The Linx Commtiva N700 has whipped up quite a frenzy on the interwebs, Linx can’t ship them fast enough, and online stockists seem run out as quickly as they can get them in. I picked one up and tried it out for a week and overall I’m pretty impressed.

The N700 runs Android 2.2, includes Android Market and will be updated by releases from  Commtiva themselves. Hardware wise it has a Qualcomm MSM7227 CPU running at 600MHz, 512MB RAM, a capacitive 7″ multi-touch screen running at 800 X 480px, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth with support for A2DP and Voice calls and integrated 3G radio. The resolution could be better on this larger screen size, but it looks good enough and only very critical would have an issue with this resolution at this price point.

It also includes an accelerometer for automatic screen rotation, A-GPS for fast location acquiring, a front VGA camera and a rear facing 3MP camera.

linx commtiva n700 sim microsd slotThe device itself is very solid thanks to the aluminium band running round the outside, there’s no ‘flexing’ here. Not too many buttons, the top has a slot for a SIM card and MicroSD and volume up and down buttons. It comes with it’s own case which protects the screen and back when closed and serves as a stand when doubled back on itself making it ideal for watching video content or if using a bluetooth keyboard.

There is a speaker on the top left and right side, with the left having the power button.

The bottom has the 3.5mm headphone/headset port (iPhone style headphones with integrated microphone work), a mini-USB charging/data port, built in microphone port and  reset pin hole.

Using the N700 is a little like using a large phone, anyone with an Android phone will feel right at home, and every App we tried from the Market worked flawlessly, apparently some have issue with the larger screen resolution but we didn’t find any. Gowalla, Facebook and Twitter all benefit well from the larger screen real estate and make using this device on your lap or in bed extremely enjoyable.

The size of the device is perfect for ebook reading and I loaded up the Android Kindle App and brought down a couple of books. Reading works in either portrait or landscape though obviously portrait most closely resembles a paperback book. It also includes its own eBooks App which links to the GoSpoken store. At only 375g there is absolutely no problem holding the N700 for extended periods of reading, something many people have had an issue with when reading on the iPad.

N700 Reader in Portrait Orientation
N700 Web Browser Portrait Orientation

There is an bundled 30day trial of CoPilot for the N700, we only tested it briefly but it worked well and the voice guidance level was loud enough to head on the motorway, but you have to have to have the radio down as its not loud enough to hear over that. Disappointingly there will be no accessories for the N700, so if you want to use it as a Sat Nav you’ll have to make do with a ‘universal’ windscreen tablet mount.

The N700 comes with a 4GB MicroSD card which you’ll soon want to upgrade as you start to load music and videos onto the device. Linx have put on a home-screen however this only works in landscape mode, we switched over to Launcher Pro which was a definite improvement.

You can use the device as a phone, however it will only work in loudspeaker mode as there is no earpiece, so you’ll need to connect the supplied headphones (with mic) or a bluetooth headset to have any privacy. In our phonecall and Skype tests the loudspeaker is fine for calls and the built-in mic picks up sound very well. The cameras are adequate but don’t expect to use this as a digital camera replacement, the rear facing 3MP camera is ‘ok’ in outdoor use but image quality degrades significantly indoors, and the front facing VGA camera is only good for video call quality.

In Summary

The only downside to this device when compared to the Galaxy Tab is the the slower processor and the lack of Flash 10.1 support. The processor speed is fine most of the time and only really shows its weakness when zooming a large webpage or playing HD video. The lack of Flash leaves you with the characteristic holes in some webpages, but like the iPhone or the iPad people can cope without it, and there is a dedicated YouTube client which suits a high percentage of peoples Flash demands anyway.

You can buy the Linx Commtiva N700 in the UK offline (Sim Free) from Play.com or Tescos at £299, or you can buy it on-contract from Phones 4 U for £139.95 on a 24month contract at £25/month with 5GB inclusive data.