Gerard Condon's Blog

Journal of a software developer.

Mini Linx 7 Review

I recently bought a Linx 7 tablet for 70 euro. For the price it’s a great little tablet. It comes with a full version of Windows 8 and a year’s subscription to Office 365. It’s great for Youtube/videos, Twitter and internet browsing. It’s cheap enough, compared to a four or five hundred euro iPad, that I can leave the two year old watch his favourite videos on it without worrying too much. Some parts of the hardware are not up to scratch - the camera is terrible and the headphone jack has static noise - but for the price it’s fine.

One of the best features of the tablet compared to iOS is that it comes with a micro-SD card slot. That means that it is really easy to copy over files from my desktop. I recently tried to load up my iPad with photos and vidoes to show the in-laws. Even though the videos were shot on another iOS device, it was a nightmare to get them on the iPad - a convoluted process involving re-encoding and syncing through iTunes. On the Linx, I just copied the original files to the SD card in Windows, plugged the card in into the slot and was able to watch them immediately.

In fact that original iPad is really only used now as an ereader. I think the usefulness of the applications on iOS has been going down recently compared to other platforms. Quality-wise they’re absolutely fine but they’re fairly shallow compared to what they could be. The race to the bottom app-store economy and the limitations that iOS puts on inter-app communications severely limits the type of apps being written.

I play a good bit of chess and the apps on iOS are nowhere near the quality of those on Windows. And apparently also those on Android. However with the Linx I can run any Windows chess app. Even Chessbase runs fine on it, which gives access to a vast library of Chessbase Fritz Trainer videos. I can open pgn files in multiple different applications and copy and paste data between them. I can use source control to version my notes. Also on Windows, developers are able to charge proper rates for their applications, thus ensuring a robust marketplace for software.

The problem with using Windows applications on the Linx is that the UI is really awkward to use with just your fingers. However to me, this is a small price to pay for being able to use these apps at all on a tablet. Also you can use Bluetooth mice and keyboards with the Linx so at least you have some options.

Update If you have a Linx tablet then you should upgrade the wifi drivers to fix the battery life.