Sharp Netwalker – layman’s review.
You may all recall how excited I was with the Sharp NetWalker when it was firstly released – so excited to the point that I procured one from www.conics.net about a month back?
As usual, this is not a technical review as there’s so numerous indepth tech reviews from the likes of Jenn, jkkmobile and chippy on the Netwalker and other MID devices – my review tend to be more layman’s review and how MID suit or suit my requirements as a MID enthusiaist.
One of the main reasons why I considered the Netwalker was because it had a seemingly useable thumb keyboard from the pics on the internet. But as Jenn’s pocketable review pointed out, the keys tactile feel left much to be desired. I can best described this as being wobbly..pressing any button gives you a wobbly feel and you have no confidence whether you hit the button correctly or missed it. Also the keys are a tad too wide which makes thumb typing non ideal experience as you something find yourself stretching your thumbs to reach the full extent of the keyboard. If I compared this to the UMID M1 mbook which has a narrower and smaller key footprint, the M1 wins by a mile thanks to a good tactile feel and good thumb reach.
The 800Mhz ARM processor just didn’t cut it for me, even running a lean Ubuntu O/S. Couple that with the absence of good Flash Support for ARM devices means playing Youtube videos or flash movies was impossible. Sharp did release a Flashlite support which I downloaded and installed but the youtube experience was choppy and laggy..found it quite unuseable for my purposes.
It struggled to play a standard 350MB avi movie…choppy at times and the video and audio were out of sync.
One thing I will say is the device is creepily quiet! Nice..
No Bluetooth..enough said..:(
On the positive side, the signal strength of the Netwalker was probably the best amongst all the other MIDs and UMPCs I’ve used…that surprised me.
One gripes is that the wireless recovery upon resume from standby can sometimes take a while.
Yep, there’s one and it’s the MicroSD kind. I shove in a 8G microSD card and had no issues there.
Oh, worth mentioning it uses a onboard 4G SSD
Webcams, mic and speakers
No webcam unfortunately, mic’s there and ok with skype. Speakers are ok but not incrediby loud like the viliv S5.
These are plentiful being Linux based but you may get the odd complaints of the ARM platform not being a supportable platforms and therefore you can’t use that app.
The screen is lovely..incredibly bright and clear. Touchscreen’s very responsive as well. The only thing any 4.8” screens with 1024×600 res is
that it’s just too high res for a small screen!! After some tweaking with font/icon sizes, all’s good. There’s funny looking stylus in the box as well..didn’t find that useful.
Ok, the combo of an energy efficient, low powered ARM process and a SSD drive equates to a long battery life..so yeah, I reckon I ended up pushing the Netwalker to at least average 7-8 hours with wifi on, 40% brightness, light to medium computing before it screamed out for more juice. Nice..
There’s a solo USB connector. It power flash drives ok but when I stick a USB hard drive, it doesn’ seem to be able to supply enough juice to power the unit up completely.
Thankfully, there’s a standard headphone jack.
I did enjoy my time with the Netwalker as it’s a good looking functional MID. It’s very light at under 400g and almost comfortably pocketable. I loved the battery life – used it as a ebook reader most of the time whilst on the move.
The dealbreaker was the lacklustre ARM processor and lacklustre Flash Support. Not being able to watch Youtube or a normal divx movie smoothly is not good.
But if you’re a Linux fan, this device will keep you happily occupied..just fire up a terminal bash shell and away you go! 🙂