Fighting valiantly against its limitations, the S1080 does what it can to make Windows 7 work on a tablet via touch.
Tablets using Windows 7 always struggle with Windows 7’s lack of touch optimisation, and while more successful than most the Gigabyte S1080 still struggles. It’s bulkier than other tablets, weighing 895g and measuring 14.94mm thick, but that’s because a Gigabit Ethernet port prevents it being slimmer. The black metal backing plate, plastic silver edging and matte 10.1in (1,024 x 600 resolution) capacitive screen are business-like, but it isn’t a pretty tablet.
Gigabyte has added a pointer/button device on the right of the screen that together with the left and right mouse buttons on the left of the screen help overcome Windows 7’s limited touch optimisation. There’s also four touch buttons on the left of the screen that allow for scrolling up and down, calling up the keyboard or going back in a browser. They improve the overall experience, but it’s still incomparable to iOS or Android 3.1.
Powering the S1080 is an Intel Atom N570 processor and 2GB of RAM, and although performance is mostly fine it did occasionally become sluggish. Storage is taken care of by a 320GB 5,400rpm hard disk drive, which provides more storage than solid state drives but also increases the S1080’s weight. Battery life is about four hours, which for a tablet isn’t particularly good.
Apart from the Gigabit Ethernet port there’s a display port, USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 port, SIM card slot, SD card reader and a pair of audio jacks. A 1.3-megapixel camera isn’t too impressive, but the stereo speakers are competent. Network connectivity is good, and includes Bluetooth 3.0 + HS, b/g/n Wi-FI and 3.5G WWAN. The included faux leather stand/cover is great, and the closing flap doubles as a cleaning cloth.
Although the S1080 has done a lot right, it’s still essentially fighting tooth and nail against the lack of touch optimisation in Windows 7. There are some users that specifically need Windows 7 in a tablet, and for them the S1080 is a genuinely excellent product. For everyone else, the S1080 simply can’t compare with the iPad 2 or any of the growing number of Android Honeycomb tablets.Available from Gigabyte, retailing for $699
.APC rating: 7/10