After several years of waiting and continuous delays, last February Canonical finally introduced the first device in which we could see in action the convergence of Ubuntu. It was the tablet BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition M10, the first in which we could run both version “Touch” operating systems as the desktop.
But it is enough midrange tablets to show the potential of a converged platform? And after all this time, you will be the Ubuntu height for the big coming- out of an ambitious project? Precisely these are the questions we try to answer today after having spent several days testing the device.
BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition M10, specifications
The first tablet to equip Ubuntu Touch and try to take advantage of the promised convergence by Canonical comes from the hand of BQ, who preferred not to risk in specifications and comply with specifications that place it in the middle range, but yes, at a price quite affordable. Before I comment on our experience with him we will start breaking down your specifications.
|Physical dimensions||246 x 171 x 8.2 mm, 470 g|
|Screen||Ahva 10.1 inches|
|Resolution||FullHD 1920 x 1200 pixels – 240 ppi|
64 bit and quad – core 1.5GHz Cortex A53
|Graphics processor||ARM Mali-720-600 Mhz|
expandable with microSD up to 64GB
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, microUSB, microHDMI, Jack 3.5 mm|
|Cameras||8MP sensor 1/4 “
Front 5 megapixel
|Battery||LiPo 7280 mAh non-removable|
|Price||The official price is above $300 in its official store.|
The first surprise of the first tablet with Ubuntu brand BQ is precisely what little surprised. As already previously done with their phones with different operating systems, they have preferred not to invest in a new device design and reuse the same Aquaris M10 we’ve seen with Android.
This includes two configurations, one with HD resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and another Full HD with 1920 x 1200 pixels and a density of 240 dpi. In this case, the version sent to us has been the second, which comes equipped with 7280 mAh battery. We will have to see how the operating system behaves here, because on paper the device promises a very high autonomy.
MediaTek has been doing great things in the middle range in recent months with mobile processors that have nothing to envy rivals Qualcomm. We’ll see if the streak continues on tablets, as this M10 equip SoC MT8163A to 64 bits and Cortex A53 cores with four 1.5GHz.
He is accompanied by 2 gigabytes of RAM which will provide a challenge for convergence, as apparently could make your multifunction desktop mode suffer. In any case it is a similar configuration to which we have seen in some tablets with Windows 10, so you also have some curiosity when making comparisons.
The EU Aquaris M10 weighs only 470 grams, not bad for a 10 – inch tablet, and a thickness of 8.4 millimeters us does not seem excessive. The specification sheet is completed chambers 5 and 8 megapixels, a microHDMI port to connect to displays and computers and the Ubuntu 15.04 operating system.
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A design wins with better materials
BQ are aware of the importance of a good design when selling a device, however take some years away from the cookie cutter designs and giving your Aquaris range a unique and recognizable look. And many of the hallmarks of this Aquaris also see M10 with Ubuntu.
The back is made of a single piece of plastic that also covers the rounded edges of the device, with a matte satin black color very pleasant to the touch and sight. But the material itself conveys no sense of quality and dirty easily, which subtracts some whole design as a whole.
The plastic draws a step to differentiate the frame where the sound and volume buttons are perfectly placed on the right side. Come on, they’re tight and that fit perfectly without leaving any slot, which gives you feeling of firmness and quality to not move when touched.
Unfortunately the position of these speakers is quite unfortunate, because depending on how the tablet gathers they have a good chance of ending plugging hands. Another curious decision with which we have found is that the plastic cover and the screen are not properly assembled. Medium is peeled off, and we did not have to do too hard to see the innards to the device.
A screen with light and shadow
With the screen BQ has also had some good ideas that have not finished look as well as they should because of the materials. Let’s start with the bad news: it’s a real fingerprint magnet that will be completely covered by them when only take 5 minutes using the tablet.
And it’s a real shame, because the bet by FullHD has been successful and has made its Aquaris M10 win many integers when viewing videos, especially if we have downloaded to your device can enjoy as dwarfs with good resolution accompanied by the good sound of your speakers.
Otherwise, the screen responds smoothly to the touch and has a good viewing angle of 170 degrees that allows multiple people can be looking at a time. Unfortunately the automatic adjustments leave the default brightness too low, so we’ll have to upload it manually if you do not want to hinder the experience reflexes
It comes protected by the laminate Dragontrail X, and with normal use during the week we’ve been using it has fulfilled its mandate to protect it from scratches. As for the aspect ratio, BQ preferred not to take any chances, and has used the 16:10 format using the vast majority of Android tablets.
Outdoors the screen behaves as expected, well overall but shortsighted on particularly sunny days. In any case, the general note of the display is good, meets perfectly and there is little more that you could ask for considering the price of the device.
A still too green operating system
After several years of waiting and delays it has reached the moment of truth, and this BQ Aquaris Ubuntu Edition M10 is the device on which Canonical finally shows us in all its splendor convergence of Ubuntu. It does so with a tablet that uses the Touch version, but to connect a keyboard automatically switches to the desktop.
Therefore, in theory all of Canonical promises are fulfilled. But in practice all they have been met halfway, since the Touch version is still too green to be usable by a common user, and the desktop is hampered by the enormous limitations of the hardware of the tablet.
Ubuntu Touch is still far from offering a solid experience, and this fact greets us at the very start screen. The interface is not very intuitive, and places the box passwords in an area which is difficult to reach thumbs, which will have to move your hand. It’s not a very grave error, but it is one of several small details that hinder the experience.
Another small detail is not having been able to adapt the virtual keyboard to the device size. It may be a matter of personal taste, but write on a 10 – inch screen with a full keyboard is quite uncomfortable because the central keys are not easily accessible. Canonical should have thought about incorporating the option to split the keyboard into two.
And then there is the issue of the application ecosystem. When a few days ago we told you about the bad sales numbers Microsoft with Windows Phone, many in the comments that the lack of applications could be one of the big culprits. Well the same goes with Ubuntu, has too poor ecosystem, and go find some of the apps I use everyday have found me having to resort to the browser.
As if that were not enough, some of the applications that come preinstalled on the computer are not even adapted to the Touch version. It is applications as Gedit or Firefox, which only show its desktop version, which means that everything is too small and does not give us the option to display the virtual keyboard.
But despite all the theory it is good, and if Ubuntu is still working on it could end up offering a good alternative. But of course, it will come too late to have any chance against the almighty Android or Windows 10? By the way, another curious bug I’ve found in the notifications panel where the GPS icon appears and disappears without stopping.
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Performance and autonomy
The absence of a good ecosystem of native applications, the dev are not supported, it implies that we cannot make a benchmark with which to compare the performance of this device as we do in all analyzes. But after using it a few days there are a few things we cannot fail to mention.
And one of them is that, with the aim of offering a tablet as affordable as possible, BQ has gone too adjusting braking hardware Aquaris M10. The SoC MediaTek MT8163A is very just it to move Ubuntu Touch, and is entirely inadequate to provide the desktop version with an experience that is at the height of laptops.
We start talking about the mobile version of Ubuntu, which in this device moves so awkward with very little fluidity and continuous LAGEOS. The problems are noticeable from the first moments in the very panel of Scopes, and will become more acute as we open applications.
Especially painful it is to see these problems in applications or preloaded games like Cut the Rope, which precisely because come inclusive should provide an optimal experience. At least when surfing the web browser is quite fluid, but always within the limits of a mid – range device.
The experience does not improve much when we connect a keyboard and mouse to automatically switch to Ubuntu desktop mode. Everything works properly and with little bugs, which is fine, but the hardware last making the entire operating system will little fluid for a few applications you have open.
There is a lack of fluidity exaggerated to make it unusable, but as if we were using a computer 10 years or more. Again, not that he could ask for optimal performance at a mid – range, but considering how competition is Ubuntu cannot afford to be released with low level.
As for autonomy, its 7280 mAh battery can make easily spend half a day of intensive use with it. But here we encounter another problem is that the operating system does not fit well to sleep when not used.
This means that if we turn off the tablet at night in the morning we find it’s discharged. It is quite normal behavior in laptops, one more example that Ubuntu has not yet been able to adapt well to mobile devices, here an Android tablet just spent battery at rest at night.
The cameras are testimonials. In the main we cannot expect a good definition, and as slightly low noise light the entire image blurs. The front is not to throw rockets, but it will be enough for us to distinguish fairly well in videoconferencing. At least if we do not do at night.
But to finish with good taste, we cannot miss one of the great strengths of this device, and stereo audio from its double front speakers. I must say that sound pretty good, so if we are some music lovers we can them out enough performance. Of course, as I said before placing them where many put their hands when holding a tablet not I think a good idea.