Packard Bell pitches UMPC-like laptop
Why lug a big notebook around?
When a manufacturer unveils a computer with a 7in display but with practically notebook-class capabilities, most observers might assume it's a UMPC. However, Packard Bell claims the latest addition to its EasyNote range really is a notebook - it just happens to runs on a UMPC chipset.
Packard Bell's EasyNote XS: is a 7in LCD too small for a notebook?
The EasyNote XS is just 3cm thick and weighs 950g, but retains the traditional laptop design, rather than opting for a style that merges the 800 x 480 display into the keyboard, as does Samsung&s Q1 Ultra or the Linux-based Pepper Pad 3.
The XA is based on a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M processor and accommodates up to 1GB of memory, in addition to a 1.8in 30GB hard drive. Not enough storage space? Well, there's no reason why one of the device's two USB 2.0 ports couldn't be used to connect an additional external storage device. That said, just two USB ports isn't many compared to traditional notebooks, which sometimes have up to six of the connectors.
Sadly, the EasyNote's Wi-Fi link only operates over the 802.11b and g standards, instead of the more advanced n standard, but the inclusion of a four-in-one memory card reader is a nice feature. Bluetooth is optional.
Packard Bell said the device runs on Windows XP Home Edition, as many larger notebooks do, and that it incorporates a full-size keyboard, touch-pad and a VGA webcam.
The XS provides a battery life of up to three hours' usage and it has stereo speakers built in, should you want to turn it into an UMPC personal stereo.
The EasyNote XS is not yet available in the UK and a retail price has yet to be confirmed.
Maybe I am thick but I dont get it.
Yes, it is (a little bit) smaller and lighter than my 12" dell laptop but my dell has more features and better battery.
And its still not THAT small. It looks to be only a 7" screen but there is a foot around the screen so the laptop is probably closer to the size of the little dell, thinkpad, or the sony VAIO. Its no thinner than a real notebook and real notebooks are going to have a better keyboard. Not to mention you can swap out parts (like drives and network cards) to upgrade to the new hotness.
Maybe if the display flipped around and worked as a tablet I could see this having SOME purpose. But as a folder it would have to be incredibly cheap, even cheap because its Packard Bell.
Only years too late...
Sony PCG-U3 ? (on ebay right now, you lucky punters)
missed the point
XP Home? Surely professional should be on here for business users. Not that I'd ever buy something with the Puckerd Ball branding on it.
So not Vista then?
I wonder why... </sarc>
Niche or gap in the market?
I'm not entirely convinced that there is a niche in the market for UMPC or this micro-laptop.
For people who want to carry around an under-specced computer in their pocket, the current range or smartphones, communicators, PocketPCs etc. satisfy that need and can be synced with a full-scale laptop or desktop.
For usability, in the past Psion reached a limit with the usability of a keyboard that you could touch type on when it was on a desk or squirrel* in your hands. This laptop is too big for a pocket and to heavy for extended squirrelling.
At the other end of the scale, for people who want the usabilty of a "fully-fledged" PC, this laptop clamshell design offers better usability than regular UMPCs but doesn't offer the all-round compatibility of a sub-notebook. I would suggest that this machine would still want to be synced with a full-size laptop or desktop. When you look at the price of having both, a pocket-sized machine offers the functionality without the pitfalls and cost.