In this post we round up some of the latest Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet reviews from well known technology sites and online publications.
Let us give you fair warning: not all of the reviews that follow are happy-happy, joy-joy. If you’re the sort of person easily riled by folks being less than complimentary about something Linux related, I suggest you close this tab now!
But for the rest of you content to look outside the narrow slip of positivity promoted by Bq themselves, you can glean the whole story, the full picture, and an assortment of other clichéd expressions.
If you’re currently debating whether to buy this device it is wise to take on board the practicalities of using it. Who cares if it might one day clean your kitchen, iron your clothes and feed the cat if it barely manages to look lively right now.
If there’s a review from a prominent site that we’ve missed do let us know about it in the comments and we’ll add it in.
“Fragile, Cheap Build Quality”
We’ll kick off the round-up with a knock-out. DigitalTrends pull zero punches in its M10 hands-on.
There are blows to the build quality — “fragile, cheap build quality” — and right hooks to the “shoddy performance” and “poorly optimised operating system”.
It makes for a less than easy read, and is, by clear marginm the most negative overview in this round-up. But it’s still a valid appraisal.
‘Using Convergence felt like asking for an Xbox One for Christmas, and ending up with socks’
Marketing for the tablet, both from Bq and Canonical, has put a lot of focus on the ‘convergence’ capabilities. Canonical claim it’s “everything you need from a PC, in a tablet”, that it “[has] all the power of a PC”, and so on.
But does it?
According to Digital Trends the answer is a flat ‘no’. Even a core aspect of convergence (using an external monitor) has its limitations, it seems:
“Using Convergence felt like asking for an Xbox One for Christmas, and ending up with socks. The first thing we noticed is the tablet’s inability to output beyond its native resolution when connected to an external monitor – a rather serious oversight.”
The subtle suggestion that you can expect to use all the apps you use on a PC is also incorrect.
It’s true that you can try to install additional x11 apps by switching to developer mode and getting jiggy at the command line, but this is arcane and techy, and there’s no guarantee that legacy apps will run.
There are also working limitations involved for legacy apps, even those that come pre-installed on the device, including no multi-window support, no on-screen keyboard, no copy/paste, small fonts, etc.
DigitalTrends touch on this aspect too, saying:
“If you’re purchasing the Aquaris M10 under the impression that you’ll have unfettered access to the complete Ubuntu desktop experience, don’t even bother.”
It’s not all bad news. The amount of ports gets a pass:
“Perhaps the best part of the Aquaris M10’s design is its generous incorporation of ports…”
As does the battery life:
“…battery life is one area that doesn’t appear to take much of a hit from the Ubuntu operating system.”
‘I’d wholeheartedly urge developers to buy it’
TrustedReviews is positive about the tablet in its review. In fact, the entire piece reads like a love-letter to it, praising the build quality, performance, and the ability to do everything form photo editing to writing blog post all on the one device.
Their verdict is a little more restrained, however:
“…while I wouldn’t recommend it as a purchase for regular consumers, I’d wholeheartedly urge open source developers and avid tinkerers to buy it.”
‘It’s a Work In Progress’
ZDNet’s terry Ralph-Knight is far more receptive to the device’s shortcomings.
Admittedly it helps that his ‘review’ reads more like a walk though of the tablet’s key specifications, but he does get stuck into trying out ‘convergence’, remarking:
“[It] still seems like a work in progress, and doesn’t always respond as expected — either due to bugs in the software, or to inconsistencies in the user interface. As a result, interest in this tablet is likely to be restricted to Ubuntu fans and determined early adopters.”
Terry is otherwise an optimist. He thinks most of the tablet’s current flaws ‘should be solved in the coming months’ — and he’s right to say that.
Ubuntu OTA 11 ships in early June and it brings a barrel of bug fixes to the M10 in particular.
‘A 5 Page Epic’
German tech giant Golem.de detail their experience with the tablet in an epic 5 page review.
I don’t speak German so any nuance in the report is lost on me, but through the power of Google Translate I can get a rough handle on what’s being said and glean, roughly, that the tablet disappoints at present but could be better one day.
Chris Hoffman serves up a measured, sober overview of the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition for PCWorld. I enjoyed the following quip over the difficulty of setting up development environment to poke around the system:
“You’ll [soon] be able to set up a development environment on a Windows 10 tablet with Ubuntu’s bash shell more easily than you can on Ubuntu’s device.”
Elsewhere it’s business as usual. The tablet’s specs are recapped, and the lack of polish, sluggish system performance and general rough edges, all touched on.
“The BQ Aquaris M10 is in an awkward place. It’s still too rough-hewn for the general consumer market, but it’s also not a good fit for Linux geeks who want to run the whole universe of Linux desktop applications and set up development environments with powerful command-line tools.”
Readers aren’t entirely sworn off of the device, but Hoffman cautions that you:
“…go in knowing exactly what you’re getting: a development platform that remains a work in progress.”
3/5 Star Review
French tech site TabletteTactile gives a more balanced verdict, describing the ‘concept of convergence devilishly seductive’.
The site was willing to overlook the current flaws based on the promise of improvements to come in future updates, and award it a 3/5 star review — not bad!