LINX 8 Tablet

LINX 8 Tablet
24 Feb 15

For the last month or so I have been noodling around with a Linx 8 Windows 8.1 tablet. I bought this from Sainsbury’s largely out of curiosity about what an 8 inch tablet running a full version of Windows would be like to use. I have to say it has, for the most part, been a very pleasant surprise.

The Linx 8 is similar in size to the iPad Mini but slightly longer and narrower due to wide aspect ratio of the 8 inch screen. It is of mainly plastic construction, but is solidly put together and combined with the soft touch coating on the back of the tablet this means it looks and feels surprisingly nice. The Linx 8 comes with 32GB of built in storage which can be expanded by using microSD storage (up to at least 64GB). While relatively low resolution at 1280 x 800 the IPS screen looks quite nice and has good viewing angles. Unusually for such a bargain tablet the Linx also has a microHDMI out port. It also does not appear to suffer the audio interference issues widely reported with the audio jacks on the Linx 7 and other 7 inch windows tablets such as the HP Slate 7. Indeed the only area where the hardware fails to deliver is photography, as both the front and rear cameras are very poor. Nevertheless while clearly not a premium tablet its build quality is very respectable for a tablet that cost £89 and it compares well with its competitors in the same price range. 

The real surprise however was the experience of Windows 8.1. While I am accustomed to the Windows 8 experience many of the design decisions never really made sense to me before. The tablet experience on the Linux 8 has made me look at Windows 8 afresh. The modern tiled interface works really well on a tablet and from an interface perspective is a genuine competitor to Android or iOS especially for fans of Windows Phone.  

Unfortunately the poor selection of modern apps and the limited functionality of many of those which are available detracts from the modern user experience. Despite the improvements since the launch of Windows 8 this remains probably the main reason to go for Android or iOS tablets over Windows. The range of modern apps is improving however and the existence of ‘universal’ Windows and Windows Phone apps and games is an interesting idea (especially where you only need to buy once to get an app on both platforms) Hopefully this trend  will continue with the planned changes in Windows 10.

Offsetting the limited range of modern apps is the fact that the Linx 8 has an Intel Atom processor. It can therefore run the full range of Windows desktop apps or at least those which will run on integrated graphics and only a gigabyte of ram.  It is not exactly a computing powerhouse but provided you don’t try to run too many apps at once the Linx 8 is actually quite capable. 

Like many other windows tablets the Linx 8 comes with a year’s free subscription to Office365 Personal. This allows you to install the full version of Office as well as providing a terabyte of OneDrive online storage. The experience with Office 2013 is typical of that when using desktop apps on the Linx 8, in that the software runs well, but the user interface can be a little awkward on an 8 inch tablet.  That said Office certainly remains usable and indeed I am writing this review in Word 2013 on the tablet itself.

An additional less obvious advantage of the ability to run desktop software is that the Linx 8 can use full desktop web browsers, either the built in Internet Explorer or any other browser you choose to install. This means the Linx 8 provides a full desktop browsing experience rather than the more limited experience typically available on mobile browsers. This with support for traditional desktop applications at least offset the limited modern apps available on Windows 8.1.

In conclusion, the Linx 8 is a very nice little windows tablet and is great value for money, especially with a free years Office365 Personal account. However, the relatively limited selection of modern apps means that potential buyers will need to consider whether the ability to run legacy windows software and a desktop web experience is more important to them than the availability of a wider range of mobile apps available on Android.

@mrbatwench

Author

Ewen Rankin

Comments

Avatar moggygob

yeah, totally agree with you. Staples showed me this device, I was impressed with the specs, but am informed that loading office suite takes up 8gigs of space.
cannot access kindle fire books on it neither,
app not available for non-kindle devices.

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