab via Windows 10 is a hit and miss. It is able to handle Dota 2 quite fairly but lags every time the screen is spammed with minions and game effects. The same performance goes with Sid Meier’s Civilization V as we had to turn off some of the game graphics enhancements so that the device can keep up with the resource requirements. Thankfully, Windows Store now offers a number of mobile-optimized games that may be installed on the Smart Tab. Games like Mini Motor, Hitman Go, Shark Dash and Rayman Fiesta are games that I was able to flawlessly run on the tablet.

The same set of games are also available on Android. These games, plus a few more like Sim City Build It, Clash of Clans, Sproggiwood, Hitman Sniper, etc, work with zero issues on the tablet. Some games, however, like Borderlands and Rayman Fiesta Run had some issues, which may be caused by problems on optimization.

If there is one issue that I’d like to highlight on Smart Tab, it would be its battery. When full charged, you can finish a 2-hour movie with 15-20% battery juice left. Battery life on Android lasts a little longer because the operating system doesn’t use too much resources compared to Windows 10.

Camera

The tablet’s camera behave differently per operating system. Off hand, I find the front facing camera on Windows performing a lot better than on Android. On the other hand, I find the photos I took using the main camera via Android performing better than on Windows. This isn’t something that may be attributed to its sensor so I’m concluding that this is a software optimization issue. Check out our sample photos below for your reference. Please don’t mind the face. I’m doing all these “para sa ekonomiya”.

Photos taken using Windows (Front Camera):

As you can see, the photos above look clean and more vibrant. Colors pop out more than the photo I took using Android boot.

Photo taken using Android (Front Camera):

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Photos taken using Windows (Main Camera):

Photos taken using Android (Main camera):

Verdict

The Cherry Mobile MAIA Smart Tab is a treasure trove of tools perfect for almost everyone. If you’re used to the plethora of productivity tools and applications available for the Windows infrastructure, the tablet has everything you need. If you don’t want to carry around another device that runs on Android so you can play your favorite mobile games and access your go-to mobile apps, you can easily do so with MAIA Smart Tab. This functionality and the comfort it begets make this device a truly wise investment. Price is never going to be an issue with this tablet as this won’t cost you an arm and a leg. For just PhP4,999, you are getting the best of both worlds – the desktop capabilities of Windows, and the mobile superiority of Android.

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Author

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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