Robo & Kala 2-in-1 Laptop review: This might be the best Windows 11 on ARM device yet

Iamdumbguy

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I strongly disagree with the point made about Windows on Arm performance. I have a SPX with SQ2/16GB/512GB. Even with ARM-compiled apps, performance is like a lowest-end mobile i5 processor from 5 years ago. App startup times are really bag.
 

Zac Bowden

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I strongly disagree with the point made about Windows on Arm performance. I have a SPX with SQ2/16GB/512GB. Even with ARM-compiled apps, performance is like a lowest-end mobile i5 processor from 5 years ago. App startup times are really bag.
The SQ2 is based on the last generation 8cx Gen2. The Robo & Kala is using the newer 8cx Gen3, which brought with it a major performance boost over the previous gen.
 

joshcsmith13

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Wait... you said, "The keyboard also doesn’t rotate all the way around because the keyboard hinge is made of hard plastic and isn’t able to flex around like that." Seriously??? I have to take the keyboard off if I want to use it like a tablet? I guess I'm just too used to the flexiblity of my Surface Go.
 
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Bryan Pruitt

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Really an excellent review, Zac. Thank you for your efforts!

As a disappointed lover of the MS ProX, I purchased one of these beauties last week (the first non-Microsoft device I've purchased in decades). I was so impressed I purchased a second one for my wife, who is out of control in love with it. In short, I feel very threatened.

Worse is the disparaging looks from our twin Go 3's left abandoned in the corner.

You stated the problems exactly: tinny speakers and fingerprints. But it seems lightning fast, and the display literally takes my breath away! I can't wait for the second generation!!!
 
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doomroot

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I recently bought this device based off the earlier WC article alerting on the summer deal they had going. However, two big missing features from this device that you would assume are there but are not and that @Zac Bowden does not highlight in the review:
- The windows feature to optimize the taskbar for touch when a keyboard is disconnected is completely missing. This should be a checkbox option in Windows settings but it's not there. The taskbar does nothing when you remove the keyboard. I contacted Robo & Kala support and they confirmed it's a missing feature and it's something they could possibly address in the future but I get the impression they're not really sure what I was talking about.
- This device should support Windows Studio Effects because of the 8cx Gen 3 processor. That's one of the big selling points of Windows on Arm devices, they're basically the only ones on the market with NPUs. This device does not have the eye-contact camera feature, the background blurring feature, or any audio noise-cancelling features. Also contacted support and received the same answer.
Big issues in my opinion and very surprised @Zac Bowden didn't mention them in the review. Perhaps something that he didn't notice right off the bat.

That being said I still like the device but very bummed it's missing this functionality.
 

ShinyProton

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I strongly disagree with the point made about Windows on Arm performance. I have a SPX with SQ2/16GB/512GB. Even with ARM-compiled apps, performance is like a lowest-end mobile i5 processor from 5 years ago. App startup times are really bag.
This is running on the significantly more powerful 8cx Gen 3.

I bought this computer at the ridiculous $599 price.
It is just insanely fast considering the form factor and the total lack of active cooling. The screen is absolutely gorgeous. The Windows Hello (face) login is instantaneous. And on top of this, the build quality and trackpad are top-notch. You can even update the SSD yourself.

It does have some minor quirks.
The keyboard cannot be angled when connected. The speakers could use some additional bass.
That's about it.

In the end, this little device gives the Surface Pro 9 (ARM) a run for it's money. At about 30% of the price.
If the device had enough exposure, no one in its right mind would buy a Surface 9 Pro.
 
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JTDraper

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Wait... you said, "The keyboard also doesn’t rotate all the way around because the keyboard hinge is made of hard plastic and isn’t able to flex around like that." Seriously??? I have to take the keyboard off if I want to use it like a tablet? I guess I'm just too used to the flexiblity of my Surface Go.
No, you can easily detach the keyboard, flip it around, and re-attach it backward, making it a perfect rear cover for a tablet.
 

csterns

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STAY WAY!!

I, too, purchased this device at $599 but quickly became disappointed for several reasons and requested a return. OMG! They DO NOT MAKE IT EASY!. After four emails with "Jane," each with a 24-hour turnaround time. Jane continuously wanted to solve a problem and failed to understand I DID NOT WANT the computer. I wanted to return it. Once I got through that gauntlet, we ventured further down the rabbit hole.

Jane then wanted me to complete a return request form with NO appropriate selection for "returning" the device, only repair issues. Then, they wanted FOUR images or files uploaded, which would NOT allow you to submit until you did. I finally printed out four of the same email requests to return the computer, uploaded them, and was able to submit the request. I then waited two days for a response.

Next, I received a response to verify the S/N by taking a photo of the back of the PC, which I then submitted. Shortly afterward, they requested I take a photo of the main body and submit it. After all of this, I finally received the return label.

The process took a week. THEY clearly DO NOT want you to return the device in spite of their website's 30-day return policy.

Overall, it was the WORST EXPERIENCE I've ever had dealing with a PC company in forty years. The PC is NOT worth the hassle—horrible, horrible speakers. Load time for websites took 7-8 seconds. I have 5 GB internet service.
 

Iamdumbguy

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STAY WAY!!

I, too, purchased this device at $599 but quickly became disappointed for several reasons and requested a return. OMG! They DO NOT MAKE IT EASY!. After four emails with "Jane," each with a 24-hour turnaround time. Jane continuously wanted to solve a problem and failed to understand I DID NOT WANT the computer. I wanted to return it. Once I got through that gauntlet, we ventured further down the rabbit hole.

Jane then wanted me to complete a return request form with NO appropriate selection for "returning" the device, only repair issues. Then, they wanted FOUR images or files uploaded, which would NOT allow you to submit until you did. I finally printed out four of the same email requests to return the computer, uploaded them, and was able to submit the request. I then waited two days for a response.

Next, I received a response to verify the S/N by taking a photo of the back of the PC, which I then submitted. Shortly afterward, they requested I take a photo of the main body and submit it. After all of this, I finally received the return label.

The process took a week. THEY clearly DO NOT want you to return the device in spite of their website's 30-day return policy.

Overall, it was the WORST EXPERIENCE I've ever had dealing with a PC company in forty years. The PC is NOT worth the hassle—horrible, horrible speakers. Load time for websites took 7-8 seconds. I have 5 GB internet service.
Did you buy from Amazon? I'd just use Amazon's return service.
 

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