The Kata X1 was unveiled to me and a few other bloggers with oohs and ahs. I mean, the laptop looks like a normal-sized, 14-inch display version that would retail for P20,000 and or more; but this beauty is priced exactly for the budget-conscious user – students, entry-level corporate yuppies, homemakers, telecommuters, and the like. It’s even light a little girl can probably hold it with one hand.

RETAIL PRICE: ₱9,999.00

A few of us tech-minded bloggers were invited by Kata Philippines to their office. Having written about Kata products for the past few years, I’ve been a follower and a fan of their smart phones and tablets. I mean, for the budget-conscious many of their products packs a real bang for each buck, so to speak. So, that day’s request seemed like most times they would unveil a new phone.

Lo and behold – they brought out a really large box. “Holy cow! That’s not a phone?”

UNBOXING

Most of us unboxed the lightweight computing device right then and there. Inside the box were just three things:  the Kata X1 laptop, a thin user’s manual, and the power cord.

Note: You need to buy a plug-adaptor because the plug is British style: two horizontally flat terminals with a third vertically-shaped one. Good thing one of my power stations was ready for this kind of plug. Still, I had to visit TruValue hardware store to buy me a 70-Peso plug-adaptor.

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POWER UP

Some of us powered up the dang thing. It had about 50 percent power or more than four hours of usage time. When completely charged, the battery indicator of Windows 10 Home will display 10 hours of usage time. That estimation is dependent on how you use the Kata X1.

LIGHTWEIGHT

The Kata X1 laptop is made of composite plastic material (I’m not a chemist, so forgive my description) that makes it light in weight. The specs on the user’s manual says it’s 1.3 kilograms; well, I really don’t know how that feels but I can carry it using one hand without effort.

DISPLAY

The display is awesome bright and high-def in appearance. It’s good that Kata (the company) chose a 14-inch display than being another coming out with a clunky 10-inch version; the famous term for that years ago was “Netbook.” The screen section tilts a good 60-degree angle with 1366 x 768 resolution; and that’s an approximation as I didn’t have a protractor with me.

SOUND

Speakers are position on both sides of the chassis, which makes sound bounce off whatever surface the Kata X1 laptop is sitting on. I tried running one of my playlists on Spotify and it sounded just about right; nothing like a Harman Kardon but good enough.

KEYBOARD

The full QWERTY chicklet keyboard is evenly spaced, with humps on the “F” and “J” keys for real typists (like me). I always position my pointing fingers on the “F” and “J” keys – all the time – and the feel of typing without looking at the keys is just like any other good-sized laptop.

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TOUCH PAD

However, the touch pad is sensitive. If I rest the tip of my palms on the surface of the laptop, just by each side of the touch pad, there is a tendency that part of my palms, and maybe the base of my thumbs, might touch the touch pad and tada! The cursor is somewhere else! I tried looking for the settings of the touch pad on the Device Manager option of the Control Panel, usually under “Mice and other pointing devices,” but it isn’t there. So, there’s no way to adjust the sensitivity of the touch pad. The solution? Don’t rest your hand on the surface. Keep your hands raised slightly above the surface as you type. Yep, that’s the only answer I’ve found, so far.

BATTERY

So far, the battery life packs a good punch, so to speak. Like I mentioned, a fully charged Kata X1 laptop goes for 10 hours of estimated (maybe maximum allowable) usage. It will go down once you keep using the net all the time and your display brightness is maxed out. Oh, and also when you use it to charge your devices – I didn’t really try to test that one out but realized it later on that it was draining the life of the batter faster than you can spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I. LOL! Exaggeratingly speaking.

USB 3.0

That’s what the Version 3 of the two USB slots are – fast read and writes, and fast charging of devices. My iPhone, displaying 20-something percent battery life, was plugged to one of the USB slots. A good 10 minutes or so later and it was up at a little less than 50 percent. Wow!

MEMORY

If you’re looking for lots of local storage, this ain’t the device for you. It’s as lightweight as a non-power user would like it to be. 2GB RAM or ROM (however you geeks would like to call it) for the operating system components, and a 32GB memory for apps and files. That’s it! No HDD. No SSD. But it’s got USB slots for your external drives, and a microSD card slot for up to 128GB of external memory.

Note on ROM and RAM: My friend tells me, and the user’s manual also says so, that RAM is what you call the place for caching anything that’s running on the laptop, or 2GB RAM. For the place where you install and save all your apps and user files, 32GB in size, it’s supposed to be called ROM. Weird, I told my tech friend, because I was taught that ROM meant “read-only memory.” How could ROM be written over, erased when power is turned off, and then written over again when you switch on the laptop? I understand the RAM part, or “random access memory”, because it’s the part where you cache everything that’s running. Sigh. The world of smart phones, tablets and pseudo-laptops have just turned vernacular upside down.

WINDOWS 10 HOME

Like I mentioned (again), the Kata X1 laptop comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home Version 1709, or what Microsoft calls the “Windows Fall Creators Update.” If you would like to know more about version 1709, click to Microsoft Docs Site.

When you connect to the internet, be prepared for a Windows update. Oh, boy. This takes about a day and a half of updates, restarts, updates and restarts. Patience is key – you know very well this is normal for Windows. So, don’t blame Kata; ain’t their fault.

After the updates have died down, you will probably be left with 8GB or so of the 32GB memory. Have no fear! There’s a duplicate of the old Windows in your memory. You just have to delete that and all other temporary files (go to Settings > System > Storage > This PC > Temporary Files) and you’ll probably get about 6GB to 8GB more.

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OTHERS

In the next few days, some of us realized many things:

There are no Home, End, PgDn, PgUp, and NumLock keys.

You can toggle-on the on-screen keyboard from the Settings but it’s not an ideal solution. Still, you can minimize the on-screen keyboard when not in use, then open it when you want to use it. You can use both the actual keyboard and the on-screen version together. For example, you can hold down the CTRL key and click the Home on the on-screen keyboard. If you really need to have those keys, you’ll need to create a .ahk script to remap combination keystrokes.

This is a long-charging laptop; it takes a few hours to get it charged to full.

It’s a lot slower to charge the Kata X1 compared to today’s laptops, even powerful ones. I have an Asus i7 16.5” laptop and it will charge itself twice faster than the Kata X1. When 100% charged, estimated allowable usage time is 10 hours but that, of course, depends on how you use it. Connect it to the internet and set display brightness to maximum will lessen the amount of remaining charge-time (is that how they call it? LOL!)

You really need to buy a microSD card as your external storage.

Yes, you really have to buy one. I did because I know in a matter of a few weeks to a month or so of using it, I will completely use up what’s remaining on my 32GB memory. Don’t get me wrong; I use the cloud as my disk drive – OneDrive, Google, Mediafire, and so on. But sometimes, you just want it local. I’ve also began to install apps – Office 365, browsers, etc. Just don’t sync your OpenDrive like I tried to do. Oh, boy! I have Gigs of files in my OneDrive. Unsync it. So, I bought a 64GB and inserted it into the left-side slot.

These kinds of slots – toggle-in/toggle-out – have a tendency of accidentally being hit and swoosh! Out jumps your microSD card without you noticing it. Some geeks use a glue gun to dabble a little stickiness on the opening. Don’t use glue or epoxy as these are liquid-based.

Remember, this is 2GB ROM/RAM/whatever machine.

Do not open apps like you’re using a 4GB or 8GB RAM laptop. You will notice response will lag behind your expectations when you’ve got too many apps open. Use at most three or four apps at a time, or one really big app and two smaller ones. Using Word, Excel and Powerpoint all at the same time will diminish the 2GB and, well caching, Windows isn’t the greatest O/S in caching.

SPECIFICATIONS

The Inexpensive Kata X1 Laptop for the Budget-Conscious User Specs

RECOMMENDATION

BUY! If you want something beyond the tablet but priced at a four-digit currency amount, this is a quick reco. The full QWERTY keyboard and 14-inch display is already a huge plus. Performance depends on how you intend to use the Kata X1 laptop. I wrote this blog on the Kata X1 using Microsoft Word from my Office 365 license. I had Microsoft Edge, Windows Explorer, Command Prompt (I need a continuous ping to a website to check if I’m connected to the internet), Firefox (about three tabs only), Microsoft Word (one document open – this one), Microsoft Excel (one spreadsheet open – the specs table), Microsoft Powerpoint (the title phone) and Task Manager. With these, my memory usage of the 2GB is at 1.7GB and about 4.1GB of the committed 5GB using the 32GB as cache.

However, prepare to invest a little bit more on a good microSD card, on top of the ₱9,999.00 price tag of the Kata X1 laptop. I bought my 64GB Class 10 SanDisk-brand microSD card for ₱1,450. Other stores sell it higher; the adjacent store from where I bought mine was selling the same thing at ₱1,800. Tip on buying a SD cards: you have to test them before using it. In my experience, probably 1 out of 20 times, when inserted, it will read “corrupted.” So, buying online? Make sure there’s a money-back guarantee; otherwise, dress up, go out and buy from a brick and mortar.

Plus the ₱70 plug-adaptor, YOUR TOTAL BILL comes out to ₱11,519. Still way down the usual ₱20,000 mark for a 14-inch display with a 1.8 Ghz quad core laptop, right?

HOW TO PRE-ORDER

The Kata X1 laptop will be released starting March 23rd of this year. In the meantime, you can pre-order it through any of the KATA stores, nationwide.

  1. Go to the nearest KATA store. Here’s the list of stores: https://secure.katadigital.com/ph/index.php?route=store/store
  2. Pay ₱200 to reserve your unit. Of course, you’ll get a receipt for that plus it will be deducted from the ₱9,999.00 price tag.
  3. Come back on March 23 (or later) to get your brand new Kata X1 laptop. Woohoo!

Sorry but there are no online reservations available.

TADA! Enjoy your KATA X1 Laptop soon!

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All photos owned by @raffypekson.

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