THE SURFACE PRO is one of the most popular 2-in-1 Windows devices out there and has been for a good few years now. It perhaps outshines rivals in its class because it’s portable, lightweight design and does everything a laptop can without the bulk. But most of all, it has Microsoft’s logo stamped on it, a brand that is bound to give customers that reassurance when investing in a Windows machine.
The only major flaw with the Surface Pro, however, is that it costs an arm and a leg if you want some decent specs, with some prices going up as far as a grand.
But if you’re desperate for a Surface and don’t have the cash to splurge, there is another way. The Linx way. The Linx 12×64 is basically a cheaper imitation of the Surface Pro, and comes in at a fraction of the price. For just £299, in fact. But does it perform as well? Read our review below and we’ll tell you!
We shouldn’t really need to tell you much about the Linx 12×64’s design. Why? Because you know it very well. Yes, it’s just like Microsoft’s Surface Pro, just not quite as nice. That doesn’t mean it’s bad though. It’s chiefly made of plastic, yes, but it feels sturdy enough.
At just over 10mm thick, the Linx 12×64 isn’t the slimmest 2-in-1 we’ve ever got our mitts on by a long shot, but it is still light enough to slip into a rucksack and not make it too heavy to carry for substantial distances, weighing 1.7kg with the keyboard attached.
Speaking of which, the Linx 12×64’s keyboard is designed very similarly to Microsoft’s but doesn’t feel anywhere near as high in quality. Its back is covered by a gross pseudo-leather material that collects dents and dints far too easily, and it’s not very stiff considering it’s meant for typing on. It does, however, do the job you’d expect of it, with travel being sufficient enough to allow you to use comfortably on for a decent day of work.
Like the latest Surface Pro devices, the Linx 12×64’s kickstand allows the tablet to sit in almost any position and in our tests it rested well at any angle without slipping, even when applying pressure to the screen.
It does feel a little flimsy, however, and we feared a drop at an awkward angle could easily result in the Kickstand breaking off altogether.
The Linx 12×64 has a 12.5in screen offering 10-point multi-touch with a 16:9 aspect ratio and default full HD resolution of 1920×1080. We were pleased with the quality of the full HD display in general, with text and images appearing bright and vibrant, with little pixelation around text on close inspection. The size is also rather substantial for a device at this price point, which is always a plus.
Touchscreen operations were generally responsive, but there were instances when some commands were not registered and we would need to touch the screen again to get it to detect the command. This perhaps has mainly to do with the size of the icons displayed, due to the high resolution.
The accelerometer works very well too, and flips from portrait mode and back to landscape mode fairly rapidly when the tablet is turned from either position.
Those conscious of smudge marks should be aware that the Linx 12×64 does attract its fair share of smears and marks when being heavily used. However, with the brightness setting on full, it doesn’t fail to deliver great brightness and clarity, even when working in very bright conditions such as outdoors. The only problem with this is that it will drain the battery rather quickly. Nevertheless, performance in this area isn’t too bad, as we will discuss in more detail later on.
The Linx 12×64 tackles everyday tasks with ease. It runs the latest Windows 10 operating system (OS), and our review model was powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 Quad Core CPU running at 1.84GHz alongside 4GB LPDDR3 SDRAM and Intel integrated graphics. This offered more than enough power to watch full HD videos with downloads running in the background and several webpage tabs open. While multitasking, we encountered no lag problems and generally the 2-in1 was very responsive to commands.
Unless you’re using it for gaming on high graphics settings then you’re not going to notice much lag. Both touchscreen and non-touchscreen operations were fluid, with the Linx 12×64 responding very quickly to commands.
However, graphics performance is a different story altogether. Our GeekBench benchmark score of 872 (single-core) and 2181 (multi-core) proved that the Linx 12×64 is not a tablet that’s built for high-end benchmarks. The Intel integrated graphics ensured that Linx 12×64 struggled to make it through the benchmark itself, with its Micro USB charger not even being able to keep the device fully powered throughout, meaning the battery was dipping even when it was plugged in. This tablet is definitely not made for high-performance. But as far as video playing and word processing goes, you’re laughing. Especially at this price point.
Powered by a 9000mAh, 3.7 V Lithium-ion battery, the Linx 12×64 is touted as lasting for seven hours on one charge. We found it lasted for a little less than promised at roughly 5 hours and 30 mins of uninterrupted use on full brightness while connected to WiFi. Our testing included word processing, watching video, music listening and general web browsing without letting the screen turn off or go into power-saving mode.
This is not a tablet that’s built for benchmarks, at least on the high end. The Intel integrated graphics limped their way through (most of) 3DMark, and the CPU took a languid wander through Cinebench and Geekbench – and, all the while, the X64 plugged in.
Connectivity and storage
Storage is perhaps where the Linx 12×64 is let down the most. If you’re needing a dedicated machine for working and whatnot, then its 64GB of inbuilt eMMC storage will not cut it. The good news, however, is that this can be expanded via microSD,
As for connectivity, the Linx 12×64 boasts just one lonely USB 3.0 slot, one Micro USB port and a Micro HDMI output for connecting it up to a larger display or TV. This is probably average connectivity options for a portable device of this kind, but we would have liked to of seen a Type-C charge port instead of the MicroUSB, not only for convenience but because it makes it feel rather dated.
If you set your expectations low and don’t assume that £300’s worth of portable computing is going to offer you everything you need from a laptop, then the Linx 12×64 could be the right device for you. Especially if you’re on a budget. It might not feel the most premium out there, of course, but if you basically just need something to work on while travelling, that can handle basic web browsing, video streaming and word processing ten the Linx 12×64 is a great, flexible device for the price. And better still, if you look around now you will probably be able to find it cheaper from online retailers. A win, win situation for anyone who could afford to fork out more than £700 for a Microsoft Surface Pro.
Good quality HD screen, keyboard cover included, decent battery life.
Sucks at high performance