Ultra-cheap sub-notebook matrix

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This article complements the sub-notebooks article by providing a technical comparison matrix of selected sub-notebooks.


[edit] Introduction

Recently a number of ultra-cheap ultra-mobile laptops, ULCPC (ultra low cost PC), have been announced that have potential as e-book reading devices. These laptops compete with the ultra-mobile PC's for truly portable computers.

The ultra-mobile's claim to fame is that contrary to a regular laptop it can actually be used on the road. For that it needs to have a great battery performance and be light-weight.

Usually this combination comes at a premium: rare are the ultra-mobiles that come cheaper than 1000 USD. This new generation promises to deliver these same features, at the cost of other features, and be much cheaper.

Most of the models shown in the matrix are just one of a number of different models from the various companies. For example the ASUS eee PC now includes several models in 3 different screen sizes, 7, 8.9, and 10". For more details follow the links the sample models.

[edit] Comparison matrix

Manufacturer MIT Media Lab/Quanta Intel HP VIA Asus Acer
Product name OLPC/XO Classmate 2133 UMPC NanoBook UMD EEE PC 701 Aspire One
Specs for e-reading
Price 200 USD 200 USD 500 USD (entry level) 600 USD 400 USD 400 USD
Size 9.5" (242mm) × 9.0" (228mm) × 1.2" (30mm) 245mm × 196mm × 44mm 10.1" (256mm) × 6.5" (165mm) × 1.3" (33mm) 9.0" (230mm) × 6.7" (171mm) × 1.1" (29mm) 8.8" (225mm) × 6.5" (165mm) × 1.4" (35mm) 9.8" (249mm) × 6.7" (170mm) × 1.1” (29mm)
Weight 1.5 kg 1.3 kg 1.2 kg 0.85 kg 0.89 kg 1.1 kg
Battery performance 5.5 hours 4 hours 3 hours 4.5 hours 3 hours 5.5 hours
Release date November 2007 pilots running now April 2008 October 2007 October 2007 July 2008
Screen type Dual-mode TFT display     touch screen   TFT LCD
Screen dimensions 7.5 inch diagonal, 152.4 mm × 114.3 mm 7 inch diagonal 8.9 inch diagonal 7 inch diagonal 7 inch diagonal 8.9 inch diagonal
Screen resolutions 1200 × 900 (mono), 800 × 600 (colour) 800 × 480 1280 × 768 800 × 480 800 × 480 1024 × 600
Turing's corner
OS GNU/Linux supports GNU/Linux and Windows XP Pro various options supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, GNU/Linux Xandros (GNU/Linux), supports Windows XP Windows XP (Linux available)
CPU AMD Geode LX-700@0.8W Intel Celeron M @ 900MHz VIA C7-M @ 1.0 GHz VIA C7-M ULV @ 1.2GHz Intel Dothan based Pentium M @ 900MHz Intel® Atom™ Processor N270
RAM 256 MB 256 MB 512 MB 1024 MB 512 MB 1024 MB
Storage type SLC NAND flash NAND flash flash HDD flash HDD or SSD
Storage size 1024 MB 1024 MB 4 GB 30 GB 4 GB 160 GB or SSD (8 GB)
Ports 3 × USB 2.0,MMC/ SD, Wifi Ethernet, Wifi, wireless pen 10/100 Ethernet, Bluetooth (opt), Wifi, 2 × USB 2.0, VGA out Wifi, Bluetooth, USB-based module slot, DVI-I, 2 × USB 2.0, 4-in-1 card reader, RJ45 (ethernet) 10/100 Ethernet, 56k modem, Wifi, 1 × SD/MMC, 3 × USB, VGA 10/100 Ethernet, Wifi 802.11b/g, 2 × SDHC/MMC, 3 × USB, VGA
Camera video/still, 640x480, 30 fps   optional   video, 300kpixel (640x480) WebCam, 1.3 Mpixel
Power I/O 2-pin DC-input         DC-input
Audio I/O microphone, 2 speakers, stereo audio jack (out), mono microphone jack stereo speakers, microphone, output jack, microphone jack mic-in, 2 speakers? mic-in array jack, microphone jack, headphone jack stereo speakers, microphone, mic jack, audio out stereo speaker, microphone, mic jack, audio out
Pointing device touchpad cycle touchpad with left and right buttons x touchpad, touchscreen touchpad, 2 buttons touchpad

[edit] Notes

  • Warning! A number of these devices have merely been announced. Take price, availability and feature set with huge grains of salt. Almost everything is "announced" and devices may turn out to be simply vapourware.
  • For all the data in this table except the price I have used the most current, most conservative values, in order to avoid feature-for-price bidding wars.
  • The listed per-unit price of OLPC and Intel devices is based on the assumption that you will buy a million of them. If you only wish to buy a single unit or a small amount of units (assuming the manufacturer will let you), the per-unit price is more likely to be over 400 USD.
  • With regard to the OLPC's power consumption: this is a conservative estimate. Wikipedia writes: "In e-book mode, all hardware sub-systems are powered down except the monochrome display (including any display backlighting)." The monochrome display is claimed to use one-fifth of the power that the colour display requires.
  • The literature on the VIA device is a bit confusing; on the one hand it is called a reference design, on the other hand The Tech Report does list a target price. It is available in Europe as the Packard Bell Easynote XS for 600 EUROS, but not yet in the US.
  • The Asus Eee is shipping in Taiwan and the US. The standard "4G" version is 400 USD (and "2G Surf" is 300 USD), significantly more than the original 200 USD estimate.
  • Trivia: the OLPC consumes 3 W of power, the VIA Nanobook 7 W, the Asus EEE 11 W.

[edit] Sources

[edit] For more information

Netbook Comparison on notebooks.com

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