Good hardware, a little underpowered

Trekstor’s Primetab S11B is a Windows 10 tablet computer release in the end of 2019. It has a metal body and comes with a good keyboard cover. The device is powered by a Celeron N3350 dual core CPU, has 4 GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage. Neither RAM nor storage can be upgraded. The resulting performance, be it in Windows or Linux, is not good but casual surfing the internet and office work is no problem. Overall the device is a budget tablet with good quality.

EFI boot with Secure Boot as a option

The device boots only EFI capable operating systems. Secure Boot can be turned off in UEFI (BIOS) to support unsigned Linux kernels. I was able to boot Fedora 31 Ubuntu 19.10, and Manjaro (18.1.5).

Not yet fully supported

The S11B has some components inside which are not yet fully supported by Linux distributions. The biggest difference to traditional laptops is the presence of multiple i2c (Inter-Integrated Circuit) computer buses. The touch-screen (goodix) and many other devices are connected through i2c.

When testing the S11B, I had to deal with the following issues: Screen orientation upside down, touch-screen driver crashing when suspending the tablet, no webcam found. On my Github page I started a repository with documentation and tips how to fix these issues. In the future newer Linux distros should be supporting the tablet out of the box.

Light and shadow

There are some things the S11B is really good in when running Fedora 31 Linux. First of all I like to mention the keyboard cover. In my opinion it offers a really good keyboard, and it is the main feature that makes Linux usable on this device. To this day Linux has a really lousy touch-screen support. One of the main reasons for this is that the different desktop environments use different libraries and standards. While in Gnome all native apps and functions work smoothly with touch-screens, the big browsers only support some touch-screen features. The Firefox window, for example, cannot be dragged on the desktop, and Chromium loses focus on input fields when the on-screen keyboard is invoked.

In general the S11B is performing OK but starts to stutter during video playback in high resolution. Also, some applications can cause the device to freeze for multiple seconds. The reasons behind this is mostly the CPU that is on its limits. Here is an example how CPU utilization is when starting Chromium, opening Youtube and running a video:

What works excellent is the Wi-Fi. The device can deal with weak signals and very busy public networks. Also very good is the battery. Depending on what you are doing, you can expect multiple hours of battery life.

I tested the device with Fedora Linux 31 installed for multiple weeks and used it to listen to music (with headphones), chat on Telegram and read and write emails while the device was standing on my work desk. For these tasks the S11B is perfect. I also used the tablet on the sofa without the keyboard cover to watch videos on Youtube and read news on the Internet. Its possible but not a very enjoyable task, mainly because of the limited touch support on Linux and the bad speakers.

My verdict

The S11B is a good piece of tech but underpowered. I cannot understand why Trekstor did not opt for a better CPU and a real SSD. For about 299 Euros you will get a Windows tablet for your basic tasks but not more. Linux can be used too, but is only usable with the keyboard cover because of the lack of touch-support.

If you like to learn how Fedora Linux can be run on the S11B, you can check out my GitHub repository: https://github.com/bedawi/trekstor-s11b

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