[Nottingham] Re: UMPC recommendations?
jmthelostpacket at googlemail.com
Tue Aug 5 11:04:16 BST 2008
UMPCs are nice, very pretty and in most cases, extremely light, BUT...
They're just not very rugged.
I think the idea of having something that small that can pretty much
disappear into your pocket would be a bit extravagant (particularly if
like the EeePC it has no moving parts) if the unit wasn't built to take
a couple hard knocks - after all, that's what happens to your wallet
every time you sit on it!
While I've seen and had a play with an early model 4G EeePC, and
instantly fell in love with the unit in every aspect of its construction
and design except for the slightly flimsy hinge, I do prefer the
slightly heavier, slightly better built and slightly more functional
Panasonic Toughbook CF-M34GPRS, of which I do actually own one specimen.
While this isn't quite an UMPC, it does have an armoured magnesium case
and a seven inch 800x600 /touchscreen/, plus an internal GPRS modem.
Couple that with full-travel micro keyboard (which is comfortable for
even me to use which is saying something considering I've got hands that
could span a piano!), fully waterproof design and built in strap eyes
and ABS carrying handle makes this a very portable subnote. Secondhand
market has a few of these dotted about, new ones can still be had, but
they're a bit more expensive than the Asus jobs (to be expected
considering these things are built for the battlefield!) so s/h is the
way to go on them, I think. Tag around £50-£600 depending on source and
condition, new (if one can be found!) around £1400.
For something a little bigger (hence a little more usable at SVGA
resolution!), you can't really go wrong with a Dell Latitude C400 (I got
one of these too). Same weight as the Toughbook (shy of 3lb with
battery), 12.1" screen, all the usual connections (PCMCIA, USB, dock,
external optical/floppy port), fairly robust and quick at a full-clock
1.4GHz PIII (earlier models had a 900 or 1000 PIII). Tag on a
reconditioned one of these is around the £300 mark with new battery, new
around £600-£700 depending on spec.
For either of these, give me a yell if you'd like to see my samples (not
for sale, I'm afraid!) so you can get an idea of subnote vs. ruggedised
UMPC, and I'll bring them to the next Nav meet, hopefully with fully
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