The following post features in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of #TheFeed, our online magazine bringing you the best stories from Microsoft Showcase Schools and #MIEExperts, thought leadership, and news from the Microsoft in Education team. This piece is written by Kevin Sait - one of our Teacher Ambassadors - and weighs up one of the many OEM Windows 10 devices available within education.
Of course when looking at any new devices for the classroom, device management is also a key consideration. Earlier this year we announced Intune for Education - a new cloud-based application and device management service that is built on the proven Microsoft Intune service, offering easy setup and management in shared learning environments. Click here to learn more about Intune for Education.
Head over to SlideShare to browse all the latest stories from this edition of #TheFeed:
#TheFeed - Device Review: Is it time to buy a Linx1010? - by Kevin Sait
Today, teachers, students and parents are blessed with a wide range of choice for portable and affordable devices that are suitable for use in education. While there may be multiple manufacturers and even more form factors to choose from, they all leverage the power of Windows 10.
We’re going to take a look at one such device - the Linx 1010. Many will be familiar with its predecessor, the Linx 10, which was among the first generation of Windows 8 devices, and featured the rather interesting origami style keyboard. Due to the pricing of the Linx 10 it proved to be very popular with schools looking for low cost devices that could be purchased en masse, and still run Windows and the everyday productivity tools such as Office 365. With the Linx 1010, Linx have evolved their product and the thinking behind it. So here is my review of the Linx 1010.
First impressions unpacking the device are that the packing is minimal but very colourful - you certainly know what’s in the box! Is it being eco or is Linx simply not passing on the costs of excessive packaging to the end user? Either way it’s a win for me as an IT leader working in education. The device itself feels totally different from the original Linx 10 device. It seems a lot more durable and simply well built. The new keyboard is hugely improved over the old one, and feels much more ‘part of the unit’ when compared to that of the Linx 10. Rather than relying on magnet and a bit of gravity to keep the keyboard in place, the Linx 1010 has a snug fitting hinge that locks it tight to the device, offering the teacher or student a really good feel for typing, with good spacing between the keys.
"It seems a lot more durable and simply well built."
The trackpad on the keyboard is also very responsive, giving a positive and definite feel when clicking the left or right mouse buttons. The Linx 1010 simply pulls apart to become a tablet, but gives you that laptop feel for typing with. I’ve often seen situations in schools where the teachers have a tablet but don’t get on with the on screen keyboard – the Linx 1010 rectifies this at an affordable price.
Moving on to the device itself, the 10” screen really does give you an entry level Windows 10 device which is truly portable, but crucially very affordable for schools. The screen colours have a good depth to them, coupled with a sharpness of display that makes using applications like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint feel like you are on a fully fledged laptop or PC. With the standard tablet range of buttons to be found down one side (power, volume), it’s a familiar and expected experience when getting the machine out of the box and starting for the first time.
"The Linx 1010 simply pulls apart to become a tablet, but gives you that laptop feel for typing with."
Many other tablets and devices in this price bracket suffer from a lack of auxiliary input/out options, but with the Linx 1010 you are blessed with two full size USB ports, a headphone socket, mini HDMI adapter, and USB charging port, so it really is fully stocked for any class use you may think of that requires additional devices to be connected (e.g. programming the BBC micro:bit).
"So in the classroom – and especially from the network managers point of view, would I domain join them?"
Well if you have a well sorted mandatory profile then the answer is yes, the Intel® Quad Core™ processor deals with the work at an acceptable pace, meaning that the Linx 1010 will fit it in to your existing infrastructure nicely. With lowercost devices, there is often a trade-off to be had in terms of storage in order to keep the devices themselves more affordable (especially when purchasing on a class-or school-wide scale), and the 32 GB storage capacity of the Linx 1010 is not going to compete with fully fledged laptops or PCs, when the space taken by the OS itself is taken into account.
However, we live in the age of the Cloud and schools should be looking to make use of the opportunity it provides in terms of storage and collaboration. These machines really work best when used with Office 365, allowing your students to save to OneDrive and enjoy all the benefits of the Office 365 service.
Of course you can now ‘selective sync’ your OneDrive folders to your device so you can simply take your data offline with you. If you are using the Linx 1010 with Office 365 a nice little tip is the fact Office Mobile (the Universal Windows Apps) are included. These are fully functional but lower footprint apps (the ones you can download from the store), but when you sign in with Office 365 it will connect you to your OneDrive Space. So no big deployments of desktop office which can eat up space on your device. These machines cannot be used well with OneNote, Class Notebooks, even without the presence of a stylus or Pen as seenwith the Surface range of devices.
Other than the lack of a stylus, the only other slight drawback is the lack of MicroSD support. On this type of device, which will always have limited storage, adding a MicroSD card offers a simple and effective was to expand the local storage at low cost. However, as I said before these low end devices are ideally paired with Office 365 and OneDrive to mitigate local capacity issues. As a good entry level Office 365 device for BYOD or a 1-2-1 rollout in a primary school, I would most definitely recommend the Linx 1010. With a SRP of around £150 including the keyboard, it’s an amazing and affordable way of getting technology in front of students at an affordable cost.
How would I rate this device?
- Packaging - 8/10
- Keyboard, use and feel - 8/10
- Device - 7/10
- Expansion - 6/10
- Price - 9/10
Overall - 7.5/10