Unless something changes, this is probably the final review for the NexPad Pro T530 business-class conference tablet. You can read my initial impressions here.
TL;DR – it’s a decent tablet, multiple power options, great camera you’ll struggle to recognize due to conference software generally optimizing for bandwidth and latency.
Update: after over a year there have been no updates to the operating system. It’s on Android 10. I have seen no security patches. I would feel safe saying this appears abandoned.
The T530 thinks it’s a Pixel. I’ve asked my contacts and received no updates as to whether this is going to change and it realize it’s a T530 (not a pixel,) but have not received a response. As an Android device, it’s a stock Android 10 device, pretty snappy, screen too big for a phone and too small for a reader (as well as the back being a large polygonal chunk of plastic.) It’s designed to work wired or wirelessly, with a charger or a power over ethernet cable, and has a variety of things that make it more attuned to business class customers.
The 4K camera is great, you know what’s not great? All video conference software will turn that 4K camera into low res garbage. It’s not the T530’s fault, but the 4K is overkill at the moment for anything other than recording video. The Kensington lock can ensure the NEXPAD Pro T530 doesn’t wander away as it is quite a chunk of change to be leaving out. Power over Ethernet abilities are a welcome IT thing.
After a month and a half in use
So I don’t video conference a whole lot. I really find it hard enough in an in-person meeting to keep my default resting bitch face attuned to something humans recognize as I am actually paying attention. That doesn’t mean I have to be nodding my head and trying to alternately look where the person is and then at the camera because it’s not the same place. With the T530’s smaller surface and with having the device I gave it more of a go and actually somewhat enjoyed video conferencing on the thing.
What I didn’t enjoy, and had to track down why it was so terrible was the audio. It wasn’t the T530’s fault, it was what was coming in from the other side, but you have garbage incoming and good speakers it garbages out. Unfortunately I’m going to have to see if there’s an Android equivalent of Krisp or something to shape some of this godawful input audio.
Let me stress, that’s a Zoom/Meet/Teams whatever problem but it is something I’d really love for them to have included an app for on the T530’s install as it’s like a knife to my eardrums – loud tinny microphone from across the world, someone who doesn’t understand they can speak in a normal human volume and not scream at their device, etc. Music and audio is great on this, tinny Zoom knife to the ears is not.
The lack of any software to make this a conference tablet or make it unique seems odd. The undocumented ports seem odd. The 4K camera on a device with limited storage capabilities and no expansion slot, seems once again odd. The lack of a built-in tilt management leg means you’ve got one angle it works at well without stacking coasters under the back.
Speaking of tilt management, you’ll notice on the front of the T530 there’s a volume up, down, and microphone off button. These get pressed. There’s no indicator that the mic is pressed. This came up in a zoom meeting after the unit had been moved to tilt it down and I was told I was muted, I wasn’t, we ended the call started another one, same issue, discovered that yeah, it was that button. Something your CFO’s going to need to be aware of – there will be options for zoom/teams mute, and for the device being muted. Don’t touch the mic button when moving the unit.
The HDMI-out location being on the left side or top (depending on orientation,) is more disappointing than I’d mentioned before. It just ruins the somewhat sleek cable managed aesthetic I was hoping to achieve. Turns the sleek NexPad Pro T530 into a random cable mess if you want to use a screen during presentations/meetings.
Coming in at $449 the T530 is priced for business. If you need Power over Ethernet, if you need a shared tablet, if you need a great camera and mic, this is a reasonable price.
If you need hidden HDMI-Out and the ability to PoE flush into a wall or re-angle it, this isn’t a good fit or price. I’m a little concerned about updates as well as I have not noticed any security updates to the OS appear since I have had the device. Devices in this price range tend to either have great software support or higher end specs, and the software right now is just a ROM that we hope updates.
As a chunk of hardware, other than the built in tilt and HDMI port positioning, I’m all in on this. As updates are something you’ll really really be needing down the line, no management software or anything that makes this look like anything but a stock install of Android, I worry a bit about how long we’re going to see this as more than an unpatched infection vector. But then again, maybe I’ve missed an update I’ll have to check when I’m back at the thing.
Opinions, everyone’s got one
You’ve got to want most of the hardware features to make it financially appealing. You’re going to have to locate some Android management software if you’re into the Kensington Lock angle to prevent it from being coopted to play whatever the 2021 version of Angry Birds is. The lack of branding makes it feel like a piece of hardware that was pitched by an OEM and picked up by NexVoo.
I stress I like the NEXPAD Pro T530, it’s a good device, it needs a couple of things to make it great, but that software (or lack thereof,) and no customization or security options beyond stock means it’s a really nice tablet with a prop and a couple of ways to power it.