I’m bi-OS-ic. I’m a Windows guy at work, and a Mac guy at home. I see the advantages and disadvantages of both, and I’m comfortable working in both environments. I’ve also watched over the last half-dozen years as laptops got smaller, turned into netbooks (which were hated), saw the introduction of tablets which people often tried to turn into touch-capable netbooks, and seen it all whirl around with no one really hitting the right mark.
For a while, I used an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard, which was good. The iPad is still the best tablet, but it uses an OS that, while robust, is limited in comparison with what a laptop can do. More recently, I’ve heard pretty good things about Windows 8 and the touch integration being rolled out on tablets and convertable. So, when Nextbook offered to send me one of their little Flexx 10s to try out, I figured I’d give it a shot.
The Flexx 10 is full of compromises. It’s technically a netbook, meaning it’s pretty low on storage (32Gb on board, with some taken by the OS, expandable by SD card), but because it’s solid state, that doesnt’ slow it down. It uses a mobile chip, so you won’t be running video rendering apps on it, but that’s not the point of such a device. With Windows 8 (and a free upgrade to Windows 10 included in the purchase), it’s actually a very good tablet computer – running the full Windows OS, so you can get Mircrosoft Office and other desktop apps running on there. As a tablet, the build feels quite solid, though it’s a bit on the heavy side (this glass screen, a big bezel, and a chunky battery). The keyboard is reasonable – at least as good as most of the bluetooth tablet keyboards out there. My biggest disappointment is the trackpad, which is mediocre. But since the tablet part is touch-enabled, it’s easy to do what everyone has been trying to do since tablets have become popular – tap on the screen of your laptop to move your cursor around and hit buttons.
Also on the plus side is that, at least with Windows stuff, it just works. I was able to download a copy of my favorite video game, Interstate ’76, which was a classic from the Windows 95 era. It loaded and runs quite nicely on the little Flexx 10 at the max resolution. Yeah, that’s a bit retro, but it’s fun to take along. It even has a mini-HDMI port so you can drive a larger monitor or TV.
Probably the biggest feature to take into account is the price. The Felxx 10 can be purchased for as low as $178 at Walmart (there’s a slightly higher-specced version for a little more at Target). So, if you need a powerhouse, this isn’t the computer for you. But if you need to get your kid a fully-functional Windows laptop for school on a paper-thin budget, this will do the job pretty well.