Although the Novatech nTablet also comes in an Android version, the model we tested only had Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed. Windows 7 may be more touch-friendly than previous versions of Microsoft's operating system, but it certainly doesn't do the job half as well as Android or the Apple's iOS.
Many of Windows' menu options are far too small to hit accurately, while simple actions such as minimising a document or browser window can take a couple of prods. We were never enraged by this usability issue, but it detracts from the user experience and makes you long for the slick interface of the iPad.
However, at least we can't fault the Novatech nTablet's touchscreen for these issues, because it proved highly responsive at all times, whether we were playing games or browsing the web. Scrolling through eBooks or web pages is a smooth experience, and multi-touch is supported so you can zoom to your heart's content.
The only issue we had was when we attempted to scroll left and right on some web pages, because the usual finger-flick simply selects a body of text instead. We had to use the scroll bar at the bottom of the window, which proved fiddly.
Entering text is a fairly painless experience, since the Novatech nTablet's on-screen keyboard can be brought up at any time by flicking it from the edge of the desktop. If you encounter a text box in a web page simply tap on it and a keyboard icon will appear, and a swift prod of that will also bring up the keyboard.
We found our every keystroke was recorded accurately, even when typing at speed, and the keys flash as you poke them to show you what you've hit. The only exception is when you type in passwords, which confused us for a moment – we thought the whole lot had frozen on us.
However, you don't get any of the autocorrect options that the likes of the Google Android keyboard provides, and we still much prefer typing on a physical board.
Novatech hasn't given Flash the two-fingered salute like Apple has, so the nTablet lets you stream video from the likes of BBC News, YouTube and 4OD. We had mixed results, unfortunately, with occasional pauses and glitches during playback of high-definition video that interrupted our viewing. It's bearable, but once again detracts from the overall experience.
This stuttering is also a problem when running too many applications at once. The Intel Atom N455 processor does an admirable job of handling Windows 7, but crumples into a sweaty heap when you try anything resembling multi-tasking. Browsing the web while other programs chug away in the background is a stilted affair and not recommended.
Thankfully we had no trouble running simple games such as Plants Vs Zombies, which worked well thanks to the Novatech nTablet's responsive touchscreen. However, the integrated graphics are limiting and you won't be able to run anything more complex.
A battery life of 165 minutes is just about enough for the daily commute but we really expect a lot more from a portable device such as the nTablet. You'll have to pack the charger on trips and pray your chosen mode of transport has a mains socket, or you'll soon be carting around a very expensive paperweight.