Back when Alcatel still had the secondary OneTouch branding attached, and BlackBerry insisted on manufacturing its own phones, the “excessively” large Xess Android “tablet” saw daylight at IFA.
But clearly, it was an unusual product looking for a purpose and target audience, so Alcatel’s parent company, TCL, went back to the drawing board, coming out with a slightly revised model this past spring marketed as a “kitchen accessory.”
This time, the Xess carried TCL’s logos on its quirky built-in kickstand, though pre-loaded recipe apps were hardly a compelling selling point at $500. Finally, the gargantuan 17.3-incher seems to have found its calling now, picking up Alexa voice “services” in a last attempt at market repositioning.
The TCL Xess is no longer an unconventional tablet or costly kitchen accessory, and it’s only secondarily billed as a compact, portable TV. You’re looking first and foremost at a “smart home hub” here, kind of like Amazon’s own Echo and Tap smart speakers, but with a huge Full HD touchscreen in tow, Google Play store access, 3GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, lengthy battery life, and all-around superior productivity and versatility.
Your 500 bucks will buy you not just the TCL Xess from Amazon, but also a bonus remote camera for always keeping an eye on your kids or pets in another room. And yes, Alexa can do everything here, taking hands-free voice commands for smart object controls, alarms, timers, news, weather, and so on and so forth.