Linx quietly slipped out an Xbox-centric Windows 10 tablet to the UK market and it's a lot better than you might think.
It's probably not a brand many are familiar with, certainly in more global markets. But Linx has already provided a run of decent, low cost Windows tablets. The Vision 8, however, takes a whole new focus.
The tablet almost seems secondary in this ensemble, because what grabs you first and foremost is the handlebars.
What Linx has done is to create a cradle for the Vision 8 with a built in Xbox One controller. The renders we've seen so far don't tell close to half of the story. Given the £149 price tag you'd be forgiven for expecting some cheapness and a less than stellar experience.
Happily that doesn't seem to be the case. It's no Elite Controller construction by any stretch, but it's not bad. The handlebars feel solid, the grippy material is, well, grippy enough, and it's not an unpleasant thing to hold.
What surprised me more was the surprising comfort at playing a game with it. The whole setup is a little peculiar when compared to more traditional controller, but it seems to work. It'd probably take a little while to get comfortable with but in my hands-on playing Forza 6 streamed from a nearby console, it was positively enjoyable.
The sticks felt responsive, the ABXY buttons remind of the old Xbox 360 controller a little, and they light up. If that sort of thing is important to you. On a driving game like Forza 6 the experience was probably easier to get to grips with than a first-person shooter would be, for example.
That's where the limitations of design will kick in the most. The controls while responsive aren't as close together as you'll be used to. There's also the small matter that you're supporting a tablet as well as trying to mash buttons. For some more casual game streaming though, it's surprisingly good.
The tablet itself is standard enough fare for a budget Windows 10 slate with an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It's not the slimmest thing you'll ever encounter either, and the 1280x800 resolution display will not be making your game graphics look their sharpest. Integrated stereo speakers are a nice touch, though.
All told I definitely like this tablet more than I thought I would. It's surprisingly solid and would make for a great gift for the kids. The usual caveats will apply to game streaming, but this is certainly a more elegant solution than a regular small tablet with cables hanging off it and a controller plugged in.
It's nice to be surprised, sometimes.
If you're interested hit the link below to pick one up from Currys PCWorld for £149.