Two-in-one laptops are perpetually growing in number but the devices that attract most of the attention tend to be pretty darned pricey. Not the Linx 12X64 – a 2-in-1 laptop that has a bundled detachable keyboard, a 12.5in Full HD multi-touch display and yet costs just £280.
If you’re looking for a device to take your lecture notes on, browse the web and you’re on a tight budget, the Linx 12X64 might just tick all the right boxes.
Linx 12X64 review: Price and competition
The Linx 12X64 is available for around £280 at Currys, Amazon and the Microsoft Store. Its closest rival is the Asus Transformer Mini, which can now be found for £310. It features the same processor, but has a smaller 10.1in display and comes with a bundled stylus.
Just up the price scale is the Microsoft Surface 3, another 2-in-1 but with a slightly faster Intel Atom processor, a 10.8in display and impressive battery life.
Take away the 2-in-1 design and your choices widen considerably. One alternative would be the HP Stream 11. The 11.6in laptop won’t get your pulse racing, but for just £220 it’s an excellent choice. It has an Intel Celeron processor and a 720p display.
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Linx 12X64 review: Design and build quality
The design is uninspiring: the Linx’s hard plastic shell is bland and nowhere near attractive as the colourful HP Stream 11 or the Asus Transformer Mini with its stunning aluminium frame.
I do, however, like the kickstand, which is made out of aluminium. It’s infinitely adjustable, just like on the far more expensive Surface Pro and allows you to prop up the laptop on a desk or your lap. With it folded away, you can lay it completely flat, too.
Another point in the Linx’s favour is that it comes with the keyboard attachment in the box. This connects to the main body of the tablet with a magnetic strip located at the bottom of the tablet and it feels very comfortable to type on. There’s a slight flex in the base when it’s tilted, but with the keyboard placed flat on a solid surface, it doesn’t budge. The trackpad under the spacebar is a joy to use, too; it’s accurate and doesn’t suffer from any tracking problems at all.
On the left-hand side of the laptop, you’ll find a USB 3.0 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a micro-HDMI output, a microSDHC/XC card reader and a micro-USB port used for charging. The power button and volume rocker are at the top. And two sideways-firing speakers are found near the bottom of the tablet. In comparison to other budget 2-in-1 laptops, the speakers are above-par.
Finally, you also get both a front- and rear-facing cameras here; they’re only 2-megapixel units, though, which makes them useful only for the occasional video call. For wireless connectivity, the laptop has dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.
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Linx 12X64 review: Display
The laptop comes with a 12.5in 10-point multi-touch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display. I can’t say it’s the best display I’ve come across but, at this price, it’s pretty good, especially with its Full HD resolution, as others, such as the HP Stream 11 offer a 720p screen-only.
With a respectable contrast ratio of 1,148:1, the laptop is able to achieve an impressively low black level of 0.25cd/m2 at maximum brightness. Put into perspective, the HP Stream 11 struggles to compete with a contrast ratio of only 325:1.
It’s a little on the dark side, though, with a peak measured brightness of 290cd/m2. This might be a problem if you intend to use the laptop outside in daylight but most of the time it’s perfectly fine.
Colours do lack potency, though, and the Linx only covers 63.2% of the sRGB colour space. By comparison, the Surface 3 is flawless at a measured 97.6% sRGB. Colour accuracy is rather poor, too, with an average Delta E of 4.36 and a ridiculously high maximum of 19.3. Still, for everyday use, it’s just about acceptable. You can do photo editing on it, just don’t expect people to see the same on a colour accurate screen.
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Linx 12X64 review: Performance
Being a budget 2-in-1 laptop, the Linx 12X64’s performance was never going to be its strongest asset. Unsurprisingly, it has a low-power 1.44GHz quad-core Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor and 4GB of dated LPDDR3 SDRAM.
For browsing the web, light multitasking and office work, the Linx has enough power, but throw anything demanding at it, such as multiple Chrome tabs and you’ll find it lagging.
I ran Geekbench 4, the multi-platform CPU benchmark and wasn’t surprised to see a score of 705 and 2,037 in its single- and multi-core benchmarks. It’s one of the lowest scoring laptops I’ve come across.
Don’t expect to game on it, either. Average frame rates of 10.2fps in GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 and 5.4fps in GFXBench Car Chase, indicate the laptop’s Intel HD Graphics 400 integrated GPU will struggle to play anything remotely demanding. However, playing a game like Hearthstone or Solitaire shouldn’t be a problem.
^ Linx 12X64 review: Benchmark table
I also put it through its paces in the Expert Reviews 4K media-based benchmarks. Scoring only 11 overall, it’s one of the slowest devices around, but it’s near-identical to the Asus Transformer Mini and HP Stream 11, which achieved results of 12 and 15 respectively.
^ Linx 12X64 review: Battery life
Battery life was slightly underwhelming at 7hrs 10mins in our battery rundown test. By comparison, the Asus Transformer Mini achieved 11hrs 19mins.
Storage performance isn’t too shabby, though. With a 64GB eMMC by SanDisk, the Linx 12X64 achieves a 132MB/sec read and 77MB/sec write speed in AS SSD benchmark.
Linx 12X64 review Verdict
I never expected the Linx 12X64 to be a high-performance machine and so it proved but, at only £280 for a 2-in-1 Windows 10 laptop with a Full HD display and a bundled detachable keyboard, the Linx is an excellent low-cost option.
If you’re on a strict budget and want a portable, multi-purpose Windows 10 machine for under £300, get the Linx 12X64. If you can afford a little more, though, the Asus Transformer Mini is the superior choice with better battery life and a more attractive design.