Coby may have a netbook plan after all?

Sure, cheap electronics maker Coby has denied reports that it would be releasing a cheap netbook-like computer. But in this industry a denial is about as believable as a promise. Anyway, the folks at jkOnTheRun did a little trademark search, and guess what they found? Coby has filed to trademark the term “Coby Netbook.”

Sure, it’s possible that the company considered a netbook and then decided not to make one. Or maybe this is some sort of a preemptive thing to make sure nobody else tries to market a netbook under the company’s name. But it’s also possible that Coby does have something up their sleeve.

Categories: Netbooks | 4 Comments

BenQ JoyBook Lite U101 pawed, opened up

The folks at Laptop Magazine picked up a BenQ JoyBook Lite U101 netbook this week. While the mini-laptop isn’t available in the US yet, you can apparently get one in Taiwan for about $550.

At first glance, this netbook looks a lot like many other netbooks on the market today. It has a 10.2 inch display, a 1.6GHz Inte l Atom CPU, and runs Windows XP. But there are a few things that set it apart.

First, this netbook has a 16:9 aspect ratio display. That means you get 1024 x 576 pixels instead of the 1024 x 600 pixel screen that’s become standard fare on today’s netbooks. While that’s great if you’re watching HD movies which often come in a 16:9 aspect ratio, it means you do lose a few pixels that can come in handy when browsing the web or typing documents. I’d probably rather have thos pixels than the ability to make vidieo fit the screen better.

Second, the netbook has a rather snazzy odd looking cover that’s covered with emoticons. Seriously.

Third, it looks like this netbook should be really easy to upgrade. There are several access panels on the back. When you open them up, you’ll find an empty PATA/ZIF slot that you could use to add a hard drive or SSD. And there’s a spare mini PCI-e slot by the RAM which could come in handy for a 3G modem or other goodies. Of course, you’ll void your warranty by adding those parts. But hey, netbooks are cheap. Who needs a warranty? Right?

BenQ also claims that this netbook is sturdier than many others on the market, but Laptop Mag hasn’t put it through any major stress testing… yet.

Categories: Netbooks | 3 Comments

Sony teaser shows subnotebook with tracking nub

I’m 90% certain that when Sony’s new P-series subnotebook is released it will cost far too much to be considered a netbook. But from the glimpses we’ve seen so far, it’s still a pretty nifty looking ultraportable laptop.

Now Sony has posted a new teaser animation on its Japanese site that briefly shows the keyboard and what appears to be some sort of tracking pointer in the middle of the keyboard. In other words, there won’t be a large trackpad taking up room on this tiny device. And that allows sony to dedicate a lot of space for the keyboard. Or as much space as there is to dedicate on a computer wih an 8 inch screen.

via Engadget and Pocketables

Categories: Netbooks | 8 Comments

New MSI U115 features "hybrid storage"

MSI has officially introduced the new U115 “Hybrid Storage” netbook, a unique netbook which was first unveiled in Europe earlier this month. The company claims this will be the first notebook capable of using both an SSD and HDD simultaneously. While that claim is technically not true (any dual-bay notebook can run 2.5″ SATA SSD and HDD drives in combination), MSI puts an interesting new spin on things.
The U115 can operate in “Eco Mode,” which disables power to the HDD and provides longer battery life. It’s an interesting option, and perhaps just as important as a few more minutes of runtime is a little added protection. With power to your HDD data drive off and the U115 running on the SSD only, there’s substantially less risk of losing important files if the machine gets a nasty bump or takes a fall.
There will be two configurations available at launch (SSD/HDD): 8gb/120gb and 16gb/160gb. Both will have a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU, 1GB DDR2 RAM, a 4-in-1 card reader, 802.11 b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth, and a 10″ LED backlit display with integrated webcam.
via eeePC.net
Lee Mathews is a computer technician in Manitoba, Canada. He’s a regular contributor to Download Squad, and the proud owner of an MSI Wind U100 netbook.

Categories: Netbooks | 2 Comments

Asus Eee PC 1002HA review

The Asus Eee PC 1002HA one of the best looking netbooks Asus has released since creating the category of low cost mini-laptops just over a year ago. The machine has a professional looking brushed metal exterior and it weighs less than its predecessor the Eee PC 1000H. But on the inside, it’s basically the same computer, with the same processor, RAM, storage capacity and other features.

So how does the Asus Eee PC 1002HA stack up against its predecessor and other netbooks on the market today? Read on to find out.

The model I’m reviewing sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and a 10.2 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display. It runs Windows XP Home Edition.

Design

The number one thing setting the Asus Eee PC 1002HA apart from the Eee PC 1000H is its design. Whereas the 1000H case is made of plastic, the 1002HA has a brushed metal exterior, which you can also find on the wrist rest area. Even the touchpad has a brushed metal look to it.

The netbook measures 10.4″ x 7.1″ x 1.1″ and weighs 42 ounces, which makes it a little thinner and narrower than the Eee PC 1000H, and about 11 ounces lighter. While the Eee PC 1002HA is still one of the larger netbooks available today, it looks substantially smaller than its predecessor.

Left: Eee PC 1002HA / Right: Eee PC 1000H

What’s interesting is that the netbook uses a completely different type of battery than the Eee PC 1000H.  The 1000H has a 6 cell, 6600mAh battery that protrudes from the bottom of the unit and sits flush with the back of the netbook. The Eee PC 1002HA battery sits flush with the bottom of the unit and does not take up any space on the back of the computer.

Left: Eee PC 1000H / Right: Eee PC 1002HA

In other words, the battery design accounts for most of the difference between the two netbooks. If you place them side by side, you’ll see that the bodies of the mini-laptops are just about the same thickness. But the 1000H battery adds some height to that machine.

Left: Eee PC 1002HA / Right: Eee PC 1000H

Because the battery doesn’t take up any room on the back of the machine, Asus has spread out the ports on the Eee PC 1002HA. The company’s earlier netbook models placed the 3 USB ports, the VGA output, the power jack, and the SD card reader on the left and right sides of the computer. The Eee PC 1002HA moves some of those ports to the back of the netbook.

The Eee PC 1002Ha features a number of vents on the sides and bottom of the unit, which help keep the laptop from getting too hot. Overall, it seems to run significantly cooler than the Asus Eee PC 701, Asus Eee PC 1000H, HP Mini 1000, or HP 2133 Mini-Note, four other netbooks I’ve spent time with.

Display

The Eee PC 1002Ha has a 10.2 inc, 1024 x 600 pixel matte display. You can adjust the brightness by hitting the Fn+F5 and Fn+F6 keys. The matte display is slightly better for reading outdoors than the display on netbooks with glossy screens like the HP Mini 1000. But few existing mini-laptops, with the exception of the OLPC XO Laptop, are truly designed for outdoor use.

Asus includes an Eee PC Tray utility for Windows which lets you adjust the screen resolution with the click of a button. While the netbook has a native display of 1024 x 600 pixels, you can adjust the screen to show 800 x 600 pixels (which can come in handy for some video games), or 1024 x 768 pixels.

The higher resolution is achieved either by squashing some pixels to fit on the screen better or by extending the desktop beyond the top and bottom borders of the screen. In this mode, you need to scroll your mouse up or down in order to see the top or bottom of the screen.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard is exactly the same as the keyboard on the Asus Eee PC 1000H. For some people this will be a good thing. For others, not so much.

On the one hand, the keys are relatively large, evenly spaced, and concave. Few of the keys have been reduced to an unreasonably small size to fit on the not quite-full sized keyboard. But the right shift key is awkwardly placed to the right of the up arrow. And it’s much smaller than the right shift key on most full sized keyboards. So if you frequently use that shift key you’ll either need to retrain your fingers to use the keyboard or stay away from Asus netbooks altogether.

The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures. For example, you can scroll up and down by placing two fingers on the pad and moving your fingers up and down instead of using a narrow strip to the right side of the touchpad as you do with many other netbooks and laptops. Asus has replaced the two distinct touchpad buttons found on the Eee PC 1000H with a single button with a rocker. It looks a bit sleeker, and registers rigth and left clicks just fine. But I personally prefer having two distinct buttons.

Asus has also done away with the 4 separate user-customizable buttons found on the Eee PC 1000H. The 1002HA has a single button which can be used to toggle between Power Saving, High Performance, and Super High Performance modes.

Left: Eee PC 1000H / Right: Eee PC 1002HA

One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s slightly more difficult to open the lid on the Eee PC 1002HA than the 1000H. This is because the lid comes almost to a point that’s flush with the bottom of the case, while the Eee PC 1000H lid is a bit more rounded, resulting in a sort of lip that you can easily grip when opening the netbook. Both lids have a nice solid feel to them and don’t shake at all when the netbook is open.

Battery

In order to reduce the size and weight of the Asus Eee PC 1002HA, Asus chose a 4200mAh battery that fits flush with the bottom of the unit. This means the computer will not run as long as some other Asus Eee PC models on a single charge, and Asus has no plans to develop an extended battery for the Eee PC 1002HA.

That said, the netbook does get reasonably good life out of this 31W/hr battery.

I ran the Battery Eater Pro test while the machine was running in Power Saver Mode (which means the CPU was underclocked to 1.2GHz), and the battery lasted for about 3 hours and 10 minutes. The test is designed to tax the battery, so under normal usage conditions, I would expect to get between 3 and 4 hours of use. And in fact, when I took the netbook out to a coffee shop over the weekend, I was able to work for close to two hours before the meter showing the remaining battery power hit the 50% mark.

As with all Eee PC models, Asus has included the “Super Hybrid Engine” software, which allows you to run the netbook in Power Saving, High Performance, or Super High Performance modes. Those modes basically translate to CPU speeds of 1.2GHz, 1.6GHz, and 1.7GHz. For basic web browsing and other ligth weight tasks, Power Saving Mode offers decent performance. But you may need to use one of the higher performance modes when watching some videos or playing games.

Software

Asus includes the Super Hybrid Engine software for controlling the CPU speed and the Eee PC Tray utility for adjusting the display resolution and toggling hardware including the webcam, Bluetooth, and WiFi.

The model I reviewed also came with InterVideo WinDVD, Microsoft Works, and StarOffice 8. Both Works and StarOffice include a word processor, spreadsheet app, and other basic office utilities.

Performance

Like most other netbooks with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a 5400rpm hard drive, the Eee PC 1002HA is easily able to handle every tasks like web browsing or editing office documents. I had no problem opening 5 or more web pages simultaneously in Firefox, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer 7. The laptop also easily streamed standard definition video from Hulu.

The Eee PC 1002HA boots Windows XP pretty quickly. It goes from zero to a fully usable Windows desktop in just about 40 seconds. It takes 18 seconds to shutdown.

The speakers are pretty quiet, but the microphone seems to be a bit more sensitive than the mic on the Eee PC 1000H, which makes this netbook a decent choice for making Skype calls. Of course, you can plug a headset in for better results.

Verdict

The Asus Eee PC 1002HA is smaller, lighter, and (with a list price of about $499) a little more expensive than the Asus Eee PC 1000H. It has a nicer looking exterior and ports that are spread out across the unit, with the VGA, power, and Ethernet ports on the back of the laptop. But the netbook also has a lower capacity battery and there’s no option to purchase a higher capacity battery.

So if your primary concern is battery life, you might want to look elsewhere. If you want all the power of an Eee PC 1000H in a case that weighs about 11 ounces less and you’re OK with 3.5 hours or so of battery life, the Eee PC 1002HA might be worth a look.

Extras

I couldn’t find a place to fit this picture into the review, but here’s are a few more shots showing the size difference between the Eee PC 1002HA and the Eee PC 1000H.

Left: Eee PC 1002HA / Right: Eee PC 1000H

Left: Eee PC 1000H / Right: Eee PC 1002HA

And a closer look at the brushed metal exterior and the power LED which is visile on the top of the netbook:

And because you can never get too much of a good (or halfway decent) unboxing video, here’s another look at the unboxing video I first posted the other day. Keep in mind, this is a review unit and I’m not the first person to open this box, so you’ll likely get a unit in slightly better condition if you buy an Eee PC 1002HA.

You can read more about the Asus Eee PC 1002HA in the todo en tecnologia Product Database.

Categories: Netbooks | 17 Comments

Compaq Mini 700 dissected

A few weeks ago jkkmobile picked up a shiny new HP Mini 1000 netbook and then proceeded to rip the thing to shreds just to show us what lies on the inside. He’s pretty good at taking things apart and putting them back together again, but he didn’t exactly provide detailed instructions for those who want to follow suit. Fortunately Netbook Italia has done just that… for anyone who can read Italian (or ut up with a computer translated version of the web page).

Netbook Italia’s guide includes step by step instructions for disassembling a Compaq Mini 700 netbook, which is pretty much exactly the same machine as the HP Mini 1000. The only difference is the logo.  If all you want to do is upgrade the RAM, there’s an easy access panel on the bottom of the laptop. To get at the hard drive, you’ll need to remove the keyboard. And for more advanced surgery, you can strip the netbook down to its bones. Hopefully if you reverse the procedure you can put things back together again too.

via Engadget

Categories: Netbooks | Leave a comment

T-Mobile offers 3G Eee PC 904HD in the UK

T-Mobile is adding to its lineup of 3G enabled netbooks. The company is offering an Asus Eee PC 904HD with a 3G USB modem when you sign up for a 2 year service plan at £25 a month. While the netbook, with a big bezel around the screen and no integrated 3G card, may not be the sexiest mini-laptop around, it’s hard to argue with that price. You know, assuming you were going to sign up for a wireless broadband plan anyway.

The Eee PC 904HD has an 8.9 inch display, but the same large keyboard found on the Eee PC 1000 series, which is why there’s a large bezel around the display. This particular model comes with 1GB of RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and Windows XP Home Edition.

You can read more about the Asus Eee PC 904HD in the todo en tecnologia Product Database.

via ITProPortal

Categories: Netbooks | 2 Comments

Asus clones the Eee PC S101, makes it bigger

Asus has been pretty consistent about calling low cost laptops with 10.2 inch or smaller screens netbooks while labeling anything with a larger display as a notebook. And that’s why the Asus S121 notebook is not officially part of the computer maker’s Eee PC line. But that doesn’t mean that the 12.1 inch notebook doesn’t look exactly like the Asus Eee PC S101. 

There’s no word on the specs or price yet, but Eee PC News has uncovered a few photos of the upcoming laptop. If it’s anything like the S101, I’m guessing this notebook will be both thin and light. Hopefully the 12.1 inch screen will bring a higher resolution. 1280 x 800 pixels would be nice.

Categories: Netbooks | 2 Comments

Best Buy reminds me why I don't love the word "netbook"

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few days about the word “netbook.” I think it’s silly that Psion is starting to protect its trademark a year after people started using the word netbook widely. But at the same time, I’ve never been a huge fan of the word. Because it implies that mini-laptops are only good as dumb terminals for accesing the internet. And that’s just not true. You can use them to watch movies, edit documents, play video games, or do pretty much anything else you would expect a 2-3 year old computer with a single core CPU to do.

But you’d never know that if you watched this Flash presentation from Best Buy. The company implies that netbooks are only good as companions to your primary computer. And while I typically recommend that people purchase netbooks for their mobility and larger computers for processing power, the truth is that many people can and do use netbooks or low power nettop computers as their primary PCs.

Of course, Best Buy, like Intel (the company that started pushing the term netbook to describe computers with its low power Atom CPU) has a vested interest in convincing you to buy two computers intead of one. You know, cause they make more money that way. And this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Best Buy claim that a netbook isn’t really a full fledged computer. What’s interesting is that Best Buy claims that netbooks are all Atom-powered, which isn’t true. I can only guess that the company has been influenced not just by the word netbook but by Intel.

Anyway, I’ll continue to use the word netbook interchangeably with “mini-laptop” and other terms, because it’s now the widely accepted term and because you can only type “mini-laptop” so many times. But this Best Buy presentation serves as a reminder of why the word is problematic.

via GottaBeMobile

Categories: Netbooks | 24 Comments

Netbook touchscreen kit giveaway

todo en tecnologia and Hoda Technology are giving away a netbook touchscreen kit. This solderless kit will let you add touchscreen capabilities to a number of 8.9 or 10.2 inch netbooks.

The contest is open to entries from anywhere in the world, but you’ll want to make sure your the touchscreen will work with your netbook. Click the read more link for a complete list of supported laptops.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve given away a $6000 bundle of HP and Microsoft hardware and software and a Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbook. But don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about those of you who already have a netbook and aren’t looking for a new one. You just want to hack it and make it cooler!

With that in mind, today we’re launching a touchscreen kit giveaway. We’re partnering with Hoda Technology to give one lucky reader a solderless touchscreen kit, complete with step by step instructions for installing the touchscreen in your netbook. You won’t need a soldering iron, but you will likely invalidate your warranty when replacing your netbook’s screen, so please don’t enter to win unless you’re OK with that.

Touchscreen kits are available for the following netbooks:

Asus Eee PC 900, 901, 904, 1000, 1000H, or 1000HD
Acer Aspire One
Dell Inspiron Mini 9
Samsung NC10
MSI Wind U100

If you’ve got one of these netbook models and want a shot at the touchscreen kit just leave a comment. We’ll randomly select a winner on Monday, January 5th and contact you via email. So please use a valid email address when leaving your comment. We’re willing to ship internationally, so the contest is open to anyone anywhere in the world. Just make sure to get your entries in by the 5th.

Categories: Netbooks | 264 Comments

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