Linx 8 review : A Windows 8 super low budget device that is ready to take on the big boys.

While looking for a ultra portable device for the daily commute I found myself looking at a plethora of tablets, phablets and laplets to find something that would tick all my boxes. The Linx 8 device brings huge value for money and is a gatway into the Windows 8 market. The current slew of Windows 8 devices can be a little daunting at first sight, as Microsoft’s surface range takes up a big section of the market, so looking at the other manufactures is not a bad thing. The tablet that took my interest was the Linx 8 as it brings huge value for money and is a decent portal to the Windows 8 market.

Windows 8 Unlock Screen

Windows 8 Unlock Screen

On sale via Sainsburys in the United Kingdom, I’ve been looking at the £89 device to see if it can stack up against the never ending Android tablets and Apple’s iPad.

The Specs

         

It won’t be breaking any processing records, but there’s more than enough power for decent browsing and media playback, Device materials and the quality of the build make this something special, The specs below are as tested.

·       CPU: Intel Atom quad-core at 1.83GHz

·       GPU: Intel HD at 311MHz (base), 646MHz (burst)

·       Memory: 1GB 1333MHz DDR3L

·       Storage: 32GB Toshiba eMMC NAND

·       Display: 8-inch IPS, five point multi-touch, 1280×800

·       Dimensions: 215 x 125 x 8.9mm

·       Weight: 377g

·       Camera: Front and rear-facing 2.0 megapixel camera, 720p video at 30fps

·       Other Features: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Micro USB, Micro HDMI, G-Sensor, Office 365 Personal 12-month subscription, 1TB OneDrive storage

 

Like most of the tablets that float around this price point, they will be using the Intel Z3735G processor, which lacks support for 2GB DDR 3 ram, but not to worry here as the device has 1GB of DDR 3 ram. This tablet looks primarily designed to be used as a traditional tablet and not as a laptop alternative. For me the display really does hold its own. This tablet is equipped with a 8 inch IPS and LCD screen. It has a resolution of 1,280 by 800 pixels. This measures out to 188 PPI pixels-per-inch (PPI), which is about average for a tablet display. It supports a second display via a mini HDMI port. Video playback is crisp and stutter less when playing HD MKV files.

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 First Boot and Impressions

 The unboxing was fairly straight forward, included are the essentials to get you up and running out of the gate. The device comes with some Windows 8 blurb with I swiftly threw  away.

 The screen is fairly glossy but has a reflective display which could get very troublesome when outside, unless the brightness is able to counter act this. I can also tell that this screen is going to pick up every finger print that it catches.

 When powering on the device the tablet looks to be pre charged at about 70%, which saves the effort of fumbling about for a wall socket.

 Upon first boot up, the Linx logo appears  with the Windows 8 swirl showing that the device is doing something; the device goes through the normal Windows 8 setup, which includes Date/Time/Region/Colour Options/PC Name etc. If connected to your wireless network you can sign in to your Microsoft account, it will pull down any settings that have been setup on other devices. All in all, the automated configuration took 5- 7 minutes.

As soon as you boot in you are shown the Windows live tiles. Swiping from left to right I was very impressed with how snappy the device responds to my input. It seems very smooth when navigating through the UI. The only downside, as with most devices, is the amount of bloatwear installed but removing this was easy.

There are no physical buttons on the front of the device just a capacitive touch button, which is placed neatly underneath the windows logo. As with most devices, minimal buttons on the front creates a universal appeal, largely owing to the fact that buttons will distract your eye while watching full screen video playback. As with most devices the minimal buttons on the front has a nice universal appeal. On the side of the device you will find the on/off botton and volume buttons. Once all was set up, I navigated to YouTube and selected a HD video to playback and it was perfect. I did experience a slowdown at one point but believe this to be as a result of my network rather than a fault of the device.

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How Well does it work?

 

After 4 weeks, everything about the device is just right. The only thing that keeps on niggling itself is the speaker placement. If I were to place this on my desk and open up Spotify the sounds becomes very muffled because of the speaker placement.

I have found that the front facing camera is good for the device, I tend to Skype quite a lot on this device while I work away on my laptop and have had no complaints.

It feels like the Linx 8 has more potential than an Android tablet, and it could match the iPad range for functionality (albeit leaning heavily on Windows 8/Desktop apps that aren’t custom designed for the touch-focused Windows 8).

It doesn’t have quite enough power in the Intel Atom Baytrail CPU to go all out on the Windows 8 experience, but there is enough capacity in the chipset that it can implement the Windows 8 touch experience competently and run the first-party apps at a good speed.

The UI does feel a touch cramped, both in the eight-inch screen and in the lower pixel resolution offered by the hardware but that lower capability is a big reason why the cost is as low as it is, which gives the Linx 8 a huge amount of potential as a tool that can be used by everyone.

Finial Thoughts

From a purely tablet point of view there are issues (lower battery life than other tablets, a reliance on Microsoft’s cloud services, and the still-awkward change between the touch based environment and the old Windows desktop for legacy apps) but the Linx 8 could easily be a cheerful addition to your Microsoft focused life.

I doubt that anyone is going to make the jump to Windows 8 because of this tablet, but if you are already in the ecosystem and looking for a portable client you can throw in your bag and always have to hand, then the Linx 8 is well suited to this task.

When you need quick and portable access to view, edit, or author files, then a small Windows 8 tablet is going to be the best choice.

Even without peripherals Windows 8 has enough input options that you should be able to use the Linx 8 as a corporate interface device.

So who is the Linx 8 for? I feel this is a secondary tablet, to be used alongside a desktop machine or a large laptop.

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