- Massive improvement from a design point-of-view
- Two USB ports
- Windows 10 works well
- Low resolution screen (720p)
- Office 365 no longer included with Windows 10
Linx have recently released their follow-up to the great value Linx 10 tablet which ran Windows 8.1, and it’s called the Linx 1010. The new version comes just in time for the new release of Windows 10 and it’s one one of the first tablets to come preloaded with the new software. So what’s new – and how does the new tablet stack up against the old one? Let’s find out!
The Linx 1010 is designed to follow on from the success of the Linx 10. It’s designed to be great value for money while providing ample performance for most day to day tasks – such as browsing the internet, checking email and watching streaming services on the go. But the Linx 10 did this job absolutely fine as I pointed out in my last review, so what’s new – and is it worth upgrading from the previous generation?
The new Linx 1010 comes with a brand new design. The keyboard and most of the outer design of the unit has been completely overhauled.
The origami keyboard case is no more – instead it has been replaced with a much more solid reinforced case with proper physical plastic keys. This, in my view is a massive step up. The origami case was a very clever idea for putting together a case that doubles as a keyboard, but it had serious limitations. The angle of the display can now be freely adjusted when they keyboard is docked – something that couldn’t be done before. The new keyboard itself is also a godsend – the keys are much more comfortable to type on in my view and make writing long emails a breeze.
The tablet itself has been redesigned to cater for extra connectivity and a new button layout. The new design works well and fits in the hands better than the previous generation. Controls for volume and power are more defined and better positioned for easier access.
Linx have made an effort in providing some new functionality to try and separate its new tablet from other similar tablets on the market.
The biggest new feature by far and away is the inclusion of two FULL SIZE USB ports on the side of the tablet. Yes – on the tablet itself – not on the keyboard, not through some annoying OTG cable – on the tablet! This is a huge step up and means that you can now connect your smartphone for syncing – and to some extent charging. Charging, however, is a little more difficult because, being a tablet, it doesn’t exactly have huge amounts of current (power) to distribute to external devices. In my test it did charge my iPhone 6, but it was incredibly slow at doing so! The new USB ports also mean you could connect a camera for copying photos, or even devices like printers and scanners. I believe (but am not certain) that the ports are USB 3.0, because ‘Device Manager’ indicates that the USB controller is USB 3.0, but I can’t be certain and the ports are not coloured blue. Having two – let alone one – USB ports sets this tablet miles away from any of its competition just for having that extra connectivity that isn’t normally easy to perform on most tablets.
Other new features include micro-USB charging as opposed to a stupid tiny Chinese charging port. I’m still not a massive fan of micro-USB, but it is a major improvement nonetheless. Having the different connector doesn’t seem to make a massive difference in terms of charging speed, but it’s easier to charge and means that loosing the charging cable is no longer the end of the world.
You’ve also now got a much-improved docking connector for the keyboard, which lines up the connector much more smoothly thanks to two metal guides that surround the connectors. The new keyboard case works instantly when docked to the tablet which is more than can be said for the previous version – it used to take a few seconds for it to start working.
Under the bonnet you’ve got almost identical internals to the previous device. It still features the same Intel Atom quad core processor with 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Expansion is still easy with the onboard microSD card reader and the onboard USB ports make it easy to use USB sticks to gain extra storage (external hard drives might be more difficult, though).
The old Linx 10 had fairly good battery life, and the Linx 1010 continues this trend. In my tests of relatively average use, I was getting around 5-6 hours of continuous usage – sometimes more when usage is lighter. Charging the device is slow and I was finding it was taking at least 3 hours to charge the battery from empty when it was switched off. If the device is switched on, charging is even slower. With that in mind, it’d probably be best to charge the device overnight.
It’s all well and good having great hardware, but without great software to pair with it, you’re going nowhere. So how does Windows 10 stack up on the new device? Well, fairly well. I have to admit, having used Windows 10 on desktops, laptops and tablets now I’d say it is a good all-rounder with plenty to love over Windows 8.1. One thing that does baffle me in Windows 10 is the loss of the charms bar, though. I hated the charms bar on desktops and felt it was a nightmare to use with a mouse or touchpad, but it did nonetheless work very well with touchscreens. It’s not the end of the world though – instead we have a new ‘Control Centre’ which does a similar job.
Overall, performance with Windows 10 is definitely faster than in Windows 8.1, with boot up times still very impressive given the low powered Atom chip that’s fitted to the device. Using Windows 10 is much the same as using Windows 8.1 for most of your day to day tasks and most users who are used to Windows 8.1 should get on fairly happily.
So what’s not to like?
Sadly it seems no device is perfect these days and there are without doubt a couple of minor niggles.
My biggest complaint is the lack of a screen upgrade. The screens on both the Linx 10 and the Linx 1010 are not bad at all in terms of colour reproduction and viewing angles, but the Linx 1010 still uses a 1280×800 display which is, by modern standards, a little lacklustre. It would have been nice to perhaps see a 1080p display or even just something halfway between.
In addition, you no longer get a year’s subscription to Office 365 included in the box. I believe this is more a Microsoft issue than a Linx issue as I’m led to believe that Microsoft has stopped handing out Office 365 keys with Windows 10 tablets. You now get Office Mobile included (permanently) on the device which isn’t bad as software goes – but it’s free to everyone anyway.
Worth the upgrade?
Unless you’re specifically looking for those built in USB ports, I’d say you’re unlikely to be able to justify upgrading from a Linx 10 as you can get Windows 10 as a free upgrade anyway. However, it is without doubt a massive step up from the Linx 10 and the new keyboard is certainly worth considering (you can’t use the new keyboard with the old Linx 10).
But for everyone else?
This is definitely an excellent buy for anyone who’s looking for a budget Windows tablet. The performance of the device is excellent given its price, and the new features that Linx have added just make this device even better value for money. Anyone looking for a tablet in the £200 pricing area should consider this tablet as it’ll do far more than your average Android tablet and will probably be a more familiar site to anyone who’s used Windows before.