The latest Microsoft Surface Pro is among the best tablet PCs ever made. Some might say it is the best tablet, full stop. But its price, at £800 for even the lowest model, puts it out of reach for many people, particularly as a proper laptop is often a more attractive and practical proposition.
The Surface has, therefore, attracted its fair share of cut-price competitors – Asus' Transformer Mini range, for example, does brilliant things on a budget, and there are Chinese Surface clones like the Chuwi Hi13 that, while trickier to obtain, deserve attention for their achievements.
It would be easy to slot the Linx 12X64 into that same cheap Surface tablet bracket. Easy and, pretty much, correct: despite its limitations – and there are plenty, which we'll certainly get to – the 12X is outwardly well appointed.
It's super-thin, has a keyboard cover, a full HD screen, and is nearly as good to have around as its inspiration at less than half the price.
Here is the Linx 12X64 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (Cherry Trail), Quad Core @ 1.84GHz
Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 400
RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Screen: 12.5" LCD, 1920x1080
Storage: 64GB eMMC (expandable via microSD)
Optical drive: None
Ports: USB 3.0 x1, Micro USB x1, Micro HDMI
Connectivity: 802.11 a/g/n/ac
Camera: 2MP front, 2MP rear
Weight: 2 lbs, tablet only / 3.7 lbs with keyboard cover (930g / 1.7kg)
Size: 0.42 x 12.40 x 7.44 inches (1.07 x 31.5 x 18.9 mm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
While we've not been able to determine the exact lineage of this specific hardware package, Linx is a badge attached to UK tech distributor Exertis, and as such this device seems to be available in the UK only, through supermarkets, Argos, and Amazon.
It's (obviously) inexpensive at £299 (the equivalent of $395, AU$495 though, again, you'll likely need to import one and pay the associated fees if you're outside the UK) and the fact that the keyboard cover comes in the box with it certainly adds value.
You can bag one for less if you shop around – we found it available for £275 on Amazon – but that's not as cheap as you can get; Linx' own 12V64, with a slightly smaller screen and a moderately less-powerful Atom processor, has recently been cleared out for £199, so watch out for further reductions down the line.
In a machine this cheap, you'd expect a few corners to be cut. Accordingly, the case is far from the best. The main body of the tablet is fashioned out of a slightly-flexible plastic, which doesn't give us much hope for its long term durability – though half of that case is protected by the metal kickstand when the unit's stowed.
The keyboard cover doesn't fare much better, backed as it is by a horrible pseudo-leather material that collects dents and dings if you so much as look at it, and the whole thing lacks the stiffness we'd expect from something you're supposed to type on. It also doesn't fit perfectly, frequently leaving a dust-sucking millimetre gap between it and the screen when closed.
For all our cursing, though, these are light niggles. Treat the X64 well – maybe slip it into a sleeve while it's bouncing around in your bag – and there's no reason it won't withstand daily use.
It certainly doesn't feel cheap if you're not microscopically inspecting it; at 2lb, or more with the keyboard cover attached, its heft gives it a premium edge, maybe even enough to fool unsuspecting friends into thinking this is a machine twice its price.