I’ve been a fan of Android since the beginning. While the phone experience has been solid lately, the tablet experience hasn’t been. While I thought it was ok, it really wasn’t. Jide has gone a long way to help this out with their version of Android, titled RemixOS with the Jide Ultra Tablet. It’s a winner.
Who is Jide?
First, a little background on Jide. Jide was started in Hong Kong by ex-Googlers Jeremy Chau, Ben Luk and David Ko. Jide aims to embrace mobile and to make a great change in the world to move away from the PC and they think Android is the OS that can do it.
The Jide Ultra tablet comes with a full HD 11.6 inch IPS display, Nvidia Tegra 4*1 A15 CPU, Tegra GPU GeForce ULP 72 graphics, 2 GB ram, 64 GB eMMC, a MicroSD slot that supports up to 128 GB MicroSD cards, Stereo Speakers, it supports USB On the Go and has a Microsoft Surface-like keyboard+trackpad. This tablet also supports miracast for sending its screen to WiFi based displays. The hardware is all in an enclosure that is a combination of plastic around the rim of the screen with the rear of the case being made from metal including its kickstand. All of this is great hardware for an Android tablet but it is the software that really makes the difference.
All About the Software: RemixOS
RemixOS is based on Android 5.1.1 or Lollipop with a Marshmallow based update coming soon. What Jide has changed the launcher so it works very similarly to Windows 10. It has a start menu, a notification area that pops out of the side and more importantly it has windowed applications. You can, for example, have both Facebook and Messenger up and on screen at the same time. This works with most apps I have tried and only has the occasional issues with some apps. Facebook, for example, works really well fullscreen, but when you launch it fullscreen then take it down to a Window the app has issues with this. To correct it, all I had to do was close Facebook in the windowed mode, then relaunch it and it’s back to normal. In fact, when you launch it in the Windowed mode, then take it full screen and back it actually works like it should. One other point regarding windowing is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to resize the window. It’s a phone sized window or fullscreen.
There are other niggles with some apps. I play Sim City Buildit and while it looks gorgeous on the screen, there’s no sound in the app. Other than those niggles, everything else I have tried seems to work.
It comes with Google Play services and has Gmail installed in the latest ROM, but it doesn’t have Google Calendar installed by default. It’s easily rectified by installing Google Calendar.
RemixOS is free to license. Examples of which I will mention later.
The USB support is quite good. I have attached a mouse to it, a thumb drive and a USB hard drive and most of them work. The only thing I have had an issue with is attaching NTFS or ExFAT formatted drives to it. It still recognized the drive. I haven’t tried to attach a printer to it as I have a WiFi based printer which supports Google’s Cloud Print. So I have been able to print from the tablet. USB microphones also seem to work, but only in a few apps. For example, a USB microphone will work in Audio Evolution (a Multitrack Audio Editor) and USB Recorder, but in like Skype, Mumble or Hangouts don’t support the USB Microphone. To be honest, that’s a minor complaint. I’ve been able to use a wired headset with Mumble just fine so it works for must of the needs I purchased it for USB wise. Oh and the Jide Ultra tablet can ALSO charge your phone from its 8100 mAH battery so if you have your Jide and your phone but your phone is running low, attach it to the Jide to get a boost to your battery.
The keyboard feels nice to type on, but I have two complaints with it. One is that it’s not really lappable, which the Surface is also plagued with. This actually will be resolved soon by Acer and other companies who are shipping RemixOS based devices in the near future. The most interesting of which is the Hybrx PC by Azpen Innovations which is currently on Kickstarter and is 129 percent funded. The base model of the Hybrx has an anemic 1 GB of ram and 16 GB of storage for 69 dollars when you back it on the Kickstarter. The $89 dollar level nets you a device with 2 GB of ram and 32 GB of storage when backed on Kickstarter. Unlike most Kickstarter projects, I think this one will be a success and I am backing it myself. I think the Hybrx will fix the lapability issue, but I ALSO like the Jide Ultra mostly because it can be used as a normal tablet as well. The most interesting thing about the Jide and this Hybrx as well as Acer shipping one based on Remix it really pushes that Android can be used for more than consumption. It can actually be used to be productive. Plus the Remix has also beat Google to the punch by enabling multi-windowed support which will ship with the recently named Nougat version of Android. I am so convinced that Android and Remix will be very good productivity tablets soon as I am actually writing this articlesolelyy with the Remix and using my phone to take the pictures and the Jide Ultra to add the watermarks.
One other device in Jide’s line is the Jide Mini which also runs on RemixOS. The Mini is essentially a mini PC running Remix. All you need is a monitor, a keyboard and mouse. The Mini is $89.99 via the Jide’s store.
What I Don’t Like: Getting Support
The Jide Ultra Tablet has one negative thing going for it and that is support. The Jide Ultra Tablet comes with a year warranty on the device. When I needed to get support when my keyboard had a pogo pin (Which is what makes the connection to the tablet). First they accused me of abusing the keyboard even though I’ve never dropped it or have been rough with it. Finally I was able to get them to replace the keyboard by sending a picture of the device. Buying a spare keyboard or other spare parts is next to impossible as it’s not even listed on their store. The same goes with the Surface like magnetic charger. Fortunately, the Jide can also charge from USB so if the magnetic charger goes I can charge it with the various chargers I have on hand.
One reason for this is that the only support is e-mail. They really need a voice line for support.
Also, both when I ordered the device and when I had the replacement keyboard shipped to me, I had to wait a while since Jide is based in Hong Kong. All shipments come from Hong Kong. So if you order one of these don’t expect to get it in 2 days via Amazon Prime.
The Jide Ultra tablet and RemixOS is a very compelling package. On no other tablet have I been able to be as productive as I am with the Jide and RemixOS. Even on the Asus TF101, which was my first tablet, I wasn’t as productive with it’s optional keyboard. While I think the Surface Book is a better package for more rounded productivity, the Jide is great for email, writing documents and blog posts, light picture and video editing as well as recording podcasts and other audio. If you are looking for something capable of running Adobe Creative Cloud go with the Surface. If your needs are less, then the Jide Ultra Tablet is a great device that can do 90 percent of what a PC can and that wasn’t the case early in the life of Android based tablets.
Source: Personal Purchase
What I liked: The changes Jide made to Android.
What Needs Improvement: Working with Support
Price: $359 on Amazon.com