The Linx 7 tablet – so bad, it’s good

linx7So, as a bit of research and development, I bought a Linx 7 tablet the other day. It was pointed out to me by my pal Paul Webster, who thought it had some intruiging digital inclusion possibilities.

First up, the bad bits. The Linx is cheap, and nasty. It has a plastic case that feels less than sturdy, a tiny screen with a fairly terrible resolution, a pretty slow processor and a measly 1gb RAM.

It also runs Windows 8, which is just as weird as everyone has told you. The most bewildering part for me, still, is that you can have two copies of the same application installed and running on the same machine depending on whether you are in the mobile view or the traditional desktop view. The universal apps of Windows 10 will hopefully fix this.

So, a pretty damning review so far. However, here is the good news: The Linx 7 is £76 on Amazon right now, and that includes a year’s subscription to Office 365. That’s worth £79. Do the maths!

The Linx also features some rather neat connectivity options. There’s a mini-USB port which is used for charging, but can also be used with the included adapter to plug any USB peripheral into the tablet – such as a mouse, or a printer say. The mini-HDMI port means you can plug this thing into a standard monitor you have lying around, and it has bluetooth so a keyboard is no problem.

What all this means is that you can have a fully operational – if slightly underpowered – PC with the full and latest version of Office running on it, for significantly less than a hundred quid. That’s frankly amazing.

Anyone who makes heavy use of their computer is not going to be able to use the Linx 7 as a replacement for their laptop or whatever. Never mind an iPad, it makes a lot of the cheaper Android tablets look and feel well made. But what it does, thanks to the price point and the provided software, is put a proper computer in the hands of pretty much anyone who can spare 75 quid.

Given that the first personal computer, the Altair 8800, cost about $500 fully assembled in 1975 (which is over $2,250 in today’s money), and did little more than flash a few lights, I’d call that progress.

2 thoughts on “The Linx 7 tablet – so bad, it’s good”

  1. Or. “The Linx 7, so good, it’s good!” 😉
    Thanks for posting this … and being brave enough to purchase one after 5 minutes with mine!
    Generally agree with your thoughts.

    Not going to make any apologies for it being Microsoft. Not one of their biggest fans, but this is an affordable (don’t like using the word cheap!) device that for the money you do get a lot of value.
    I would disagree about the build quality and screen. Yes, it’s a plastic case, but doesn’t feel flimsy, yes the screen is small … that’s because it’s only a 7″ screen (but is an IPS glass screen!) and I actually find the resolution good, as even in Windows 8 Desktop mode icons and text are readable (if small!).

    Yes, 1GB RAM is measly and after installing the usual gubbins the 32GB storage is less than 20GB usable, but as you point out, this is only one aspect of the device.

    Hook it up to a monitor/TV (built in HDMI socket!), slip in a 64GB SD Card, pair it with a Bluetooth Mouse & Keyboard (or connect up via USB) drop onto a wireless network … and you have a computer with access to a free on-line Office Suite, heaps of Storage and “some” useful apps. Yes “some”, the Windows App Sore is dire … no woeful … shockingly understocked!

    Get past the “It’s Windows, so it must be c**p” mindset and it’s OK. If we’re talking Digital Inclusion (which we like to do Dave) then the device, the OS, the badge, even the fact that it’s a tablet computer connecting to the internet shouldn’t matter.

    It’s about handing someone a new way of having fun, seeing the house on streetview that they grew up in, finding times of the next bus to a hospital appointment, listening the Neil Diamond concert from 1972 that they remember attending as teenager… etc … etc … This is just another device that should make all this possible.

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