Archive for the ‘Sharp Netwalker’ Category

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.
Keyboard
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.
Processor
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..

Wireless
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.
Memory Slot
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.
Application
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.
Screen
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.
Battery life
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..
Connectors
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.
Summary
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! 🙂

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?
Unfortunately, it didn’t meet my MID expectations
As usual, this is not a technically comprehensive review as there’s so many great, indept  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.
Keyboard
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.
Processor
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..
Wireless
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.
Memory Slot
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
Application
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.
Screen
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.
Battery life
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..
Connectors
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.
Summary
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.

 

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Netwalker + Umid = unimpressed wife! :)

Oops, with D in gadget filled Akihabara and ending up with a X70 over the last 2-3 weeks, I got bitten by the the gadget bug and went on a gadget online shopping frenzy.

I ended up getting a Netwalker from http://www.conics.net 3 weeks back and no sooner did I get my grubby hands on the Netwalker and being a bit underwhelmed by it as an effective MID for me, I ordered a UMID M1 from http://www.justek.com.au last week which arrived last friday.

umidnetwalker

So now I now have 2 MIDs, much to the dismay of my wife! 🙂

So stay tuned as I’ll be writing on my personal experiences using the Netwalker and why it doesn’t really suit my needs as a MID.

On the flipside, I’ll also be writing how the far from perfect mBook is fast becoming one of my favourite pocketable devices…can’t wait for the M2 now ’cause I’m definitely getting one after falling in “liking” with the  M1 (am refraining from saying falling in “love” with any gadgets from hereon else Mrs J will hit me over the head with her trusty white Macbook! 🙂

Just a word to say that shopping @ http://www.conics.net and http://www.justek.com.au has been a great experience and delivery promptly and good communications. I recommend ’em both! 🙂

Netwalker – in Oz; Scheduled for delivery

ScreenShot003

Please, Australia Post, please deliver it tomorrow (friday) so I get my hands on the Netwalker before the weekend!!

I’ll be eagerly waiting for a call from the concierge desk at work tomorrow..it’s going to be hard to focus at work ..:)

Netwalker – my initial thoughts pre unit arrival

sharp-netwalker-midMoving back to a Linux O/S such as Ubuntu 9.04 on the Netwalker means I have to get back into a Linux mindset.

Not too difficult for me as I am comfortable with Linux (was a Unix sysadmin a couple of lifetimes ago) and have used earlier version of Ubuntu.

For most Windows users switching over to Linux/Ubuntu, it”ll take some time to get used to the Linux desktop and applications. (like Jenn from the Pocketables.net when she first used the Netwalker).

Fortunately, Ubuntu has an equivalent application for most Windows apps.  Here’s a table that illustrates the alternatives:

ScreenShot002

The good thing is if you’re like me and do most of my personal computing in the cloud, we’re not reliant on any of the above local apps.

In fact, that’s why I think the Netwalker is built on a lower performing ARM architecture and not on Intel.  I reckon it’s primarily built for cloud computing which doesn’t require too much processing grunt but the tradeoff is low power consumption resulting in extended battery longevity.

Therfore, the Netwalker should suit a “light weight” cloud computing person like me to a tee ’cause I value battery stamina more than I do performance.

Oh, and currently devices such as the Netwalker built on ARM architecture only runs Linux – so no chance of running XP, Vista or 7. Wish someone can say I’m wrong here (but Win95 doesn’t count! 🙂

Reference: https://help.ubuntu.com/9.04/switching/applications-equivalents.html

Netwalker – EMS progress

ScreenShot001

It’s coming..it’s coming! 🙂

I’ve always been impressed with http://www.conics.net and how quickly they despatch after payment’s received. I ordered late afternoon on 18th (Sun) and by 19th it’s despatched.

I ordered a couple of umpcs from them in the past (the first being back in 2002 when Conics just started their business) and have never been disappointed with their level of service.