Review: Linx Vision 8" Gaming Tablet (Hardware)

Linx Vision 8" Gaming Tablet: Member Review

Hardware 1,386 view 5 likes 0 comments
Reviewed by Voxel, posted Apr 22, 2017, last updated Apr 23, 2017
I enjoy writing about tech when I can, and this is somewhat a reflection of that enjoyment.
Apr 22, 2017
The Linx Vision gaming tablet is one of the more 'able' portable PC gaming solutions on the market, aiming to bring modern-day PC gaming and Xbox One streaming to the very palm of consumers' hands.
Voxel
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A new vision of portable gaming

Portable gaming tablets are becoming an increasingly-popular addition to gamers' hardware collections, myself included. Gaming-related functionality aside, they can perform almost any normal, average given tasks that a PC with the same operating system installed can do. The Linx Vision tablet is no exception to this, sporting a pre-installed Windows 10 OS for features such as Xbox One game streaming and the Windows Store, which are two of the main highlights of the product, as well as the ability to run Steam and ordinary Windows programs. Yep, that includes your average standalone games that don't run via Steam, however the compatibility or even the chance that it will run at all can be particularly low sometimes, depending on what game you are trying out.

I have owned a Linx Vision tab of my own for a while now, and I haven't put it down since day one. Being able to play PC games on-the-move just felt like a revolution to me, as I had never even thought about a physically-portable Windows device with a detachable controller in my life, up until the point I had first layed eyes upon it for the first time in early-2016, and after that it had me extremely interested in portable PC gaming from there on!

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Pictures of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (2012 Steam port) running on the Linx tablet, as well as PaRappa the Rapper 2 (via PCSX2; runs at 55-60fps!), the main Steam window, and everyone's favourite gaming forum!
The casing is made from aluminium alloy inlays, which not only makes it very relaxing to the touch, but gives off a smooth, glossy look, as well as attractive line patterns traversing through the material. The controller cradle has traces of the same aluminium alloy material in its back as well, however the main casing seems to be your average plastic casing.

Hardware and tech-specs

Though the Linx tab may not be as powerful as the Nintendo Switch or the GPD Win, it still packs a decent-enough punch performance-wise. Below is the full list of tech-specs this device has to offer:
  • OS: Windows 10 Home (32-bit)
  • Dimensions: 214.6 x 134.7 x 9.9mm
  • LCD Screen: 1200 x 800 / 60 Hz Refresh Rate
  • CPU: Intel Atom Cherry Trail – T3 and PCBA connector change (around 1.44GHz)
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 32GB internal storage, with expandable microSD storage up to 32GB
  • Battery: 6,000mAH
  • Casing: Polycarbonate and Aluminium Alloy
  • Bluetooth: 4.0
  • Cameras: 2MP Front, 2MP Rear
  • Mic: Yes
  • Connectivity: Micro USB, Micro HDMI, Pogo Pin, 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Ports: HDMI 1.4 output, Micro USB, 3.5mm Aux-in, MicroSD card slot
Don't let this fool you, this tablet performs very well in both gaming and normal Windows computing. Many of the games I have currently played on my own Linx Vision (a couple you can see from the photos) all run at around 60fps or just a little less. Yes, even PaRappa the Rapper 2 through the PCSX2 emulator. ;p
The fast processing speeds are not too kind on the battery though. On average, when not running resource-heavy content, you can nab around 4-7 hours easily, but playing those particularly resource-heavy games can swiftly drain the battery in around 2-3 hours, so it's best to have the power adapter (microUSB type B) handy, or plugged in, while playing!

Unfortunately though, Linx Vision ships with a measly 32GB internal flash storage, which of course is just way to small if you are looking to cram a considerable amount of games and content on. It further doesn't help that the OS takes up about 25-30% of that said amount, leaving you with little space for larger game installations on the said internal storage alone... Fortunately, there is expandable microSD storage just at the left-hand side of the unit for your large-memory-capacity needs, but I feel they could have at least ramped up the memory capacity to 64GB initially.

Controller Cradle

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Linx Vision tablet out of its controller cradle.
Alongside the system is a snug-fitting controller cradle that allows the tablet to be attached into it. Some may look at it and think at first that the controller doesn't look pleasant or comfortable at all to hold (and I felt the same way!), however contrary to that belief, I actually personally fell in love with the design and feel of the controller as soon as I first wrapped my hands around the grips. Just think of holding a more bulkier Switch (in portable mode) or a Wii U gamepad, and you should grasp the idea of how it will feel.
The controller is designed to mimic an Xbox One controller, with the layout being similar, if not same, to that of one - two analog sticks, a directional pad, ABXY buttons, trigger and shoulder buttons, Start/Back buttons, and an Xbox Guide button. There are also built-in left and right motors for vibration feedback, and another cool thing to note down is that the ABXY buttons light up when you connect the cradle to the system!
Admittedly, the Start/Back button placements weren't quite right for me, as you have to really stretch your thumb to try and press them sometimes, which often kills the comfortableness of the controller. Other than that, I haven't really had any issues reaching the other buttons and sticks with ease.

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There is also a small slider at the base of the controller to switch how the controller acts. More specifically, it can be changed to act as either a Xbox One controller, or alternatively a generic third-party controller. This ensures maximum compatibility between older PC game titles, and more modern titles.

Software as good as the hardware...?

Seeing as just about the major bits of the hardware have been covered, I'll go on to my experiences with the software.
As I mentioned near the beginning of my review, the Linx tablet runs a Windows 10 operating system, and performs exactly like any Windows 10 PC, just instead with a touch screen and an on-screen keyboard. If Linx Vision does one thing best, it's being able to run pretty much every 32-bit software designed for Windows to the standards of an average netbook (so all-in-all, performs and runs very well), however I feel 64-bit was a massive missed opportunity, especially for a tablet with an x64-based processor. Many applications and games rely on running on 64-bit systems only, and the only possibly way to run them in any shape or form is through either an awfully-slow 64-bit Virtual Machine (possibly not worth the time), or if the desired software has a Linux port, running it through 64-bit Linux (yeah, there is actually a modified 64-bit Ubuntu available for tablets like this, regardless of the Linx Vision only housing a 32-bit UEFI, but I have never tried to install this myself... yet).

Anyway, on to Xbox streaming now, and even though I am quite a distance away from my broadband, the streaming is only very slightly delayed (only about 0.2ms delay) but if I was closer I'd probably have the steaming to a tee! Luckily, the quality of the streaming is still perfect nevertheless and doesn't cause any additional delays. There is the odd lag here and there, but it eventually catches back up and does not disturb the gameplay very much. Unsuprisingly, you can also make use of the controller attached to the tablet to control the Xbox.
And that's pretty much it to the Xbox streaming; nothing more, nothing less. You just stream your Xbox One games to your tablet and play as normal, as if you were using the same Xbox streaming app on your PC.

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Forza Horizon 3 streaming from my Xbone to the very tablet itself. Now I can casually stream and play from the comfort of my couch!

Investment-worthy?

If you are looking to ease off the mouse and keyboard for a bit, the Linx tablet is a great device to use while away from the comfort of your main, non-portable PC. And if you aren't bothered by the lack of 64-bit support and have one or two favourite, 32-bit-supported PC games, that don't require large amounts of power, the Linx tablet will serve that need very well. And with an up-to-date OS installed, as well as the Xbox streaming capabilities and UWP support, it perfectly blends the lines of PC gaming and tablet gaming into a nifty, all-in-one solution.

Verdict
Pros
+ Cheap, efficient solution to portable PC gaming; perfect for passing the time or Windows gaming on-the-go
+ Can run almost all 32-bit-based games and applications without issue
+ Aesthetically pleasing; the tablet is thin and sleek, yet packs a good amount of power for its cost and size still
Cons
- Lack of 64-bit software support
- Too little internal storage space to store content on without turning to microSD cards
7.5
out of 10
Overall
Although there have since been more powerful systems arrive on the market (the GPD Win for instance), Linx Vision keeps the traditional Windows tablet properties, while throwing additional power almost akin to a netbook and basic gaming needs into the mix, and I believe it executes those things particularly well.
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