User Review: Elonex WebBook

wbThis is not a rehash of the manufacturers specs, but a couple of weeks of real-life use of this sub notebook.

Although I use an HP laptop for most of my work, and especially for presentations and displays, a 17″ Notebook is a bit bulky for ferrying around everywhere, and doesn’t comfortably fit in my bag, so I starting hunting for a small sub notebook which I could use for writing, especially in libraries (for that book due in by December won’t write itself, you know), web browsing at cafes (as I manage my diary and email via Google) and having to hand.

This 10″ screen laptop appears to fit the bill. It is 1.3kg in weight, fits snugly in my bag and still leaves room for other things, and whilst not being the most powerful machine in the house, it is certainly adequate: it comes with XP, it runs Office 2007 fine and does a reasonable job of playing BBC iPlayer when connected to the wireless network (at 56Mb/sec) (although full screen wasn’t so hot). The keyboard is fine, and the trackpad and buttons don’t feel clunky. My machine has 1Gb RAM in it and its VIA  C7m processor seems up to the job. We won’t be cutting video on it or playing games, but it is good.

It has 3 x USB ports, an SD/MMC slot, VGA and sound in/out. I recorded last week’s sermon directly onto the machine using SoundForge and it was great! This was an unplanned bonus. I also used it to stream audio from my network to the parish BBQ yesterday, which with external speakers was nice.

No software/backup disks supplied but on boot it invites you to “Press F12 for Recovery” so it might just have everything on a special partition: naturally, I havn’t tested that bit yet. The Hard Disk is 80Gb which is pretty impressive, I think, for a machine of this size.

Battery life is great: average 2 hours. Hibernate and Recovery are reasonable (although never as good as Dell’s, but much better than HP) and so you can just close the lid and go.

No DVD drive, but as I always have to hand one or two 16Gb memory sticks, this provides my large scale data access. If I need a drive, I can always attach an external, connect to a shared one over the network or transfer the data to a stick, I suppose.

So, there ae a lot of subnotebooks/netbooks out there at the moment. Few are coming in as cheap as this, especially with Windows. I think this one is a bargain.