And no, that title isn’t a typo — this tablet is 17 inches large. Somewhere along the road in 2015, Alcatel decided they wanted to make a gigantic Android tablet. They aren’t alone, of course — Samsung decided to do the same thing — so clearly these companies must see some sort of real need for such a beast.
So, big is big, but is big enough to be good? It would largely depend on what you need this thing for, we’d say. Beneath the shell of the Alcatel Xess (and that’s quite the perfect name, we’d say) is an ordinary Android tablet. There’s a 2GB stick of RAM, a 1.5GHz MediaTek chipset and 32GB of storage inside.
The Alcatel Xess also sports a 5-megapixel camera, and a built-in kickstand on the rear that doubles as a carrying handle whenever you need to tote the thing around. You’ll also be able to find a holding bay for the device’s included stylus there.
Turn it around and you’re faced with the star of the show: a 17-inch 1080p display which you’ll use to, well, look at things. Alcatel’s obvious marketing angle for the Xess will come down to multimedia consumption. Use it like a mini-TV if you wish — one that can access YouTube, Netflix and other video services.
But it can also be a kitchen companion that’s used to display relevant recipes you need while whipping up delicious concoctions, or a gaming beast for when you get bored of all your other activities. Evidence that multimedia is the main draw can be found in the existence of JBL-powered stereo speakers which sound absolutely booming.
One thing they’re looking to emphasize, though, is the ability to do all of this at the same time. The launcher is set up like a browser with multiple windows. You could have Twitter open in one window, MSNBC in another, and Amazon in another. It’s a natural use of all the screen real estate that a 17-inch display offers.
The question for Alcatel will be what can they do to make this more than just a niche device. Why should people buy a 17-inch tablet over something that offers more flexibility and portability? Will people buy another $500 device just to be able to open multiple browser pages at the same time? Perhaps, perhaps not. Maybe they’re fine with filling the niche and nothing more — there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Phandroid's Ad-Free CES coverage is brought to you by Honor. Learn more.