There are some concerns (discussed below), but for the most part it is a great tablet. If you are familiar with Windows (specifically Windows 8), you shouldn’t have any trouble getting it set up and personalizing it the way you want it. If you are not familiar with Windows 8 and have never used a touch tablet before, please allow yourself a little time to get used to it. Realize that a tiny bit of frustration is normal while you are learning. Then, when you get the hang of it, you will really enjoy the tablet.
This article covers a basic walk-through of the set-up process along with some suggested applications to get you going. Obviously we don’t cover every application available, but it should point you in the right direction to more applications. Once you find those settings that fit like a glove and the applications that you want, you will have the ultimate personalized iRulu tablet experience.
At First Glance – Unboxing and Starting the iRulu WalknBook
The Entertaining iRulu
There are many different ways to entertain yourself with the iRulu. A couple of obvious ones are the built-in (pre-installed) Xbox Video and Xbox Music. With these two applications, you can access almost anything you would want to watch or listen to, while using your iRulu tablet.
Also, another advantage is the ability to connect with your friends through Xbox, making this a truly engaging experience.
Gaming with the iRulu
I am not a gamer, exactly, though I have a lot of respect for the benefits (and fun!) of gaming. One of the advantages for gamers is the level of engagement that it offers, when ones to participate with others. I even wrote an article on that, at SocialNomics.net. Since I am an admitted non-gamer (but may decide to become one!) I used helpful sites like PlayerX.co.uk, and of course, Dragon Blogger to help understand the process. That said, iRulu is a great size and fit for any games that I may want to try on my Windows 8.
Fortunately for you, you can find all sorts of gaming reviews here, on Dragon Blogger! For the list of current reviews, visit this page on dragonblogger.com. If it is a game that works on Windows 8, you may be able to install in on your iRulu tablet. Don’t forget to visit the DragonBlogger YouTube channel to watch great review videos and how-to tips for your favorite games, or your future favorite games for your iRulu tablet. Also, when it comes to installation, be sure to listen to the part about the Microsoft Store and local installations on your iRulu tablet, in case it applies to your situation and table (video on this page).
Using Your iRulu for YouTube Fun
I am really into YouTube. Yeah, that is no secret. As you can imagine, one of the first apps that I went to install was a YouTube viewer. I installed and reviewed three different apps (two free and one for $2.49). While they are all adequate, the one that I found to be the best was one called myTube. However, something changed since my review (more details, below).
myTube (Deborah’s review is included in the video, above)
Before I start, let me explain something about myTube. First of all there are TWO apps called myTube. If you search for it on Google, you are likely to find the wrong one. Also, when I first wrote this article, I found myTube via the Microsoft store, on my iRulu. However, when I received the replacement iRulu (more on that at the end of this review), I went to install my favorite app and it was not there! It was difficult to obtain, but I am providing you with the instructions on how I found it again. But, first, a little more explanation…
The “wrong” myTube: Ok, you may like this one better, but I downloaded it and, sorry programmers, it didn’t impress me that much. It is published by Ryken Studio and it costs around 99 cents. Go ahead and get that one, if you prefer it (there is a trial version available so you can decide before you buy). However, I am really in love with the other one, the “right” myTube.
The “right” myTube (covered in this review): It is published by One Tap Mania and it is actually free. The cost is not the sole reason why I love it. I would pay $5 for this one because I like it that much! And no, no one paid me to say that. If they had, I would already know where to find it instead of researching how to get it back on my new iRulu. :)
Some of the benefits of this application:
- Lightweight – it loads faster than the other YouTube applications that I tried.
- Background playing – myTube plays the video in the background so you can keep on working or playing and view the vid in the upper corner.
- Pretty much anything that I wanted to do, I could do with this application. In fact, I dare say I actually preferred this particular interface over the web version! (Sorry, Google.)
As we mentioned, this app is no longer available on the Microsoft store. I spent about five hours researching this topic. That is how much I love this app and wanted to install it on my replacement iRulu. However, my particular iRulu with the Windows 8.1 does not allow what is called “local installs.” From the research I did, it appears that it is possible on the version Windows 8.0. Also, I’m curious if this unavailability is a temporary thing and also whether local install will be available when I upgrade to Windows 10. In the meantime, if your tablet allows local install and if you want this app, you can download it here at the bottom left of the page. Right below that, there is a link to “Learn more” which provides instructions on how to manually install on the Microsoft phone. These instructions can be adapted for the iRulu WalknBook if the version of your OS allows “local installs.” It is very likely that your WalknBook does not allow for these installs, but you may want these instructions if you upgrade and/or the functionality becomes available again.
If you are a risk-taker and a little bit geeky and technological, here are some articles that you may want to read to try performing a local install with your iRulu WalknBook. Use at your own risk! Dragonblogger.com doesn’t take any responsibility if you “brick” or “break” your tablet :)
- Windows Phone 8.1 tip: How to side load and install .xap apps and games from SD Card (PC World).
- Windows Phone 8.1 tip: How to side load and install .xap apps and games from SD Card (Windows 8 Core)
The other apps that I checked out are listed below, complete with links to those who have used these apps more extensively.
Even More Social Media Fun on Your iRulu Tablet
- Pinterest Explorer 2015 (Review)
Streaming Television and Movies
Obviously, viewing anything streaming is dependent on your Internet connection – specifically your speed. That said, iRulu has the capability of streaming, using some great applications to do your watching, available via the Microsoft Store.
Netflix and Hulu Plus
I combined these (Netflix and Hulu Plus) together in this section, because really, the applications worked well on iRulu. No complaints. Since the iRulu is pretty lightweight, it is enjoyable to watch movies in your favorite chair, or even in bed, right before an afternoon nap. Believe me, if you are going to have something fall over on you, this tablet would be more desireable than a large, heavy laptop!
The choice of whether to install Netflix, Hulu Plus, or both onto the iRulu device has more to do with the available shows and what you like, or would like to, watch. The best way to decide is to visit the web sites and decide on which service. It doesn’t hurt to install both of them on your iRulu so that you are ready.
I sometimes like to watch series and purchase them through Vudu. I was a little disappointed that there was not an app in the Microsoft Store (that I could find) for watching Vudu movies and TV shows on the iRulu. Obviously, that is not iRulu’s fault, by any means. Then again, since you can purchase them, maybe it makes more sense to worry less about the app. After all, you could just watch them with XBox Video, on your iRulu. Fortunately, too, the web version did work. So, you can still watch Vudu, but you need to login to your account via the web, on your iRulu tablet, instead of an application. Or, login and download them so you may watch offline.
There is a “Vudu To Go” available for Windows 8. Here is a review on that app. It is an old review, but may give some insight on whether you want to try the Vudu TO Go or watch the shows/movies on the web or offline.
Note: I haven’t personally done the Vudu download/offline method as I use Netflix and Hulu instead.
CBS All Access
The CBS All Access app was suitable. It worked as well as could be expected. The only reason that I discontinued using it is because of the cost. It is very inexpensive at about $5 per month, but most of the shows that I really like are available on Netflix or Hulu Plus. Another thing is that CBS All Access sometimes only shows a few episodes, whereas Netflix, especially, is more likely to give you the entire show (all seasons). So, for the ROI (return on investment) I found that having Netflix and Hulu Plus (and even Vudu) was a wiser choice for me.
While it is true that previous experience with iRulu products does not factor into the review of this particular product, the interaction and experience with the company does impact the success (and longevity) of this particular product and its overall rating.
First, as a bit of history, I purchased 4 iRulu devices in December 2014. Fortunately, 3 of those devices still work. The more expensive of the four, (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MUNTYHU?tag=deborahdb-20) ceased to work on the last day of the 30-day warranty). There were no error messages, just stopped working). The initial thought was that “life happens” and there are sometimes defective items. Fortunately, Amazon came to the rescue with rectifying the situation of loss and refunding 75% of what we paid. Had we followed the advice I provide to you, below, this may have been a case of a 100% refund and nothing lost.
The WalknBook that I reviewed for this article also had issues. First, it had a defective power adapter. iRulu was kind enough to send out a replacement power adapter. Then, after two days of fussing with the WalknBook, it was determined that it was not behaving properly and returned to iRulu.
Now, let’s pull this in with the history, for the dependability rating. While I have nothing bad to say about the customer service, what is bothersome is that out of 6 devices (four purchased; two provided by iRulu), two of them were defective. That is a 33% defective rating. That defect rating does not include the defective power adapter, just the overall devices.
What does that say to you? That says that out of every 3 purchases with iRulu, there is a chance that one of them will be a glorified paperweight. My advice to you is to ensure that you keep receipts, original shipping material, box, shipping box, printing labels, packing slips, and everything you can so that you are prepared for a return and request for replacement or refund. This is a good practice with any purchase, but especially essential for iRulu products (based on this 33% calculation, in our experience).
A couple of additional notes on the subject: First, six experiences is not enough to come up with the 33%. However, it cannot be denied, either. This is why it is a cautionary suggestion. It is not necessarily a reason NOT to buy an iRulu (They really are cool!), but it is a little too common for me, as a buyer, to have a level of confidence that an issue will not occur. Even as I used the second iRulu, I kept wondering when it was going to fail on me. That uneasiness, no matter how much I try to psych myself into saying everything is fine, detracts from the positive user experience. Fortunately, as time passes and there are no significant issues with the tablet, that uneasiness begins to fade.
Use the iRulu “hard” for the first few weeks. If it survives, you probably have a good device and can continue to use it indefinitely (however long tablets last).
All in all, I’m looking forward to using the iRulu more and more. I am actually a Mac user, but I sometimes miss having a Windows machine around, so this iRulu really hits the spot. It is perfect for all of you Windows users and even for us Mac users who like to have our hands on a little bit of everything. For the price, it is exceptional and I would be tempted to give it a 5+ rating. For the dependability issue, it should be a 3, but because of that 5+ I split the difference at a rating of 4. What does that say for you? You should be able to have a 5+ experience as long as you save all that receipt and packing stuff in the back of your favorite storage closet.
Oh, and stay tuned. I had so much fun that you can expect a follow-up or two (or three or four) on other tips on how to use this fun tablet!