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Hands on: Linx Vision

Stream your Xbox games to this Windows 10 tablet, and play using the custom controller

Think of the Linx Vision Windows 10 tablet as a Wii U controller for your Xbox – one that costs less than Nintendo’s entire console.

You may not have heard of Linx, especially if you don’t live in the UK, but this small tablet manufacturer is about to make quite a statement with the Linx Vision. It’s an 8-inch Windows 10 tablet that comes with an Xbox-certified controller dock and the ability to wirelessly stream games from an Xbox directly to the tablet.

Sounds expensive, right? It’s not. The whole package is just £150, or the equivalent of $230.

The 8-inch tablet runs Intel’s new Cherry Trail quad-core Atom processor and has 2GB of RAM, and to ensure lag isn’t an issue when connecting to your Xbox, it uses your home network rather than the cloud. The convenience factor is the Vision’s big selling point here, because the TV connected to the Xbox can be freed up while the gaming continues, in much the same way as the Nintendo Wii U’s controller does for that console.

The convenience factor is the big selling point.

However, because the Linx Vision runs full Windows 10, there’s complete access to the Windows app store and Steam, so even those who don’t own an Xbox have a reason to want the Linx Vision. The controller system is compatible with a wide variety of games, including Minecraft — a point highlighted several times in our conversation with the company. Linx is definitely looking to capitalize on the interest in Mojang’s hit title, but apparently the Vision will happily run most major games too, including Assassins Creed and Forza 6.

The tablet is a chunky device, and has a Surface-style body shape, with sharp angles and a flat rear panel. The dock is made from plastic and the prototype we tried out did creak and groan a little, but we were told it was only 90 percent final, so this may change in the retail version. Slot the tablet into the holder and it’s locked into place using two switches at the side. The hand grips and controllers have been produced by the same company that makes the actual Xbox controller, and Linx worked closely with Microsoft to ensure the experience is very similar.

All the controls fall perfectly to hand, and the size felt just right. In fact, it felt great to hold, and despite the tablet being rather chunky, the entire rig isn’t heavy. Sitting down and resting your arms on the chair or your body, the Linx Vision shouldn’t be tiring to hold — crucial if it’s to be used for extensive gaming. Checking out the extra buttons, you’ll find a special one for activating in-game recording, and the option to instantly share the resulting footage online.

Windows 10 comes already installed on the tablet, and both Cortana and Continuum features are enabled. It was fluid and quick in our brief tests, but we certainly didn’t have time to put it through any challenging tests, so we can’t comment on its performance when faced with power-intensive tasks. although the OS means it’s capable of doing both, the Linx Vision is really for gaming, not spreadsheets.

The controller system is compatible with a wide variety of games, including Minecraft.

If you’re wondering how the Linx Vision can be sold so cheaply, there are some concessions made in the overall specification. There’s only 32GB of internal storage memory, although a MicroSD card can be used to increase this, and the 6,000mAh battery isn’t as high capacity as one would hope for, inside thick body shell like this. But it’s the screen resolution that really disappoints — it’s just 1,280 × 800. The screen was bright and clear, but graphically impressive games won’t shine in the same way they do on a TV or monitor.

It’s tough to moan though, given the very low price. What’s more, Linx will sell a package with the tablet, controller dock, and a specially designed messenger bag to transport it all around for £160 ($242). Plus if you’re looking at the rig and are reminded of a drone control system, Linx has the same idea. The company’s going to release its own drone in the near future, which makes this whole set up not only more exciting but also even more of a bargain, seeing as how drone control setups can cost the same price as this entire package.

Linx will put the Vision on sale in October in UK retail stores and throughout Europe. Sadly, there’s no U.S. release date yet.

Highs

  • Low price
  • Versatile
  • Microsoft certified controllers
  • Incoming drone support

Lows

  • Not the best looking tablet
  • UK-only for now
  • Low resolution screen