The keyboard flexes a little when you press it, but it feels fine when typing - and the larger keys means fingers of all sizes will find this a comfortable computer to use. The shortcut keys are a nice idea and it’s quite simple to assign applications to them, but these keys are in reality thin metal bars located at the top of the keyboard and not that easy to press. Likewise, if you want to switch the Wi-Fi on or off, you use the Function and F2 keys together rather than a simple switch or button.
The miniBook Plus allows students to do most of the things they want to do on a PC: word process, read documents, browse the web, play streaming video and email. And although the computer doesn’t have an internal DVD drive, the inclusion of WinDVD clearly suggests that RM thinks that the miniBook Plus is good enough for running high-quality multimedia.
The larger keys means fingers of all sizes will find this comfortable to use
So we connected an external DVD drive to the miniBook Plus, closed down all applications (except the Wi-Fi) and played a music video DVD. The results were very good, with smooth motion and high picture quality. The sound quality of the integrated speakers doesn’t match this, alas, and suffers from a distinct lack of bass. However, if you use a pair of headphones, the sound quality is much better.
Talking of headphones, we were surprised to find that the miniBook Plus doesn’t automatically mute the speakers whenever you plug them in; you have to tell a pop-up dialogue box what you’ve plugged in before the speakers are muted. Fortunately, you can disable this annoying feature.
The use of a HDD does mean that the miniBook Plus generates more noise than its SSD-based counterparts, but levels are still fairly low. Overall, the miniBook Plus is a pleasure to use.
Running the PCMark05 test on the miniBook Plus produced a score of 1419 for the CPU, 1576 for memory and 4000 for the hard disk drive. These are respectable rather than spectacular results - the HDD score is at the lower end of what would be expected for a laptop - but figures can be deceptive.
Longer bars are better
The reason that schools want Windows machines
...has been made abundantly clear. Button it, penguinistas.
In any case, even if the Linux options do run very marginally better (no better on battery life though) the time saved is negated by the time spent fannying around trying to get stuff to work. Assuming that there even is a way.
It might not be the optimum hardware for the job, and call me crazy if you like, but personally ("because I can") I'd be wanting to run AutoCAD 2000 (& Paint.NET & other progs like Inkscape, OpenOffice, Sketchup, Blender, Apache2Triad, &c) on one of these fellas.
No problem at all on XP - I'd be up and running in no time.
Bang on all you like about how Linux has alternatives, but there are some glaring holes that even Wine or "the forums" can't sort out.
The so-called "Windows Tax" for having XP on these SCCs runs at around £20. To me, that's a fair price. And the best value for money (for me) is represented by running FOSS (+ a few select others) on XP.
Remember that if your prefered Linux configuration is not available then you can buy the Windows machine, decline to accept MS's T's&C's, install Linux, and claim the cost of the MS licence back. But "You might need to do some searching around in the forums on how to do that." - as Lintards are so fond of saying. :-)
Anyways, back to school use: why do they even need "small laptops"? What's wrong with marginally less portable, but cheaper, "standard laptops"? Surely the scrimping on weight can't be that important in the classroom. And a "proper" sized laptop is more condusive to getting work done. Or if, for whatever reason, a 9" screened machine is so important - what's wrong with the cheaper Aspire One (cheap because of a poor battery that need not be an issue within the school environment)? Or an equivalently priced Advent 4211 which has the bonus of a 10" screen in a 10" case rather than this awkward Eee freaky hybrid.
If this absolutely is the machine of choice, why not buy direct from Asus? Are the schools' collective hands forced to spend taxpayer's dosh with the seemingly uncompetetively priced RM for some particular reason?
This whole RM thing seems like a racket from where I'm standing. Or am I missing something?
RM involved - double the price!
so, slap an RM badge on it and you can double the price.
why do schools need laptops? surely a huge clunker of an full-size tower would be better, then you could put a few housebricks into the case to stop the chavs knicking them!
Wrong Assumption - As usual.
ITYWF it comes in a variety of flavours from RM.