back to article Want a cheap Office-er-riffic tablet? Microsoft Windows takes on Android

With little fanfare, the Windows tablet market is changing. Step into your local supermarket, and you may see Windows tablets on show priced below equivalent Android devices. A sensible purchase? Here is a look at a fine example, a Linx 8 purchased from Sainsbury’s for £89.99 (even better deals are available online). It is one …

  1. Jim 48

    I'm wavering over whether to get one of these, partly as a media player connected over HDMI to the tele. It should allow me to retire the NowTV, AppleTV & Chromecast.

    Also of note, you can get a £30 trade-in cashback (you have to send off an old working tablet) by buying from some suppliers (incl. Amazon, Staples & eBuyer).

    Still wavering though.

    1. Nifty

      With Android and IOS, content providers such as 4OD have in the past specifically blocked the use of the HDMI port when playing their media. I suggest check if this happens to be true with this tablet.

      1. dogged

        > content providers such as 4OD have in the past specifically blocked the use of the HDMI port when playing their media

        I would suggest that this is an unlikely strategy when that software is running on what is, essentially,a full Windows PC.

        You block the HDMI port, how is anyone supposed to use a monitor?

        1. Nifty

          Which part was hard to understand of "content providers such as 4OD"?

        2. Synonymous Howard

          Surely you only need to block playing 'videos' through HDMI if it does not support HDCP at both ends .. does not mean you could not use it as a monitor.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "unless you use Google Mail"

      Just forward it to Outlook.com and minimise The Borg's spying on you.

      These are a no brainer - a far more secure and fully featured OS compared to Android for similar money. If you really need Android apps then just run BlueStacks, but there are over 500,000 Windows Store apps now...

      1. petur
        Trollface

        @ AC

        I know you are probably trolling, but I'll risk anyway...

        Forwarding GMail to Outlook just makes two Borgs spy on you, not one.

        And I wouldn't be so brave to call Windows more secure than Android...

        I won't respond to your remark on the apps, because that is 100% trolling.

        1. dogged

          > I won't respond to your remark on the apps, because that is 100% trolling

          I can see the rest of the post as trollish but there are over a half million Store apps. You can easily check that. And you can indeed use Bluestacks to run Android apps should you so wish.

          So would you mind explaining that?

          (For clarity, I was not the AC you're responding to. I very, very rarely use AC cover on the Reg).

    3. Gordon861

      I was thinking of one of these for general media use until I looked at the websites FAQ.

      -------------------------------

      http://www.linx-tablets.com/linx-faq.html

      Can you add the tablets to a network?

      No, they do not support domain joining so you wouldn't be able to add to a network

      Can users drag and drop files onto the tablet from a PC/laptop?

      No, it is not possible as the windows tablet cannot act as mass storage device like that. The windows tablets are essentially the same as a PC/laptop, just like if you connect two laptops via USB, they cannot read either or transfer files.

      If the user wants to get files to their tablet, they should transfer to a USB key then use the OTG cable to connect to the tablet and copied them to the tablet or add them to a micro SD card and insert directly to the micro SD slot and copy to the tablet from there.

      -------------------------------

      This might make it a little difficult to get the files you want to play onto them, other than copying them one at a time. Although BitTorrentSync might solve this problem.

      The FAQ also says that the Office365 sub is locked to the tablet only, so not installable elsewhere.

      Perhaps after a while someone will produce a hack that will open these up more, or a Linux install that will allow more features people want?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        "If the user wants to get files to their tablet, they should transfer to a USB key then use the OTG cable to connect to the tablet and copied them to the tablet or add them to a micro SD card and insert directly to the micro SD slot and copy to the tablet from there."

        Or just bounce it off a onedrive. Other cloud storage options available.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge

          @ werdsmith

          Upload 1Gb per movie ? Some of my movies are closer to 5Gb in size, are you serious ? Wanna watch a movie, darling ? Ok, we will have to wait 30 minutes for it to download, darling.

          1. dogged

            @Hans 1

            I was going to say "then use the SD card" but then I remembered that you are Hans 1 and therefore this tablet sucks because Microsoft had something to do with it.

            So you won't buy one anyway.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            "Upload 1Gb per movie ? Some of my movies are closer to 5Gb in size, are you serious ? Wanna watch a movie, darling ? Ok, we will have to wait 30 minutes for it to download, darling."

            You need a different device then. Something like a telly.

          3. werdsmith Silver badge

            "Upload 1Gb per movie ? Some of my movies are closer to 5Gb in size, are you serious ? Wanna watch a movie, darling ? Ok, we will have to wait 30 minutes for it to download, darling."

            You can always use the little SD card slot on the top for the larger files if really are determined to avoid the huge life-endangering faff with the USB.

      2. Efros

        Network Shares Work fine

        Just connect to a shared directory and copy what you need.

      3. JenniP

        I own one of these (great little machine it is too).

        The not being able to add to a domain is down to the version of Windows 8 installed on it.

        You can drag and drop files from a PC/laptop, but only via wifi you cant plug in a USB cable into your PC and the other end into the tablet (as its micro USB), and drag and drop files that way. Or you could sync it via OneDrive of course.

        For USB sticks I use something like this (Cant find my model)

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/SanDisk-Ultra-Dual-Drive-SDDD-064G-G46/dp/B00HR7J3CA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1421842497&sr=8-3&keywords=usb+otg+stick+64gb

        Normal USB one end, micro USB the other so it works on the tablet and a normal PC.

        Yes the copy of Office 365 is locked to that tablet (and that version of Windows so no installing the Windows 10 preview and expecting to get it).

    4. joed

      Few words of caution from the owner of 8" Toshiba Excite (?). Mine came with 2GB RAM and this seems sufficient for 32bit OS, 1GB sounds less then optimal. Also the processor in mine is minimally better and has dual channel RAM (may actually matter for the integrated graphics). My device handles full HD youtube (and such) surprisingly well, way better than "ancient" C2Duo laptop with dedicated Ati video chip. I use it as a stationary "tabletop" connected to 1600*1200 20" monitor. HDMI was a must have for my use pattern and it works fine. Now the bad part. The only USB port is also the charging port - using it for both charging and attaching extra devices is doable but not every Y cable worked for me (also not every charging adapter worked). Having USB 3.0 would be nice. You'll - probably - have to use USB mouse/kb (and find a working Y cable;) as the built in Bluetooth interface is most likely crap (I would lose WiFi connection, BT moude/kb or both at times, wireless performance was also slower than without BT). I wished it had real network (Ethernet) access. Windows 8.1 Home is crap (no Media Center option for you) and 32GB is borderline sufficient (supposedly it won't handle MCE even if you upgraded to 8.1 Pro, maybe with the use of simlinks). SD card option is another must have, unless you're willing to sell your soul to cloud provider(s) - I'm running mine with local accounts and have no plans to switch. I think that performance deteriorated somewhat over time but this can be just my perception.

      Unless you had to have the built in screen (I wanted really portable replacement for my old laptop) you may consider getting small box with Celeron or Atom CPU - the setup will be more flexible, it'll be faster and if something goes wrong you can actually fix it (it'll be fun to reimage Windows on my tablet if built in recovery partition failed).

    5. Sirius Lee

      @jim - do it. I bought the 7" model (£65+VAT) and I use it every day and I'm blown away given the price. It's running full Windows 8.1 and fits in a jacket pocket. I do use it for business but then I have a full Office 365 licence which allows me to use it on up to 5 devices - this is one of them. I run Outlook hooked up to Exchange.

      I've been pleasantly surprised by the performance - especially given. It's not going to do well playing CoD but opening Word or Outlook or Excel there's no discernible difference between it any my laptop on these activities. I hope this is the way of the future. Inexpensive and functional devices in a range of sizes all running Windows.

      Streams well and watching Netflix either using the Windows 8 app or in a browser is smooth.

      I don't use it but did checkout that I'm able to display at 1920x1200 using the HDMI connector even though the internal display is 1280x800. Compare this with my Iconia Android device which is only able to project at the same resolution.

      The one thing I had to add is a mouse app. Being a touch screen device, there is no mouse unless you plugin in a keyboard. The touch screen is very good but sometimes is is necessary to be a little more precise and a mouse cursor is needed or if the display is projected onto another monitor (not using the 'copy screen' mode). I found an app that makes the whole touch screen a mouse pad and it works very well when required.

  2. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    WTF?

    Commercial use forbidden?

    "Hey Google, Apple, here's the enterprise market for you - come and get it. Love, Microsoft"

    FFS...

    1. adnim Silver badge

      Re: Commercial use forbidden?

      "may not be used for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities,"

      Not just commercial use, non-profit and revenue generating activities too. Doesn't that cover just about everything?

      Need a confused icon here... Have MS released a product that by simply using it one breaks the terms of the licence agreement?

      1. joed

        Re: Commercial use forbidden?

        Well, even MS considers "non-profit" businesses an oxymoron. Time for our government to do the same and reevaluate the tax code and level the "playing field".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Happy

          Re: Commercial use forbidden?

          Non-profits are similar to charities, simply put, all profits must go back into the business or their stated aim. e.g. saving starving kids.

    2. jason 7

      Re: Commercial use forbidden?

      It's early days. Plus I'm sure MS would rather the enterprise buy Surface than these.

      If my company was buying for me, I'd rather have the Surface.

      1. Bleu

        Re: Commercial use forbidden?

        One colleague has a Surface. He seems pretty happy with it.

        Not for me, though, I hate that type of keyboard.

    3. DragonLord

      Re: Commercial use forbidden?

      This was for Microsoft office personal edition - i.e. you've not paid them enough to make money from their software.

    4. herman Silver badge

      Re: Commercial use forbidden?

      Nope - doesn't do Domain log-on.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Price as a signal

    For people who don't really need a tablet, but are thinking of getting one anyway, I've normally suggested just getting the cheapest. I now need to revise my advice.

    1. dogged

      Re: Price as a signal

      > I now need to revise my advice

      To reflect your stance in the OS Jihad? How not very enlightened of you :/

      I might think about this but I had an Asus VivoTab 8 that I got for the Wacom stylus and ended up barely using it. More than anything, this was due to the awful gritty feel of the screen glass under the stylus making it genuinely unpleasant to work with.

      I would get a replacement but it would need to be a similar size (between 6 and 8 inches diagonal) and a "premium" product so that it was pleasant to use.

      In the meantime, I have just bought my little boy a Hudl.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Price as a signal

        To reflect your stance in the OS Jihad? How not very enlightened of you :/

        Hey fanboy, I don't mind Windows 8 (with Start8 of course), but my experience with the surface hasn't been as rosy as other people on this forum (yes I have one), and I can't see this being any better. I'll advise people on what's good for them, based on my experience - and not provide false advice to encourage adoption on something I have. If I make a mistake purchase, I don't want those who rely upon my advise to do the same.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Price as a signal

          I have one of these as a 10 inch version. Got it from Staples before Christmas for £79.95. The 8 was even cheaper, Staples made some kind of price error and thousands got them for half price. I sent in really old other tablet thing and I am waiting for a cashback making it cost £30.

          My linx is running SQL Server Express, and IIS. It is also running one of the Visual Studio Expresses. It does it al flawlessly and without lag. It's very light, has an optional docking keyboard with mousepad and the battery does 7 hours. For £30 it is my first taste of an 8.1 tablet (and Win8.1) and will do nicely for helping me decide if I want to get the Tosh Click Mini when it appears in April.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Price as a signal

            My linx is running SQL Server Express, and IIS. It is also running one of the Visual Studio Expresses. It does it al flawlessly and without lag.

            In 1 GB RAM? Sounds like bollocks to me.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Price as a signal

              "In 1 GB RAM? Sounds like bollocks to me."

              Read the post again then. It says "10 inch version".

              The 10 inch has 2GB, and it most definitely works.

  4. Filippo

    So, this thing has a full Windows (by which I mean, it runs desktop programs) and costs less than a hundred? That's interesting. Windows Store apps may be few, but on the desktop you can run pretty much anything; I could see using one of these for some special-purpose application.

  5. Steven Raith

    Linux?

    I've had a quick google and it seems this device is a bit pernicky regarding what external media it'll boot from - does anyone know if this would make a cheap, simple Linux tablet?

    I haven't had real (non work related) geekery fun for ages, and it'd be interesting to see how Gnome3/Unity actually work on a tablet without dropping a couple of hundred quid on something...

    Steven R

    1. dogged

      Re: Linux?

      I think the touchscreen drivers might make that tricky.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Linux?

        S'possible, but I've not been able to find any concrete tales of it working full stop, never mind getting as far as the touchscreen drivers. One would assume it'd be HID class of some sort, but admittedly, touchscreen != mouse.

        I like how I got a downvote for just asking if people who were aware of this knew whether linux with a touch centric UI would install on it. There really are some sad, sad fuckers on this site.

        *looks at self in mirror*

        Aw, I made myself feel sad :-(

        Steven R

        1. Youngdog

          Re: Linux?

          Having been on the wrong end of similar rude behaviour you have my sympathies - some people here could do with realising they aren't as high-minded as they imagine themselves to be! Have an upvote on me to cheer you up ;-)

          1. Steven Raith

            Re: Linux?

            Meh, there are at least three people registered on this site who are tragically close minded when it comes to fiddling with tech, given none of them have posted as to *why* it's a stupid question from a technical perspective.

            I suppose it is a bit much to hope that a Windows + Bing device would allow alternate installs, but apparently the option to boot from external media is there in the BIOS - it just doesn't seem to work properly. You'd think if they wanted to bar it, they'd remove that option (and only enable manufacturer specific devices to boot off a whitelist) rather than have it there at all.

            Suppose it might explain the cheapness - limited developer time for detail stuff.

            Anyway, suppose I'll have to wait for that cheapy Linux tablet fiddly experience thingy. No hardship...

            Steven R

            1. theblackhand

              Re: Linux? Re:Steven R

              You do realise that saying product X is good makes product Y slower, less capable and crap on your doorstep when you're not looking?

              After reading too many reviews about a certain phone, my now inferior phone even went so far as not caring if I was looking when it defecated on my doorstep.

              1. Steven Raith

                Re: Linux? Re:Steven R

                theblackhand - I'm not even sure what you're talking about, frankly.

                I was just curious if anyone had any luck throwing a Linux distro on these devices - I rarely dabble in Windows these days so it's not as relevant to me as it used to be. Linux is a better fit for me, but I'm well aware it's not for everyone.

                Steven R

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Linux?

            Does anyone over 12 years old use the upvote/downvote buttons?

            If there was a profile settings option on this website to switch them off and make them invisible I would use it.

            I invite anyone to click the down arrow here, I really won't even know or care. Why would anyone?

            1. Martin Summers Silver badge

              Re: Linux?

              Yes, I'm 33 and I use upvote downvote buttons, especially downvote when you just really cannot be bothered to engage in someone's utterly mindless garbage post. And upvote, well that's just a quick expression of solidarity and agreement with your comment. Simple. And don't pretend you don't like the upvotes either cos thousands wouldn't believe you.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Linux?

                "And don't pretend you don't like the upvotes either cos thousands wouldn't believe you."

                Give me an option to switch them all off (like some other forums have) and I'll do it. I'm sure it's fun for the kids to click a little thumb image but nobody with full mental faculties would take it in any way seriously.

            2. GitMeMyShootinIrons

              Re: Linux?

              "Does anyone over 12 years old use the upvote/downvote buttons?"

              Down voted 'cause I is down wid de kidz, innit? LOLZ!!!

              (40 year old trying too hard...)

            3. PNGuinn
              Trollface

              Re: Linux?

              OK - if it really msakes you happy ...

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Linux?

      Why Linux people are always in search of something cheap? Are they paid so little?

      Also, are you sure you're able to use your average distro and especially your beloved shell without a keyboard?

      Where are the cheap Linux tablets? Canonical can't made one?

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Linux?

        "Why Linux people are always in search of something cheap?"

        Are you telling me you'd rather risk bricking something expensive?

        Could you lend me some of the folding currency you wipe your bum on please? I obviously have a much greater need for it than you do!

        1. LDS Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Linux?

          Does Linux brick things? And if you're a real "Linux hacker" you shouldn't be afraid of bricking things - and installing an OS in a supported way anyway it's not something that should "brick things". Or are you going to hack the BIOS and maybe its SecureBoot chain to install Linux? Or would you just give up as soon as it doesn't recognize your USB boot device and the Linux installer doesn't start? Usually Win 8.x devices let you create a recovery disk to restore a device.

          But if I were an hardcore Linux fan I would risk to brick something more expensive, I mean, at least some $200-$500 device, not a $1500 one maybe, attempting to install it... otherwise you just make Linux look something for people who can't afford an OS nor the device to run it on...

          I would also write the driver for the touch screen, of course, and donate it to the community.... don't tell me you just USE Linux and don't contribute to it, do you????

          1. Martin Summers Silver badge

            Re: Linux?

            Yes I do use Linux, occasionally, I don't contribute to it, I don't code. But surely you want people to use Linux, otherwise what's the point?

            As for bricking things, it's not really just that is it. Linux people love to demonstrate how powerful Linux is on small less powerful devices. Which is fantastic.

            Also, what's wrong with Linux being used by people who can't afford an OS? Or the powerful device? Again, surely a good thing and the kind of thing that makes Linux Devs feel warm and fuzzy inside? The fact it is free has opened computing to many who can't afford it or the devices.

            I don't see why you feel you have to prove how wealthy you are or why you are trying to disassociate Linux from those less less fortunate than you. But good on you for contributing anyway.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Linux?

              "good on you for contributing anyway."

              Same from me too.

              "I do use Linux, I don't contribute to it, "

              Again, same from me (mostly).

              "I don't code."

              Irrelevant. If people genuinely want to help, there are plenty of other ways they can contribute. E.g. Take a beta test and feed back. Help reproduce (or otherwise) hardware-specific problems if you have the relevant hardware. Help translate stuff if you speak the relevant languages. Moderate a user forum. And so on.

              If you have time and inclination, have a read of https://en.opensuse.org/Portal:How_to_participate and see if anything appeals. I presume there are similar opportunities with some of the other flavours (there used to be, back in the days when the best way of getting a Linux was on a cover CD).

              I haven't been able to contribute much so far, but for reasons of time rather than inclination. That may change later this year when my current job comes to an end, And then I may have a little more free time, till the green shoots of recovery appear again.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Linux?

                I wish it were that easy. Some open source projects make giving feedback so painful that it's almost impossible. I'm not a coder either. I just want to be a user.

                I tried once. I found a bug when using a new version of GIMP (open source - good software when it works) which reliably caused a crash. Messed about, found a simple procedure to reliably produce the crash. Went to gimp.org to find out how to report it. Couldn't find a report which was similar, but I did find some reports discussing a (possibly related?) memory leak. Their bug tracking software required me to provide a valid email address which they would publish in plain text. They warned me that bots scraped the site and any email address would immediately be spammed. Their suggestion? Create a new disposable email address to provide the feedback.

                So to provide feedback and bug reports on graphics software requires knowing how to set up disposable email addresses.

                I didn't bother. I just reverted to the previous version which didn't have the bug. Have they fixed it? Is the latest version even better? Don't know, and have no inclination to find out.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Linux?

            As you know as a hacker you're supposed to buy something designed for useful purposes or a given task and misappropriate it to run Linux. Doesn't matter if the said device is then completely useless, you've achieved something utterly pointless.

          3. h4rm0ny
            Linux

            Re: Linux?

            >>"Does Linux brick things? And if you're a real "Linux hacker" you shouldn't be afraid of bricking things - and installing an OS "

            When fiddling around with trying to install an OS on a device designed for something else, yes, there is a risk of bricking something. And that's not because of GNU/Linux. It's a tablet! You wipe the existing contents of the "drive" and fiddle with the boot partition you could well brick it long before you even get to the bit where you choose a new OS to install. That's why you want to do it on something cheap like this and not a Surface Pro 3 or something.

            More helpfully, to the OP - it's an x86 device with full Windows (well the cheapo Bing version, anyway) so you should be able to disable Secure Boot (being able to do so is a requirement) and as an x86 device there's a strong chance you'll be able to get GNU/Linux installed and running so I say go for it. Touch screens are now supported in several of the modern OSs. Anything with Gnome 3.6.3 and up has a good chance of working. Much as I prefer KDE for desktop use, Gnome might be a better choice for touch screens unless KDE has improved on this recently. Hope that helps. Remember to post about your attempt so others can learn from it! Good luck!

      2. Steven Raith

        Re: Linux?

        So much tragic butthurt, so little time.

        I love this place :-D

        Steven R

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux?

        Why Linux people are always in search of something cheap? Are they paid so little?

        Seriously? I believe that Linux is an indicator of the person's interests. It's well suited to tinkering and one of the things I like to tinker with here is differing roles for devices that the designer/engineer hadn't thought of at the time. I don't use Linux a whole lot here, but you have to admit that when it comes to sheer adaptability, you can tweak it to suit. Not so true of some operating systems without major work.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Linux?

      Locked UEFI bootloader maybe?

      1. Nelbert Noggins

        Re: Linux?

        No, the issue is it's a 32bit uefi implementation not 64bit. That is the only thing preventing the Linux distribution images booting. The same as installing Win 8/8.1 Pro requires the 32 bit version, not the 64bit because it won't boot.

        I don't know if it was MS/Intel or both who came up with the uefi restriction, because they're 64 bit cores with VT support, it's just not possible to boot a 64 bit bootloader on them with the bios provided.

        There are instructions somewhere online about how to download "pick-your-distro" and make a bootable usb stick with a 32bit bootloader. I think there is a working fedora based download someone made. Need a USB hub so a keyboard can be plugged in as well.

        Last I looked there was an issue with some of the drivers, touchscreen as mentioned was the main one I think. Also without a USB hub don't expect the Linux install to get far as you need the keyboard/mouse(depending on distro) as well as your usb boot image.

        In terms of alternative versions, they actually seem to be Schenker Element tablets, without the price premium or top end versions. On the EduGeek forums it's been discussed and verified that Linx are willing to supply with Win 8.1 Pro instead of Win 8.1 with Bing to education establishments via some resellers. This also puts the range more in line with the Schenker Elements tablets than other generic Win 8.1 tablet brands.

        To install 8.1 Pro by hand you want the drivers from the Schenker site, but unless you make it a WimBoot install much more of the 32Gb storage is taken after install.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: Linux? @ Nelbert Noggins

          Ah, nice one sir, that makes a lot more sense TBH. I did see references to Fedora in some of the search results (a black screen boot, but at least it got past the bootloader) but the EFI implementation being 32bit certainly answers a lot of the questions in my mind.

          Have an upvote (because I'm a goddamned child ;-) )

          Steven R

  6. Stuart 22

    It's good to have choice

    The lack of apps implies it of no use to me as a replacement tablet. YMMV.

    The one reason I might buy this (as a Linux house) is to be able to access desktop Windows applications that will not run well under Wine. And at a bargain price. In other words lashed up warrior style with keyboard and screen and hopefully sitting on the LAN. Oh and to find out why Win7 clients are so grumpy about 8.1 ;-)

    Maybe, just maybe, if over time it gets more apps and Microsoft become nicer and Google become badder I may swop my mobile OS of choice. Its nice to have a choice. Google and Microsoft can sharpen each other up. Competition is good, avoiding an Android monopoly is good however good the actual product is.

    Microsoft taught us that lesson long ago. Irony unleashed.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: avoiding an Android monopoly is good

      BURN THE HERETIC!!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's good to have choice

      LOL, not this competition is good nonsense.

      What you are asking, is that other people buy crap like this, so you can continue to have nice things...

      1. dogged
        Meh

        Re: It's good to have choice

        > LOL, not this competition is good nonsense.

        Sorry AC, it looks like people keep forgetting that a 100% Android monopoly and the absolute death and bankruptcy of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, IBM and while we're about it RedHat and Canonical are absolutely the right conditions for improvement because you like Google.

        How careless of everyone capable of rational thought.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's good to have choice

          If all mobiles and tablets ran Android, that would be fantastic news for consumers.

          You buy an app and it continues to work on all your devices. There is nothing to tie you to inferior hardware like Lumia or iPhones anymore, you can just jump ship to whatever is better.

          Android is also opensource, Google are the maintainers, but anyone can (and does) contribute.

          I trust Android and Google to do he right things way above Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and others, and their closedsource, lock-in tactics.

          1. dogged

            Re: It's good to have choice

            > I trust Android and Google to do he right things

            You're funny, I like you.

          2. Steve Gill
            Joke

            Re: It's good to have choice

            I trust Android and Google to do he right things

            I trust Android and Google

            trust Google

            ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

            Thanks for the giggles :)

          3. h4rm0ny

            Re: It's good to have choice

            >>"Android is also opensource, Google are the maintainers, but anyone can (and does) contribute."

            Google have been turning more and more of the Android ecosystem closed source over time. It is harder and harder to contribute to Android without Google's approval every year. Have a read..

            Google are the Microsoft of today. Remember when MS came up with that crappy .dat attachment for emails so that rival email clients would appear broken and when challenged always provided the excuse that they were simply providing a better and more secure system that others should comply with? Oh, and that it wasn't a problem because you could always turn it off (despite the fact that the point was that it caused problems for their competitors, not you). What does that remind you of? Oh yes, Google blocking Outlook (as per this article) because their system is "more secure", but you can always turn it off (as with .dat attachments) so it's fine. Oh, and it breaks Thunderbird, too.

            Your naivety and trust in giant corporations is terrible.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: It's good to have choice

              Google blocking Outlook (as per this article) because their system is "more secure"

              OAuth is not "[Google's] system". It's a standard created by Blaine Cook for Twitter and then developed further by others.

              Personally, I have no use for OAuth - it solves a problem I don't have, because I'm more careful with my credentials than the people it "helps", and the attacks it addresses aren't in my threat model - and I dislike it for historical reasons. (I used to follow a few people on Twitter in case they posted anything important,1 but when Twitter started mandating OAuth that broke my preferred clients. I find that sort of "security by jackboot" particularly obnoxious.)

              But at least Google give you the option of disabling it, which is more than some people (the Twits, again) do.

              Oh, and it breaks Thunderbird, too.

              I have Thunderbird working with two GMail accounts on another machine. I don't remember offhand if more-recent versions of Thunderbird support OAuth, or if I configured GMail to remove the OAuth restriction, or if I added an OAuth extension to Thunderbird. There were a couple of attempts at OAuth extensions for Thunderbird back when OAuth first came out; they were problematic, but may have since been fixed. Or the support may have been added to the base MUA engine.

              1They never did, but the phenomenon isn't unknown, for example during natural disasters.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's good to have choice

        other people buy crap like this, so you can continue to have nice things

        And there are plenty of idiots on this forum, for example.

        Thanks for helping to make our stuff better - and good luck replacing your laptop with a tablet!

    3. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: It's good to have choice

      Or don't bother with the keyboard/mouse and just remote desktop to it from your Linux machine :)

      Should be able to run a larger/custom desktop resolution, if the 1280x800 doesn't fit the app so well.

  7. jason 7

    I thought "No Way!"...then I was handed one to try.

    I have to say I was shocked at how well it worked. I've used a lot of far more expensive Android tablets that didn't work as smoothly as this.

    Okay I only played around with it for a few minutes but it was all there and it all worked. The owner just sat there laughing as he watched me, saying "I know I know, crazy isn't it?!"

    Not something I have a need for and I would probably hunt out one of the 2GB ones but....

    Quite amazing really.

  8. 0laf Silver badge

    Good for the price

    I know a few people with these now, mainly the 10" version. For the most part they are happy with the devices using them as low powered laptops. The OS install and only 32Gb of on board storage doesn't give much remaining space so an SDCard is really a necessity.

    Most people comment that the screen isn't glorious and the build quality isn't wonderful and the location of the physical buttons is a bit odd but overall more than decent for the price point.

    Linx have a cash back offer of £30 on the 7/8 and £50 on the 10". It's not straightforward and depends on you buying from the right shop and trading in a decent 7" tablet. they won't accept any junk Ebay tablet. So it's debatable whether you would want to give up a decent tablet for £50.

    Staples also did these at a give away price before Xmas. I missed out on a £89 10" which would have been a bargain.

    Like all platforms it works best when you stay within the ecosystem. So Outlook works well with Outlook.com, One drive works well with Windows. When you cross ecosystems that's when things tend to get tricky but I guess they are all built to do that.

    1. adnim Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Good for the price

      "When you cross ecosystems that's when things tend to get tricky"

      And that's where the problem arises....

      Why are there RFC's out there?

      What is the point of industry/open standards?

      I don't have a problem with proprietary standards at all, unless I have little to no control over whether I use them or not and thus becoming locked into a single provider.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Good for the price

        It's just Google crippling other efforts. OAuth 2 is not mandatory in any RFC I know - is TLS/SSL deprecated by an official RFC now? Outlooks and Mail work without issue with IMAP and TLS/SSL.

        I use them with my own mail server (which is not Exchange) without issues.

        Of course Google wants you to use its Gmail web client or its own tools because it can't track you very well if you're so stubborn to use some old RFC protocols like IMAP and a mail client instead of a browser, preferably its own Trojan called Chrome, nor it can show you ads. Also OAuth 2 is far better to correlate all your activities across different services....

        1. david 12 Bronze badge

          Re: Good for the price

          Between Google and MS, it's like deciding who you want to barrack for / root for in the Middle East. But, apart from that:

          Google does let Outlook work, without disabling "security". You need to enable "two step verification", register your device on you Gmail account, and save a separate password in Outlook.

          and IE probably does let you use other search engines. If it's like any recent version of IE, the search engine registration process is a bit strange, and Google doesn't fully support it outside the USA.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Good for the price

      The OS Install uses WIMBoot so there is a lot more space remaining than you would think. 32GB good enough for Chromebook, good enough for Win8.1 WIMBoot.

      The staples price for the 2GB 10inch was £79.95, plus another £15 if you wanted the matching docking keyboard/mousepad/stand.

  9. Efros

    I have a Kingsing W8 8" tablet

    Pretty much a clone of this identical in all respects, this one has a USB to go socket. Had it now for over a month and extremely satisfied with it as it cost $116 online. Destroys similarly priced androids, just a paucity of apps to choose from but as I use it mostly for browsing and email not really a big deal.

    1. Peter Sommer

      Re: I have a Kingsing W8 8" tablet

      The Linx has a OTG USB and comes with the appropriate connector. External USB keyboard worked instantly and I was also able to play movies on an external 64GB usb stick via VLC. Haven't tried a USB HDD, yet, though there may be problems about delivering enough power.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: I have a Kingsing W8 8" tablet

        >Haven't tried a USB HDD, yet, though there may be problems about delivering enough power.

        Ever heard of a powered USB hub ?

  10. Shinku

    I have a Linx 7 and I quite like it. My old NC10's LCD ribbon failed again (thanks Samsung) and being in need of something to replace it for bedside viewing I debated where to go for the solution. Given that the machine's hardly essential price was a major factor, and although I swore I'd never buy a tablet because they were pointless gimmicks, for the £60 I paid for the 7" model I couldn't resist.

    On the Linx 7: Looks good, visually featureless, flat and black, I like this look. The casing does seem to flex a bit more than I'd like, I don't think it would stand up to being sat on terribly well if that's the sort of misfortune you commonly encounter. Specs-wise it's "good enough", some would consider the 1GB of RAM to be insufficient but in my experience it copes admirably, and in general the machine responds promptly. Battery life is a bit on the weak side, but full x86 tablet, little room for a battery, £60, I'm not going to complain, it's good enough for a movie or two. It can be charged via USB as you'd expect, so you could also stick a battery bank in your pocket if you had to. I'd like a way to use USB peripherals whilst charging, and with some combination of BIOS settings and a particular cable configuration it might be possible, but a second USB port would have been nice.

    Side note: Given that the Intel Compute Stick has a very similar spec, including an extra 1GB of RAM, I'm quite optimistic that it'll be a really useful general purpose stickputer, as long as the price in the UK isn't the usual "let's just swap the $ for a £ sign".

    On Windows 8.x: I'm not fond, I didn't like it on the desktop, and assumed after my good experience with the UI in Windows Phone that Windows 8 would excel on a tablet. I was partially right in that Metro is smooth and finger-friendly, but it lacks apps. Seriously, no YouTube? No iPlayer? This is a tablet, right? No problem, I'll just use the desktop, I wanted the flexibility of x86 Windows anyway just in case the tablet should be required for more complex tasks, but as you'd expect it's nigh impossible to touch some of the smaller UI elements. You can scale the UI, which works to an extent, making controls much larger and easier to hit, but it can mess with some less well behaved applications, making them too large to fit on the screen.

    Also, if you buy from certain retailers you can get trade-in prices, so even cheaper!

    1. dogged

      No iPlayer because the BBC get discount Macs and their kids use Android tablets.

      However, TV Catchup does iPlayer quite well and there's always the (full) browser.

      When I was using a Windows tablet I would occasionally bitch about lack of apps and then smell the coffee and remember I could run a full browser of any flavour I liked...

      1. Shinku

        There's also http://tvplayer.com/ if you want to watch live telly, and it's officially supported by the broadcasters involved and has no ads (other than the ads aired on the channels themselves), but neither TVPlayer or TV Catchup offer the on-demand parts of the respective channels. All three services, iPlayer/TVPlayer/TV Catchup work perfectly well in a desktop browser though, and I've just tested them all with success in the Metro version of IE too if that's your flavour.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Well, well, well. Thank you, you made my day.

  11. Steve Gill

    Currently playing around with the 7" version, at the price offered I felt it would really be stupid not to.

    It's a totally different meta to other tablets, think more laptop. With a mouse and a cheap Bluetooth keyboard it becomes a modern-day replacement for the old netbooks but with significantly more power and ability that you can also use as a tablet.

    Office runs smoothly and gives full options.

    For gamers who cares that you can't access a large tablet store when you can access Steam?

    Micro-SDs show as drives - which adds a lot of flexibility.

    It's a PC, you can't just plug it into your desktop to sync. The OneDrive space helps though.

    All-in-all I'm fairly happy experimenting with it so far.

  12. Nick L

    Surprisingly good

    I bought the 7" version from Staples when it was on offer for 59.99, and I'm surprised how well it works. I thought the 1GB would mean it was hamstrung, but it really does do a huge amount for the money and, at the end of the day, it's a full PC. Plug in a USB hub, put a monitor on the HDMI out, add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you've got a full pc that works well. Unplug it and you've got a tablet which works pretty well, too. Genuinely surprised.

  13. Nifty

    Granny gadget?

    This could be a gadget to leave with granny who has no ability with IT / tablets at all.

    Because you can fire up Skype or BBC iPlayer etc remotely for them using a free Teamviewer account.

    Could even be used a security cam / infirm person monitor at this price point.

    IOS / Android - no chance for proper remote control.

    Windows 8.1 - proper remote control possible.

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: Granny gadget?

      Interesting thoughts - could get interesting

    2. Shinku

      Re: Granny gadget?

      Fire up Skype and iPlayer remotely for them? Boy, that sounds like a full-time job I'd love to be on-call for!

      I do see your logic, but yikes, I'd just stick some big shortcuts on the Start Screen and remove everything else or something.

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    I bought one of these for Christmas

    I bought a Linx 8 tablet for a 6 year old. Why? Because it was 80 quid and came with 32GB, a relatively hires screen, a quad core Intel processor, and ran Windows 8.1 which meant it's basically a PC with enough apps to keep the kid happy. There is Netflix, a bunch of Disney games and various other bits and bobs on the store. The storage means she can play music and videos that I copy onto it, or stream them. The app selection is terrible compared to Android but it's enough. Just. And of course you can run anything that runs on a desktop.

    It also means if we go on hols or whatever I could borrow the tablet to print out boarding passes or attach a keyboard and type something in a proper word processor. I printed out a picture she coloured with an app the other day and it just found the printer on the network and printed to it. None of the BS faffing around that Android would make me endure.

    Now onto impressions - it's actually a rather good tablet. It feels solid, the screen is bright, there's not too much bloom and metro feels incredibly responsive. The desktop is fast enough for basics though you wouldn't want to play games on the thing. There is wifi, bluetooth, microsd, micro usb, micro HDMI. You could hook this thing up to a keyboard and monitor and use it as a PC if you wanted. Tiny yes, but it's a PC. For 80 quid. It also has a year's sub to Office 365.

    On the negative side, this is actually the *second* Linx since the first one went kaput soon after purchase. It wouldn't charge, the light started blinking and when I left it on charge for a few days and tried to start it, I got a message that firmware was corrupted. So I've replaced it and it's too early to say if it was an isolated fault in one unit or not.

    The other negative is battery life isn't great. It's about 12 hours on standby or 4-5 hours with screen on. I would have expected it to sleep far more efficiently than it does. Maybe this is a driver issue.

    But barring the problem that required a replacement it is a solid tablet. It is incredible to think that this is an £80 PC in effect. That's cheaper than even netbooks were in their time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

      " It is incredible to think that this is an £80 PC in effect."

      How much will it be when you've renewed your Office 365 subscription for a couple of years? And with MS about to launch W10, there's a huge unanswered question about whether you'd need and want to pay again for the fixed version of W8.

      1. jason 7

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        If MS is pushing out the Windows 8/8.1 OS to these for free I would assume if they are in the manufacturers update cycle they would also get Windows 10 as long as MS still offers a free version for small/low power devices.

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        "How much will it be when you've renewed your Office 365 subscription for a couple of years? And with MS about to launch W10, there's a huge unanswered question about whether you'd need and want to pay again for the fixed version of W8."

        The answer is my six year old doesn't care about Office 365 but there's nothing to stop someone from using LibreOffice. Using 365 for a year on free trial is not a pact for all eternity.

        As for Windows 10, I have no idea. Worst thing comes to the worst, the device can carry on running Win 8.1.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I bought one of these for Christmas@ DrXym

          "The answer is my six year old doesn't care about Office 365 but there's nothing to stop someone from using LibreOffice. "

          Maybe I have misunderstood your argument. As I read it, O365 was a big part of the value of the deal, and you were getting a near-full fat PC accordingly. I'd agree that the kids don't need full fat Office, and you can opt out to Libre Office for free, but if that's your choice then where's the value in having it free for a year?

          Either O365 has value, but you're on the hook for future year's subscriptions, or you're being offered free time-limited bloatware that you assign no value to.

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            Re: I bought one of these for Christmas@ DrXym

            My argument is that you get a year's worth of Office 365 thrown in. Doesn't mean you have to use it but it's still better than a kick in the nuts especially in a £80 tablet.

            Doesn't force you to use it in perpetuity.

      3. tony72

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        "How much will it be when you've renewed your Office 365 subscription for a couple of years?"

        I was going to make that point. If you're planning to keep using Office 365 beyond one year, which I imagine you would be if you're going to use it at all, then start factoring that into the price, and don't tell me it's an £80 tablet. And if you're not planning to do that, then the value of the included subscription is 0, unless you're unfamiliar with Office, in which case treat it as a free trial.

      4. Steve Gill

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        Renew he Office sub? Nope.

        At these prices you buy a new tablet at the end of the year and treat the purchase as the rental price for the software and likely with the added joy of getting the new OS each time. The old one gets passed on, used as a smart clock, whatever.

      5. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        "How much will it be when you've renewed your Office 365 subscription for a couple of years?"

        Assuming that people want Office.

        There seems to be deals around for the renewals with various prices if you do. £59.95 is the official, but I've seen offers in the £30 ish if you must have it.

        However, £80 might just buy a new tablet and pass the old one on.

    2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

      You have access to desktop applications, including the possibility of custom apps created using Visual Studio or other well-established tools, and deployed without the hassle of app stores or developer settings.

      The Windows operating system is more powerful but less secure, and a few false taps on an email attachment or malicious web site can compromise the device.

      IMO a six year old will click on anything that promises them a lollipop/pony etc.

      My guess is that your network will be hacked in no time at all. As the bad guys will know your flight dates you can expect to be burgled as well.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        "My guess is that your network will be hacked in no time at all. As the bad guys will know your flight dates you can expect to be burgled as well."

        My guess is you are totally wrong. I have this thing called a PASSWORD.

        1. dogged

          Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

          > My guess is you are totally wrong. I have this thing called a PASSWORD.

          And as many user accounts as you like, don't forget.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        IMO a six year old will click on anything that promises them a lollipop/pony etc.

        Exactly. I think people don't realise that one of the reasons tablets are so popular is that it's not Windows!

        Microsoft have been trying the tablet game for almost a decade before Apple (and then Google) took the world by storm.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        When the competition is Android, security is not a feature on both...

      4. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: I bought one of these for Christmas

        "The Windows operating system is more powerful but less secure, and a few false taps on an email attachment or malicious web site can compromise the device."

        I'll be OK then, because I only do true taps.

  15. J J Carter Silver badge

    Free upgrade to Windows 10 ?

    1. Steven Raith

      Fat chance.

      HTH.

      :-)

      1. jason 7

        The Windows 8/8.1 on this tablet is a free version for small devices. No reason that the manufacturer couldn't supply a Windows 10 update.

        Some folks are a bit behind the curve these days. Do keep up!

        1. Steven Raith

          Unless, of course, Microsoft don't make a Windows 10 with Bing variant.

          You then also have to implement an update path that ideally doesn't nuke the device - not easy with Widows due to the sprawl of config and application files. An update path that uses a custom, manufacturer specific WIM with the correct drivers preloaded and configured.

          I've suffered through enough 'inplace upgrades' to know that, believe me.

          Steven R

    2. h4rm0ny

      I would imagine it is unlikely as this is a permanent sale of the OS. They usually do discounted upgrades to a new version for those that bought near enough to the new version coming out so probably you'll be able to get it for not too much. But one of the big things about Windows 10 that people seem to be excited about (don't know why) is that it's supposed to bring more focus back to traditional form-factors and as this is a tablet, Windows 8.1 seems fine on it to me (not that I don't think 8.1 is fine on Desktop, too). The other thing is that I think Windows 10 is going to be available under a rental model too, so I don't see the appeal of that for a cheap tablet, tbh.

      Anyway, cheap upgrade probably. Free, unlikely.

      1. Steven Raith

        I may have to eat my words after yesterdays Win 10 free for a year announcement!

        :-D

        Steven R

  16. Alex Walsh

    I've used a Windows tablet (a Lenovo Miix 2) for a few months now and I think it's almost the opposite of an android tablet. With Android you get a pretty decent tablet experience and can do some traditional computing stuff but it doesn't work brilliantly at it because it's not really what it's designed for (I'm thinking of my experiences with my TransformerPad here). With a Windows 8.1 tablet you get a computer that sort of does the tablet experience well enough to get by with. There are silly things missing, like no live tile for toggling BT on/off and far too few apps or programmes properly designed for touch operation.

  17. returnmyjedi

    Quite a sniffy review for something so cheap and much more flexible than comparable Android slabs. One of the few things that I like more on touchy Windows over IOS and Android are its on-screen keyboard and the Metro (or whatever it's called now) version of IE which is surprisingly nice to use. Plus this ninety quid machine will work the entire Good Old Games library (mostly very smoothly, if similarly specced machines are anything to go by) so Tie Fighter et al on the train are a cheap option.

    1. Shinku

      You mention the on-screen keyboard, but that's one complaint I have about touchy Windows - the OSK works great under Metro, but point blank refuses to appear automatically under desktop Windows. Tap that text box all you like, but it won't do anything, you have to press the OSK button on the taskbar. I'm going to assume that this is by design for some reason since it works just fine under Metro, but I really wish they'd correct it.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        It's not that easy. Metro application are designed for the keyboard appearing automatically, but with desktop application it may be difficult to show the keyboard with interfering with the application, especially if the input area is not in the "right place" when the keyboard appear. I guess that's one of the main reasons MS decided to leave the user the task to invoke the keyboard.

  18. PonchoD

    Got it to stream Steam

    So far so good, I'm still playing around with getting some stuff like Elite: Dangerous, (non-native Steam games do run but a bit slow at the moment.).

    But hook up the 360 adapter and your away with Toybox Turbos, risk or rain etc.

  19. Adolph Clickbait

    http://www.linxtablet.co.uk/

    linx forum

  20. TheProf
    Unhappy

    More a review of Windows than the tablet.

    I was tempted to get one of these but one user review mentioned that it had a plastic screen. Out of all the 'professional' reviews I've read not one mentioned the screen material. However they all mentioned the 'odd button placement'.

    Considering that the screen is the main input device I'd like to know what it's made of (I know it's not Gorilla glass 'cos everyone mentions that!) how it feels to drag a finger across it, whether it 'feels right' and what the image looks like.

    Nice to know that it comes in sleeved sturdy box!

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: More a review of Windows than the tablet.

      "Considering that the screen is the main input device I'd like to know what it's made of (I know it's not Gorilla glass 'cos everyone mentions that!) how it feels to drag a finger across it, whether it 'feels right' and what the image looks like."

      The 10 linx at least comes with a pre-installed screen protector film, and seems to be fine to use with fingertips. I hadn't noticed it being a problem that I've ever thought about.

    2. Whatshisnehm

      Re: More a review of Windows than the tablet.

      The screen is nice, good resolution of 1280 by 800, not full HD but still pretty. The feel of the screen is good, seems to be glass and is the usual, gorgeously smooth. The actual input is pretty good too, you need to be more accurate than android devices, but that makes sense as everything is a bit smaller in comparison. In general, the screen's really good and even big man-hands can use it nicely.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An "add on" to a Windows phone?

    Not directly. But if - as I have - you've been watching Netflix or used an astronomy app on your Lumia, and you think "I could use a couple more inches (I know) to get a better experience" then you might be tempted by one of these for a better viewing experience.

    1. Shinku

      Re: An "add on" to a Windows phone?

      The problem with that for the time being is that apps on Windows Phone don't necessarily appear on Windows proper and vice-versa. That may change with Windows 10, what with the rumours that it'll be the same thing on all the platforms, and I hope it does - Windows Phone *does* have an iPlayer app, for example, but Windows 8 does not.

      It would certainly be nice to see some sort of iPhone/iPad or Android phone/Android tablet style coherence between the two so that apps you purchase on one device become available on all, regardless of form factor. Perhaps the more mature app store of Windows Phone could give Windows 8, or Windows 10 as it'll soon be, something of a leg-up.

      1. montyburns56

        Re: An "add on" to a Windows phone?

        "The problem with that for the time being is that apps on Windows Phone don't necessarily appear on Windows proper and vice-versa."

        Yeah, I bought one of those £60 Tesco Windows Connect tablets over Christmas and one of the most annoying aspects of using Windows 8.1 on a tablet is when you find a useful app for Windows Phone 8 only to find out that it won't work on Windows tablets. One advantage that Android has over Windows is that generally Android apps will work on both tablets and phones.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are others like the linx

    I have a 2gb 32Gb Voyo A1 mini 8" Windows 8.1 that cost less than £100. Its pretty good for the price I think. Still prefer my Android Tab tho'

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great little devices

    These things are great, good for surfing and a bit of netflix. Its great to have full desktop firefox as well for when its required. I use it more now than my ipad. The only reason is i can now have skype and a web browser side by side. I am looking at you apple!

  24. Bleu

    Readable review

    Not in the market.

    I have not set up a gmail account in Outlook, but an over-enthusiastic boss set up my Yahoo account here in it.

    It eats all arrived mail, so when you open the account in a browser, everything before the last time you received or sent a message in Outlook is gone. The only copy is in Outlook.

    I haven't had time to go through more than a third of the mail it ate, just have to be very careful not to do anything else with that account in Outlook until I finish.

    Would not be surprised if it does the same to a gmail account. I would consider it at least malware behaviour, if not a security problem.

    This whole subscription software thing is rotten, does it just die if you don't re-suscribe within a year?

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: Readable review

      You might want to look at your outlook settings and tell it to leave the originals on the server.

      1. Bleu

        Re: Readable review

        Thank you,

        I did try some research, it is not an uncommon complaint.

        With the 'ribbon' interface, it is so hard to find anything.

        However, I will try your suggestion next week.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Readable review

      Are you using POP3?? Even so, you can configure it to leave a copy on the server. Anyway, POP3 is today a really obsolete protocol useful only in some circumstances. It was designed when people usually used a single computer, and accessed mail only from there. And to keep mail server space usage to a minimum storing read emails on the user system.

      IMAP4 has far better features, it syncs email from the remote server to the local computer, and allows to access the same account from different applications, including web clients.

      I guess applications stop working - or may work in a limited, read-only fashion - if you don't renew the subscription.

  25. Tweedledum

    Great devices

    I gave 2 of these 8's as Xmas presents to my teenage boys at £50 a pop when Staples had these on offer just before Xmas. Would be £20 after cashback if I can be bothered to send in my Blackberry Playbook.

    Great little devices, especially with the keyboard cases that you can pick up for £11 on eBay. This is their device of choice now for streaming, homework etc. over the Windows 7 laptops that they also have.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how is this possible?

    Anyone care to explain how I can install Windows 8.x on a PC with a 32 GB drive and 1 GB RAM have it not only be usable but remain usable after a year or two's worth of windows updates?

    I still don't understand how this is possible yet I keep seeing tablets with these specs being described as not bad....

    1. dogged
      Boffin

      Re: how is this possible?

      >Anyone care to explain how I can install Windows 8.x on a PC with a 32 GB drive and 1 GB RAM have it not only be usable but remain usable after a year or two's worth of windows updates?

      Like this.

      1. jason 7

        Re: how is this possible?

        I've installed Windows 8.1 on a few laptops with 40GB Intel SSDs in them. Windows 8.1 takes up about 12GB so plenty space for a light on the go machine.

        Works fine. Windows now dynamically spreads itself according to how much space is available on installation.

      2. DaveNullstein

        Re: how is this possible?

        > Like this.

        Ahh.... Thank you for that.

  27. jason 7

    Hmmm so what could we get....

    .....for double the budget?

    Exciting times.

    1. Steve Gill

      Re: Hmmm so what could we get....

      But why would you want to double the budget? This format really stands out simply because the price is so low for the performance. Oooh, yes, I see what you mean, we could get some serious power if the basic idea was kept the same but with a much bigger budget for processors and memory.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Hmmm so what could we get....

        Well keep the similar principle but if £80 gets you this far...for £160 maybe you could get a 8-10" 1080p (1600x900 if not) screen, same CPU (or a 1.8Ghz bump), bit bigger battery, 3-4GB of ram and 64GB of storage with Windows 8.1.

        A tablet of that spec for £150-£160 would make quite a dent.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Hmmm so what could we get....

          Sadly I think the marketers realize there is a willingness to jump between the low-end and the high-end. Those who just want cheap will only buy based on that. Those who want better quality have generally been willing to leap up two price categories to get there, hence you don't see a smooth gradient of improvement across price points. It's geared towards different market segments baselines, instead.

  28. RS232 4 Eva

    Using the Windows Desktop on a tablet

    It is possible to make using the desktop on a Windows 8 tablet as easy as using the desktop on a laptop and that's to install TouchMousePointer. With one touch of a finger your touch screen becomes a touchpad with a mouse pointer. It's free and it's genius!

  29. Mevi

    early win 8.x tablet adopter

    I have a 10" Lenovo Tablet 2, originally running 8, then 8.1, then 8.1 update.

    I only use a few modern apps (mail, games), and stick mostly to the desktop. Mine came with a pressure sensitive stylus, which helps when websites need a mouse hover, or if I need to click something tiny. Firefox runs the Theme Font Size Changer extension to make the buttons big for my sausage fingers.

    I read that the short standby time of the tablet 2 was caused by the sound driver preventing a low power connected standby state. Adding a scheduled task to mute the sound going into standby made a huuuge difference. There are built in diagnosis tools for Linx owners to investigate, maybe?

    The key to getting 32GB to be workable is to go into the properties of each the library folders (documents, music, video, etc.) and move them to a premium brand fast SD card. I keep meaning to put in some time to reinstall with WIM boot,but it's not a priority.

    Thinking of picking up a Linx 7 and velcro-ing it to the back of the TV as a 2nd HTPC. I think my iPad 1 is worth more on eBay than the £30 trade in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: early win 8.x tablet adopter

      Not Windows but one HiSense 7 Pro has a cracked screen and it's perfect as a HTPC. Also, any device here talks to it remotely. Fumble-fingers here (severed nerves) so it's a use I hadn't thought of in advance.

  30. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    A serious question for a change...

    Given that I'm totally blind & need to use a Screen Reader Environment (SRE) in order to interact with the device, does Win8.x have a built-in SRE that doesn't devour system resources like a starving Hollywood actress at an All You Can Eat buffet, or does the system have the computational horsepower to run a 3rd party SRE such as Jaws from Freedom Scientific?

    Because with only 1Gb of ram, I'm concerned that the device would turn into a veritable TukTuk towing the Titanic as far as internal latencies are concerned ("I pushed a button twenty minutes ago, so I've only got another ten left to go before it lets me know I've pressed it!") while trying to run the SRE in the background along with any other programs.

    If a device like this can run the SRE without excessive difficulty/latency, then I'd be tempted to buy such a device to try my hand with a tablet. If it can't (too much churn & burn to run the SRE at the same time), then I'll have to just save my money to buy a proper laptop.

    But I'm really curious about tablets, since I don't need the screen resolution (a low resolution screen is fine, and saves CPU/RAM for the other more important tasks) but need something that can multitask the SRE & whatever else I may run.

    I'd considered Android devices but TalkBack doesn't seem to help with the fact that the "gear icon" for Settings couldn't be found at all no matter how long I dragged my fingers around the screen. (No Settings means I can't tweak the device to my needs, nor re-run the Tutorials to learn how to USE the bloody thing.)

    I'd use an Apple device, but I'm not filthy stinking obscenely rich enough to afford throwing $1K at a device in the *hopes* that I can use it without having to pimp slap Siri into behaving. "What do I want to do? I want to re-read the screen, you stupid whore! GAH!" *Cough*

    Anyway, is this Windows tablet something that can multitask the SRE, or should I just buy a laptop?

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: A serious question for a change...

      These little tablets are quite zippy but I'm not sure how they would do for any serious multitasking. You can pick up an outlet Dell Venue 11 tablet with an i5 intel processor and 4Gb Ram for £300 or a bit less for an i3. You're into genuine laptop rivals there and they should be able to handle just about anything short of gaming.

      They have bit of a bad rep if you look up the reviews but a BIOS update deals with most of those issues. We have a large number of these at work and they work well and are popular with the users. Probably double the weight of the Linx tablet if that's an issue.

    2. dogged

      Re: A serious question for a change...

      Apparently Narrator has improved a great deal. As a test, I had my blind colleague run it for the morning - because this is interesting stuff and it applies to our own software as well - and he claims it's "good enough for work". I also ran diagnostics on the PC he was using (i3, 4GBRAM test box) and it did not appear to feel any strain from the extra overhead.

      Obviously, that's some way removed from an Atom with 1GB regardless of Haswell's improvements but it's something.

  31. Arnold Lieberman

    Teclast x98

    I picked up one of these for £130 recently and have the best of both worlds as it will boot either to Windows or Android natively. Comes with 2Gb RAM and an iPad retina screen. Is the same size as an ipad so can take advantage of accessories such as cases.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hidden costs.

    What about year 2, 3, 4 and 5 for Office costs? Google Docs is of course free....

    This tablet is basically to fool idiots into locking them into Microsoft's new pay for services platform. Just like WIndows Phone, it's destined to flop.

    1. dogged

      Re: Hidden costs.

      > Google Docs is of course free....

      So is Office Online.

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Hidden costs.

      >>"This tablet is basically to fool idiots into locking them into Microsoft's new pay for services platform."

      And what do you think Google giving away their OS for free is about? Charity?

  33. David Lawton

    Can it install malware as easily as a desktop running Windows? Because my days of visiting friends and family because their computers are riddled with malware stopped when they got iPads , i don't want it to start again.

  34. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Heroin

    Another desperate attempt by Microsoft to get the serfs hooked on Office360, to regain market share.

    Sad, really, upside, however, is there is no way they are making any money on this, especially considering the Office360 subscription they are giving away for free.

    Go, MS, go ... like the Nautilus.

  35. Inquisitive

    Hipstreet

    Mmmm this gadget looks suspiciously like the Hipstreet W7 I have just bought from Carphone Warehouse for £49 very similar in many ways. Win 8.1, Office 365 for a year all in a 7 inch model but my first taste of Windows 8 in any flavour as I run Windows 7 and have a Galaxy Tab 10.1, my phone is an Android too. I must say that after some fiddling about with the set up, mainly downloading some apps I wanted and deleting others I didn't then getting use to a Windows 8 tablet set up as being use to my Galaxy, I find the Windows 8.1 experience not all that bad.

    Granted I'm not a power user or technically advanced like some posters on here but for a casual surf, check e-mail, write the odd Word document and look at stuff in my One Drive the Hipstreet is quite passable. I have added a 32GB memory card and one of the daft things compared to my Galaxy Tab is that you cannot move any apps or download any apps to the memory card, I have Googled the subject and it seems you just can't, most odd. So pictures and documents only on my memory card at the moment for but £49 it has given me a insight to all I have been reading about concerning Windows 8 and all the woes.

  36. Joe Burmeister
    Linux

    That name.... Linx

    Surely we are meant to think the missing letter.

    I don't know if they are trying to game people or search engines.

    Interesting move to do with when doing a loss leader into a market your failing at, name your product one letter off a central part, if not flag ship part, of much of your competition in many markets.

    I guess Androd, Andrid, etc, where deemed to risky.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That name.... Linx

      It's obviously named after the short fellow in "The Time Warrior" (1974)

      ....dumbledy-dum dumbledly-dum..... whooo-oohhh-oooo

  37. RS232 4 Eva

    Now comes with a free upgrade to Windows 10! ;-)

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Got one of the 10 inch. Overall its great, although with a few annoyances. First one was RSAT being specifically crippled to not install on any SoC device! Second was the SD card (obviously) mounts as removable, and visual studio refuses to install on a removable drive - simple solution is to fool it with a junction/symlink but seems stupid to have to. The office install see's the Linx as a PC not a tablet, so that is your PC license gone leaving you only a tablet (Android) or phone license remaining.

    Oh also apparently the screens are very fragile.

    But for the price, I wish I'd bought a 7, 8 and 10 inch versions at the cheap pre-xmas staples prices.

  39. Christian Berger Silver badge

    The "bargain basement" strategy isn't new for Microsoft

    It's already what made MS-DOS and Windows to popular. Back then you could either have a home computer which set you back less than 1000 DM, some "IBM-compatible" PC for 2000-4000 DM or a proper workstation for much more.

    Microsoft provided just enough functionality (i.e. a filesystem) while IBM kept the hardware compatible so the lack of drivers was no issue, so companies wrote software for MS-DOS, making those systems more or less usable.

    Of course everyone who had enough money and knew what they were doing was getting some sort of UNIX workstation. This only changed when the 386 became affordable and free Unix and unixoid systems emerged. By the 1990s the cost difference between a Linux workstation and a Windows PC was 4 megs of RAM, since Windows for Workgroups 3.11 could crawl along with 4 megs while your typical Linux needed at least 8 megs for X11.

  40. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
    Windows

    Well, why not?

    Waiting to see what the Clover traders think of my 3 landfill offerings: 1 cheap android phone and 2 cheap 7 " tablets. If they offer enough money and cover more than the postage, I might just buy one of these Windows 8 Linx doo-hickeys. Even the name has a subliminal open source "look and feel" about it and I'm pretty sure Torvalds can't sue for that.

    Or perhaps I'll just wait until these puppies show up on Ebay with their lower priced brethren.

    It is a clever marketing ploy by MS. Competing on price against Android might just work. The Walmart price demographic and small business user will certainly look at these and perhaps buy them. Once hooked, people with bigger budgets might eventually trade up to a Surface and more cloud storage. Commodity computing that runs Office for a 100 bucks does sound appealing.

    Does anyone know whether this Office Personal subscription can be later extended to a "buy forever" license, i.e., not just a rental version? Don't want to cough up 299 bucks later just to keep using my 99 dollar tablet, you know?

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: Well, why not?

      You need to keep buying. But looking on Ebay you can pick up an annual O365 code for £10 or less.

  41. Whatshisnehm
    Happy

    What a deal!

    I got myself the 7 inch version of this tablet, basically the same specs with a slightly smaller screen. Already I'm impressed, it's still a good size and doesn't have anywhere near the amount of bezel I expected.

    What's more impressive, I popped onto Blizzard's website to download their desktop app and installed Hearthstone. It told me I didn't have enough RAM, but I ignored it and opened the game... It works. Not as seamlessly as other devices, there is an occasional judder and selecting your next play takes a little longer too, but it works!

    As for integration with other Microsoft services, I plugged in my already set-up account and I'm ready! Skype just worked, along with other things.

    There are some great deals on this if you have a little gander online. For the price and what you get it's hard not to pass up. Also, one of the little gadgets that comes in the box is a Micro USB to USB adaptor which actually allows this thing to have a USB port! Granted you can't charge at the same time, but even so, it's something I've found hard to find in other windows tablets that aren't heading into the several hundreds of pounds.

    You know you want one.

  42. Dylbot

    Bought an 8 inch one fully expecting it to be landfill, and I'm hugely impressed by whatever gypsy magic is working on this thing to make it not stutter and die constantly running Windows 8.1 on that paltry amount of RAM. Does Facetubery and other related internet things without issue, does Steam in-home streaming for full fat gaming without being stuck in my cold office, and, er, shit the bed completely when I tried to run Civ 5 on it, but I'm sure some ini tweakery will sort that out.

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