We’ve seen a lot of connected home and mobile tech migrate to the kitchen lately. That’s where the family comes together, and tech companies think they can help with that. The latest kitchen gadget is the Alcatel Xess, a 17″ tablet with some preloaded bonus content that should give it a leg up on other tablets.
Xess will be released under the TCL brand, Alcatel’s parent company. Many years ago, TCL said they would gradually phase out the Alcatel name, so this might be a step toward that. It would sure be helpful if that was the case, since Alcatel-Lucent is still its own separate company that makes network equipment.
Whatever the name they’re using, Xess doesn’t necessarily have much competition — there aren’t a whole lot of 17″ Android tablets on the market, and for good reason. Portability isn’t as important as it used to be for tablets, but it’s still a demand, and 17″ worth of tech doesn’t lend itself to movement.
So, Xess is more like an all-in-one PC that runs Android instead of Windows. If you think of it that way, Xess looks a little more attractive. Unlike most all-in-one PCs that have either no internal battery or very small ones, Xess has a 9,600 mAh battery with a quick charger. That makes it a little more mobile, but more importantly, it means the tablet can work in the kitchen without taking up an outlet — no need to unplug the coffeemaker to get Xess running.
On the back of Xess is a round protrusion that likely holds some components, allowing Xess to be very slim around the edges. They’ve made that bump useful, though — there’s a dock for an included stylus, along with two pull-out handles. The bottom handle can double as a stand, while the top handle could be used to hang Xess on the wall — the latter in theory, although we’re not sure whether or not the tablet is too heavy for that. Used together, the handles make for an easy way to carry Xess from room to room.
A couple of bonus features mark Xess as a good option for parents of younger kids. If you’re trying to cut out the cable bill, Xess brings you one step closer — they’ve partnered with Nickelodeon to make their content available on the tablet, so parents can keep their kids rooted in the kitchen every morning while keeping them entertained. For parents of toddlers and infants, Xess also comes with a separate connected camera that can be placed elsewhere in the house. The tablet has a dedicated app for that camera, so parents can access the camera’s feed in real-time to check up on their children.
Xess is a cheap tablet for its size, but the specs aren’t too bad. The 17.3″ 1080p display should look plenty good, and while the 1.5 GHz MTK octa-core processor isn’t a high flyer, it should be more than good enough for basic apps. 3 GB of RAM should be plenty, and the tablet has 32 GB of internal storage along with a MicroSD card slot supporting up to 64 GB cards. When your kids’ favorite Nickelodeon shows are playing, the audio should sound great thanks to dual 3-watt JBL speakers. Well, it’ll sound good to them, anyway — depending on which show we’re talking about, it might not be so great for the parents!
The Alcatel Xess tablet will be available online on April 22 for $500. While that’s a reasonable price for the size of the tablet, it might be a big ask for something that a lot of families probably don’t need that badly. The Nickelodeon content is nice, but parents are probably already getting it from elsewhere and don’t need to spend the extra money. But, sometimes it’s nice to have one tablet that the whole family can use to set up shared calendars and leave each other notes and reminders, and it sounds like Xess can fill that role nicely.