RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1 Hands On: $250 Tablet/Laptop

by Reads (5,834)

Even an inexpensive tablet can be converted into a laptop with a clip-on keyboard, and people who want a budget model designed for this from the ground up should consider an upcoming RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1 with a 12.2-inch touchscreen and Android 7.0. We were able to get some hands-on time with a prototype at CES 2017.

Build and Design

RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1

RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1

The tablet portion of this computer will be 11.8 X 8.1 X 0.3 inches. These dimensions are mostly being determined by the full-size screen, though there will be some significant bezels.

The RCA prototype we tested felt very lightweight. The downside of this is it didn’t feel tremendously robust. Of course, it IS a pre-production model.

Screen

A 12.2-inch display should make this tablet considerably more useful than smaller Android models, especially as it will support Google’s new multi-window system. The 1920 x 1200 resolution will give it a pixel density of 185 ppi, which is acceptable… especially for a model in this price range.

The IPS screen was bright and easy to use, even in the difficult lighting conditions of CES.

Ports, Speakers, and Cameras

The designers of this RCA model didn’t skimp on the ports. There will be a microSD card slot for memory expansion, a full-size USB 2.0 Type-A port for accessories, and a micro-USB port for charging. A mini HDMI port will be included, as well as a standard headset port.

Dual stereo speakers will be placed on the top edge.

Pictures can be taken with a 5 MP rear camera, and there’ll be a 2 MP front-facing one.

RCA 12.2" Android 2-in-1

Ports on Right Edge of RCA 2-in-1

Keyboard and Trackpad

The very similar RCA 12.2-inch Windows 2-in-1 will be bundled with a clip-on keyboard, but this Android model will come with a folio keyboard. This will be 11.8 X 8.1 X 0.4 inches.

We did some preliminary testing of this keyboard and found that it to be about average for a tablet keyboard; there were no issues with sticking keys or dropped letters on the prototype.

Many people probably aren’t aware that Android sports built-in support for mice and trackpads. This inexpensive computer will take advantage of that with a trackpad built into the folio.

RCA 12.2" Android 2-in-1

Folio Keyboard

Performance

The RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1 will be powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core MTK 8163 processor, with 2 GB of DDR3 RAM. This is definitely a low-end configuration, but then the hardware requirements for Google’s operating system and standard applications are fairly minimal. We had no complaints about the performance of the prototype we tried out a CES, but only more time with a shipping unit can give us the full picture.

A 64 GB eMMC will provide built-in storage, and microSD cards can expand this. Recent versions of Android allow these removable cards to function like built-in capacity. USB drives can also be plugged in.

The prototype we tested runs Android 7.0 Nougat, so it supports Google’s new system for displaying multiple applications side-by-side. This is an area where we’re concerned about this 2-in-1’s low-end processor, which might bog down trying to handle two apps at a time.

Battery Life

The manufacturer promises the 7500 mAh lithium-ion battery will provide up to 8 hours on a single charge. This is a claim we hope to test for ourselves in a full review.

RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1 Preliminary Conclusion

The RCA 12.2-inch Android 2-in-1 will have a $249.99 MSRP, which would be a good deal for a 12.2-inch tablet, and the folio keyboard is bonus. This device is shaping up to be an acceptable option for a school computer, or someone’s second PC.

However, we will only be able to tell of this RCA-branded computer lives up to its potential in by putting it through a full review.


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3 Comments

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  1. Zeromus

    Is there any word on if this tablet can be used with a wireless Bluetooth mouse for further laptop-like functionality? I know that Android 7 is a more robust OS but wasn’t sure if any kind of “cursor” recognition is built in.

    • Ed Hardy

      I can’t 100% confirm this with RCA’s upcoming 2-in-1, but Android OS has built-in support for Bluetooth mice–connect one and an on-screen cursor appears–so there’s much reason to believe this model will be able to use a wireless mouse.

      If not, you can always hook up a USB mouse via an adapter cable for the micro-USB port.

  2. Zeromus

    Thank you, Ed Hardy, for the information. That’s good to know. I need something “portable” and “affordable” and this would seemingly fit the bill.

    As an aside, I read your piece on the RCA Windows 2-in-1 that you covered at CES. Unless I missed something, the Android and Windows versions seem to be identical, minus operating system and a bit more power/performance for the Windows variant, no? Is there any word if the Android variant would eventually get the same power/performance boost as their Windows version?

    Just curious.