VOYO Winpad A1 Mini review: affordable 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet from a little-known Chinese company

VOYO Winpad A1 Mini

I’ve had a chance (thanks VOPmart) to review one of those small Windows 8.1 tablets though this one wasn’t made by a major corporation; rather, it’s coming from a little-known Chinese company called VOYO (or that’s just a brand some other firm is using). In any case, I’ve found it to offer quite a bang for the buck. I’m talking about $190 here, and you can hardly find any comparable device with such a low price tag. Alas, that comes with a caveat, cause if something goes wrong, you won’t be able to bring it to the local service center and would rather have to ship the tablet back to China for repair.

Anyway, here’s what the VOYO Winpad A1 Mini Tablet PC is all about:

SPECS

  • Intel 1.8GHz Baytrail-T Z3735D quad-core CPU
  • 8-inch 1280 x 800 pixels IPS LCD screen
  • 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot
  • 5-megapixel rear, 1.2-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity
  • 4830 mAh battery, works for up to 7 hours
  • Ports: 1 x micro USB, 3.5mm headphone, HDMI

DESIGN

As I’ve noted before, this is an affordable device and in that sense I haven’t expected it to look better than similar tablets made by the likes of ASUS, Acer, Lenovo or Toshiba. Nevertheless, the VOYO Winpad A1 Mini is decent looking, offering most of the ports you would need.

VOYO Winpad A1 Mini

Said ports and slots are all placed on the left side, and so is the lock/power key. On the top, there are volume buttons and the Windows key that will fire-up the Start Metro home. The back is where the camera resides along with “not that powerful” stereo speakers. Finally, on the front, you’ll find a 1.2-megapixel camera sitting left from the 8-inch IPS LCD pixels screen.

Size wise, the VOYO Winpad A1 Mini measures 216 x 130 x 9 mm (8.50 x 5.11 x 0.35 inches) and has a weight of 395 grams, making it comparable to other tablets in its category.

HARDWARE

The VOYO A1 Mini is powered by Intel’s Baytrail-T Z3735D quad-core chip clocked at 1.8GHz. During my time with the device, I haven’t had any performance issues. On the other hand, I haven’t installed Photoshop on the device nor I intend to. Simply put, this sort of tablets are not made to run big software.

That being said, provided 2GB of RAM seems enough to handle Windows 8.1 and run touch-enabled apps I’ve tried. The A1 Mini — and other 8-inch tablets for that matter — isn’t made to replace your main computer despite running full-blown Windows rather than Windows RT. You only get 32GB of internal storage, expandable with micro SD cards, which is everything but enough to install all the desktop apps you would need.

VOYO Winpad A1 Mini back

I can’t really say nice things about the camera; you can use it to take photos here and there, but chances are you’re much better off relying on your phone, instead. Front-facing camera will get you through the conference call, though.

The screen produces decent colors and it’s visible under different angles. It’s not as responsive (touch-wise) as I would want it to be, but it works. And even when it seems something’s wrong, I’m not sure whether I have screen to blame or too many apps running at any given moment.

Finally, one thing I really didn’t like – this tablet is charged with a proprietary cable and not micro USB. Why that’s the case is beyond me. You get that cable included in the box, BTW.

SOFTWARE

You get the basic Windows with the VOYO A1 Mini. There’s no bloatware to deal with — all you get is a standard set of Windows apps. You are free to download additional software from the Windows Marketplace.

VOYO Winpad A1 Mini apps

Microsoft is still struggling to get significant number of developers on board to make touch-enabled apps, but we’re sure that will be changed in the near future. Some of the major app makers like Evernote offer special “touch” versions that seam inadequate, to say the least. As a big fan of Evernote, I’m sad to say that the Evernote Touch app sucks big time; while editing a note, I couldn’t find a way to hide tags from the left part of the screen.

Most Windows apps don’t support the touch input, but as I said – we’re looking to see that changing soon. In the meantime, you’ll be using your finger instead of a mouse.

FINAL TAKE

VOYO Winpad A1 Mini delivers the goods for $190. In fact, I would say that any 8-inch Windows 8 tablet paid more is money thrown away. And it doesn’t have anything to do with devices, but Windows. Because most apps are designed to be used with a mouse, the touch-based input feels unnatural in most cases.

If you need a tablet for web browsing, checking your email and even some occasional writing — when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard — the Winpad A1 Mini is worth considering. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, after all. You can get it from VOP Mart, which was kind enough to provide me with this review unit…

VOYO Winpad A1 Mini

  • PeterSteinbeck

    Sounds like Asus/Acer just for less money…

  • Toni Lara

    Hi, nice review; thanks!

    I have one of these Voyo A1 Mini and just wanted to clarify that the microUSB is able to charge the tablet, but just at lower speed than the power charger. Also, the charger does not have a proprietary connector but a standard jack you can buy in many stores; and the charger has a voltage/amperage very common (I think is the same USB voltage but 2000mah), so it’s should be very easy to replace it.

    Anyway, the point is that you can charge the tablet using the power charger keeping free and available the microUSB to attach any device at any time.
    That was the BIG point when I decided to buy this table because all others machines I have seen (Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba…) lacked this possibility: if you want to charge, the microUSB cannot be used to anything else. Very very annoying!

  • Sizemo

    Also got one of these.

    As it already has been pointed out you can charge the device via USB. It is a feature, not a bug!
    I found this out accidentally ;-) I really like this feature. At home I can use the micro usb port to connect external devices while charging the device with the special power adapter. On the go I can just use the same micro usb charger as for my phone.

    Compared to the other 8″ windows 8 devices I owne(d) I found this device to be a bit on the sluggish side – although it features more or less identical hardware. So I checked the system settings and found that it only showed about 1GB of Ram available. So I checked the BIOS and saw thet someone (certainly not me) had set the device to assign 900 something MB to the integrated graphics card. Once I set this back to the 128MB the other devices assign to the gpu everything worked as supposed. So definitely check this out!

    It should also be pointed out that this device comes with Windows bing. While this still is a full windows without any limitations it does not include MS Office – in contrast to the 8″ devices currently sold by Dell, Toshiba or Lenovo. So if you need MS Office this device is actually more expensive due to the additional costs for the software license.

    I also own a Dell Venue 8 Pro and previously owned the Asus VivoTab 8 and the Lenovo Miix 2. Compared to these devices it has an inferior screen and far inferior camera. The screen surface feels kind of plasticy – like that of the Asus – and maximum brightness could be higher. Regarding colors and viewing angles there is nothing to complain about. Build quality is also decent. Not as good as the Dell, but on par with the Asus (in my personal opinion at least).

    So to sum it up: highly recommended if you are looking for a cheap win8 tablet and do not need MS Office.

  • Gregory C Newman

    How can you say it’s a waste of money. The device has Windows 8.1 store with touch friendly apps in it as time goes on more apps will be added to the Windows store People just have to be patient.

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