Recently, I was looking for a cheap ultra-portable for my daily use at work. Currently, I already have a powerful laptop which is slightly bigger and heavier but I am looking for something light, thin and small yet good enough for basic task such as emails, browsing and watching videos. This would complement my main work laptop.
After so much consideration and in support of our local PC manufacturer, I decided to get the JOI Book Touch 300. It is made by SNS Network (M) Sdn Bhd which is based in Ipoh, Perak.
JOI Book Touch 300 Specifications:
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- Processor: Intel Celeron N4100 Processor (1.2Ghz-2.6Ghz, 2 cores, 2 threads, TDP 6W)
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600 (integrated)
- Display: 13.3″ Full HD IPS touchscreen (1920 x 1080 resolution), Model: CD116X40-DA
- RAM: 4GB LPDDR4 (single channel, 1200Mhz)
- Storage: 256GB M.2 2280 SATA SSD ( Model TEAM TM8PS7256G, Made by TEAM Group) + 32GB
- Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 Wi-Fi (2.4Ghz & 5Ghz) 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera Front: 2.0 MP
- Battery: 38Wh lithium polymer battery (Emdoor Li-ion Battery)
- Supports: 1 M.2 SSD (2280) bay, 1 Micro SD Slot, 1 USB Type-C, 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Mini HDMI
- Dimension: 319.2 x 210.4 x 15.6 mm
- Weight: 1.54 kg
- Warranty: 1 Year Limited
This is a very simple review based on my usage within a week.
5 things I LIKE about the JOI Book Touch 300:
I bought the JOI Book Touch 300 at RM1599 which is quite an acceptable price for the specifications on paper. It comes with a 13.3″ Full HD Touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 resolution and a JOI Active Pen Pro 300, 256GB M.2 SSD Drive, USB Type-C, Two USB ports, HDMI, Fingerprint sensor for easy Windows Sign In (Windows Hello), a free JOI-Intel branded backpack (looks premium) and a Logitech M170 wireless mouse.
Simple design & Light Weight
The design of the JOI Book Touch 300 is pretty simple and it doesn’t have that ‘cheap look’. This Ultrabook is 15.6mm thick and weighs about 1.5KG. You can also push the screen back, all the way (360 degree) and it becomes a tablet.
Ports available include 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 Mini HDMI. It can also read Micro SD card without the need of an adapter.
It takes around 30 minute to charge from below 20% to over 90%. The ultrabook does not get hot during this process.
Full HD Screen
The IPS Touchscreen is quite OK. Images are clear and the screen is really bright. Watching videos was smooth. I also like the screen resolution at 1920 x 1080 which is on par with other high end laptops. I didn’t had the time to test the JOI Active Pen Pro 300.
5 things I DISLIKE about the JOI Book Touch 300:
Fast Draining Battery
The main thing I am not happy with the JOI Book Touch 300 is the battery life. The unit is powered by a small 38Wh lithium polymer battery. On the JOI website there’s no mention on battery life. Based on my experience, the laptop battery drains from 100% to below 20% within 30 minutes when I continuously watched Youtube videos. Switching the power profile to best battery life does not make a difference. The JOI Book Touch 300 comes with a low powered processor and despite this, its unable to offer long hours of battery life. This is truly disappointing.
Super short Charging Cable
The laptop charging cable is not a standard one. In fact, its more of a wire, similar to an old phone charger. The wire is extremely short and you got to be near the power source (socket) to continuously use the JOI Book Touch 300 while charging it. You won’t able to do this on a standard Starbucks or a Coffee Bean table.
Very Slow Processor
The CPU on the JOI Touch Book 300 is an Intel Celeron N4100. Its extremely slow compared to the “I” series Intel processor so you won’t be to do any task quickly. Browsing on Chrome/Firefox can be slow if you open more than 3-5 tabs especially if you load a website with heavy content. While in power saving mode, you won’t be able to play smooth Youtube videos at 720p unless you connect to a power source. In power saving mode, the processor clocks at a maximum 800Mhz (even when you select the maximum performance in power settings).
Slow SSD and small amount of RAM
The JOI Touch Book 300 comes with a 32GB + 256GB M.2 2280 SATA SSD. The company claims that this M.2 SSD is free but its not really. The Windows 10 Home OS was preinstalled on the M.2 256GB SSD, making this the primary drive of the laptop. Its unclear why the 32GB storage even exist, perhaps for cheaper production cost in China?
Transferring data from my WD Passport External drive to the JOI Touch Book 300 took sometime. Transfer speed was only around 30MB/sec instead of a normal 80MB/sec on my other notebook.
The RAM is limited to just 4GB and with my basic usage, the unit is already using more than 3GB of RAM in most cases.
During the purchase, I asked SNS Network if I could upgrade the RAM and SSD storage at an additional price but they said no.
I’m not sure if the single channel RAM can be upgraded to a 8GB as I have yet to open up the unit. Doing this would void the warranty but I may plan to do it soon. Do ask me in the comment section if you want to know.
Poor Headphone Sound
The loudspeaker (powered by Intel Gemini Lake SoC) on the JOI Touch Book 300 was loud and I was impressed by it. But I immediately got disappointed with the poor sound via the headphone. The sound is clear but even at 100% volume, it wasn’t loud enough.
At the time of writing this, I have concluded that the JOI Touch Book 300 is not made for me. While the laptop looks good, it does not perform up to expectation. I wouldn’t mind the slow processor if the battery could have lasted a couple of hours.
In comparison to the JOI Touch Book 300, at the price range between RM1600- RM1800, I could find a 14″, i3 (Intel 8th Gen) laptops from HP and ASUS. Even the basic Microsoft Surface Go (smaller screen and 64GB storage) is price close to RM1800.
I honestly believe SNS Network tried to offer a good laptop at an affordable price, but it still has a long way to go. The PC Market is already crowded with so many brands and SNS Network (JOI) should think of ways to stand out and be different.
While I am not a PC/Notebook expert, I noticed that PC manufacturers have flooded the market with so many configuration but still lacks some important features such as built in mobile broadband (not widely available like Wifi) which is important for those on the go. I also observed that a huge number of the new laptops out there are powered by Intel while there are only a few AMD powered ones. There’s a lack of competition.
Moving forward, as this was my first experience with JOI, its likely I wouldn’t buy a JOI laptop for many years to come unless SNS Network could stand up to the big boys and show the world that we can be better than the other PC Manufacturers- Dell, HP, Lenovo, ASUS, Huawei, Apple, etc.
For now, I am going to put the JOI Touch Book 300 to sleep, for the time being. Guess I am going shopping again.
Any good ultraportables out there? Talk to me in the comment section below.