The folks at Zonbu have very kindly sent me an evaluation unit of their new Everex/Zonbu laptop, it arrived today via FedEx.
Due to various work related challenges I’ve not even had a chance to unbox it yet, but probably will tomorrow or this weekend and I’ll be posting a full report here.
On a related note, I have an ASUS 3e PC enroute to me as well so I can compare the two devices, and benchmark them against one of the affordable Acer laptops I mentioned in an earlier post (albeit my test unit will come with an Intel instead of AMD processor) as I have a few of those on the way as well.
I’m really excited about the Zonbu transition to a laptop form factor, I think the “all in one” aspect makes it particularly appealing to end users, as they don’t need to add anything except a broadband connection. That also makes it appealing to me as an executive for a broadband company. These are huge steps for desktop linux, and the Zonbu “zero maintenance” model.
If you missed the news, you can read more about the Zonbu laptop specifications here: http://www.zonbu.com/device/notebook.htm
I think Zonbu is confused as to what they want to do. They go from introducing and marketing a tiny little appliance like computer not much bigger than a book to now selling a big honking 15.4″ 5.3 pound laptop. Do they want to sell “small” or do they want to sell “big”? Why didn’t they introduce something more along the lines of an eeePC?
Zonbu isn’t all about being small; it’s about being easy, secure, and green. The Zonbu Mini is cute and silent, but the small size is not the overriding design objective. The small size may just be a consequence of Via producing ultra-low power, inexpensive system solutions in very small form factors.
Many people complain about the Eee’s small keyboard and tiny screen. Size and weight are a challenge to balance with productivity. The Zonbu laptop can serve as a desktop replacement; one that operates at 15 watts. That’s even better than the Zonbu Mini when the power consumed by a monitor is factored in.
I think that the form factor for the Mini is perfect for the desktop. Look at the Mac Mini. Look at the Fit-PC, look at other ultra-small desktops. In fact, Apple, who is known for their artistic designs, doesn’t offer a mid-sized option for desktops. You either go mini, all-in-one (the iMac) or huge – Mac Pro.
For laptops, there are pluses and minuses for both sides (bigger is better / smaller is better). The Asus Eee PC’s small size is a feature – not a bug. The small *screen* is a problem. It’s designed to house a 10 inch screen, but the 7 inch was cheaper – so Asus went smaller (remember, they first announced the EEE as a $199 laptop – which, of course, feel through). But the fact that you could fit 2 EEE PCs on top of a 15.4 inch laptop (like the Zonbu offering) is by design. It’s supposed to be more like an UMPC, than a laptop.
However, the keyboard is cramped, the screen is far too small, and that is why bigger *can be* better. I’d rather watch movies on a 15 inch screen than a 7 inch screen any day! (btw, a 15 inch screen is more than 4 times the size of a 7 inch screen – not twice the size. It’s much much bigger!) And, the keyboard is more standard than the one they had to pack on the EEE PC’s tiny frame.
I would have liked the Zonbu notebook to be more like a 12 inch screen or even a 10 inch. But I’m really into portability. 15 is pretty standard I guess. It’s not huge like the 17 inch, 19 inch, or 20 plus I’ve seen out there. But it’s not small either.
I’m really excited about the Zonbu notebook. I will get one as soon as I can!
No no no no no! This notebook is not green, or quiet. It is big stupid and ugly.
I’ll bet the screen isn’t backlit by LED’ s like the EeePC. It has an HDD instead of an SSD. This thing probably whirs like a banshee when the fan kicks in.
I think the Zonbu folks should concentrate making ZonbuOS installable on my EeePC:
1. The built in Asus interface on the EeePC is limited
2. The default KDE is over complicated
3. Mplayer cannot run movies off my NAS
4. I miss Thunar and the other smooth features of ZonbuOS.
Come one Zonbu, invest some time filling in the blanks on the EeePCUser wiki (http://wiki.eeeuser.com/) so we can enjoy the fabulous Zonbu experience on a really good green laptop.
BTW Mr Zonbu – I have a request. When you get your EeePC will you be attempting to put ZonbuOS on it?
I’ve read that the Zonbu Laptop nominally consumes 15 watts. That’s even greener than a Mini tied to a typical LCD monitor.
It would have been great if the Zonbu Laptop had been designed for use of the CF card as an SSD with the ability to swap the CF card between the Laptop and the Mini to share one S3 account.
I’m watching for the 10″ EeePC as a more ideal mobility solution. Too bad the EeePC is not based on the Via chipset to support an easier port of the Zonbu OS. The Zonbu plan outweighs the size and weight criteria. So, when it comes down to it, I would go with the Everex/Zonbu Laptop.
Mr Zonbu, your comparison report will be much appreciated! Perhaps the software will be the truly deciding factor.