WSJ Columnist Walt Mossberg on the Zonbu

WSJ LogoReader Gregg just tipped us off that Walter Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal has a new video review, running about five minutes, of the Zonbu.

[EDIT: I’ve watched the video, my thoughts on it after the jump…]

Text Reivew Too

A text version of the Mossberg Zonbu review is also available.

My Observations

I think the review makes some valid points that other reviews have missed, but I also think it was a bit tough on the product.

I’ve logged a lot more hours than Walt, using the device, and I haven’t experienced the “crawling” speeds that he referred to. I can’t speak to his issue but it doesn’t match my or other posted experiences.

Apps open quickly (and I’ve posted times to document the same), multitasking hasn’t been too much of an issue (within reason) and general stability has been good. Not great, but good.

You have to use the device “in context” as well; it is not meant to replace a $4000 dual-core workstation.


His review left me with the impression that the system was very unstable and that just hasn’t been my experience, although I think it does need some serious bug hunting. That being said, even in its current state, I think it could be used as a public Internet terminal without causing too much grief.

Missing bits and pieces?

Unmentioned were the media playback capabilities. Other than the outstanding MPEG issue, the box handles media really well, which is important for web surfing in todays world.

He also mentioned that no personal finance software was included or could be installed. In fact, there is a nice Quicken-esque personal finance application included. I haven’t used it to any degree yet, but I did take a quick look.


Overall, I think its a relatively fair and tough review.

We do agree that the box isn’t quite ready for prime-time yet.

I think the concept and vision are great, but the execution and polish need more work.

I stand by my original forecast that the holiday season will be critical for desktop linux.

-Mr. Zonbu


2 Responses to WSJ Columnist Walt Mossberg on the Zonbu

  1. […] They are listening – Beta now front and center So, I’m watching the Mossberg video I mentioned in my last post. […]

  2. Dave says:

    Performance-wise this baby seems to be pretty darn good. I got Windows XP to install on it after some hackin’, and just tried Warcraft 3 (I know, but it’s the first thing I could think of) which also runs really nicely. I’d say this is pretty darn cheap XP box :).

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