Archive for January, 2009
Many netbooks come installed with Linux or Windows XP, with seldom netbooks having Vista installed. Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 has proved popular with many users and netbook owners. After reading many articles and posts about Windows 7 on netbooks, I thought it was time I gave it a whirl, as while I got accustomed to using XP again, I did miss the features and appearance of Vista.
Partitioning my existing hard drive with XP installed unfortunately didn’t go as planned so dual booting isn’t possible. Windows 7 however installed absolutely fine using an external USB DVD reader and it’s still possible to access and use the files stored on the XP partition. The installation of Windows 7 took under 30 minutes with an additional 30 minutes installing my regular programs and applications. The drivers for the Wifi don’t work straight away and you need to either download the MSI Wind drivers for XP/Vista, or connect the netbook to the internet via ethernet cable and allow Windows 7 to download the 5 (at time of writing) small updates, including the wifi driver. The onscreen display for volume, brightness, bluetooth and wifi connectivity are also not installed with Windows 7, but you can download the System Control Manager from here to install this feature.
While it doesn’t run as smoothly as I’d previously read it did, it is a lot quicker than my Vista based desktop, which in many cases, has double or even triple the specifications found on the Advent 4211. I started with a few applications open and installing others. Opening and extracting files with Winrar caused a slight problem with Firefox with the browser freezing. However since all the applications I usually install were installed, I went for the most extreme case of programs running and the netbook didn’t react negatively. With three Firefox windows open, Windows Music Player, Photoshop, MSN, and Windows Mail open I switched between the different programs with ease and no slow down.
As I usually have that many applications open, the taskbar can become very cluttered, but with the default settings of Windows 7, the taskbar is easy to manouver and switch between programs. Within the taskbar options, you have the choice of combining the taskbar buttons with no information, or allowing them to combine when the taskbar is full, or never combining. I’ve had a play around with the various settings and while the taskbar buttons can take a bit getting used to, they’re perfect for the small screen size if like me you have many windows open at a time. An option is also provided for switching to small icons. The below screenshot shows the taskbar items combined while full and always combine options with the smaller icons option being displayed in the last toolbar.
Other features I’ve been impressed with on Windows 7 is the desktop preview which has worked flawlessly for me, with no delay. The Tasks option on the Start Menu has also proved very useful, and again the Advent 4211 experiences no slow down while using this feature.
Over all I’m very impressed with Windows 7 and will be installing it on my desktop soon. I’m also very impressed with how well it runs on the netbook. I can easily see it becoming the most popular OS for netbooks once it’s released especially as many of the features benefit the screensize.
After having my Advent 4211 for four months, I thought it was time a review was posted up about it. The Advent 4211 is a rebadged MSI Wind U100 exclusive to UK retailer PC World. The 4211 comes with the same specs you would find on an MSI Wind U100 including a 10 inch screen, 80GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Intel Atom N270 processor and Windows XP Home installed. Available for £280 it’s price is slightly higher than it’s Eee PC counterparts, but considering the specifications over the lower priced netbooks it is a good deal. Since purchasing the 4211b, PC World have now got the 4211c in stock which for the same price features a 160GB hard drive making this netbook an even better deal.
While I had moved on to Windows Vista on my other machines the change back to XP was smooth and easy making the operation system a selling point of this machine, a Linux based model, while cheaper would require getting to know a whole new OS. Service Pack 3 is pre-installed on the netbook so there’s no lengthy updates to go through.
The 10 inch display is very easy to get accustomed to. While some applications you may face difficulties with the OK or Accept button going below the task bar, which isn’t a problem for those who have Auto Hide Toolbar enabled. Likewise the keyboard is very easy to adapt to using and is very sturdy. I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts on various applications and some laptops I’ve used have been unnatural to use for keyboard shortcuts, but the Advent 4211 keyboard is nicely spaced out.
Other specifications found on the 4211 include bluetooth, Wifi, built in web cam and microphone, giving it great connectivity options. Cyberlink YouCam is pre-installed on the netbook which could easily rival Apple’s iBooth as just as much fun can be had from the software.
Japanese electronics company Sotec have just updated their netbook range by replacing the current C101 model with an all new C102 model of netbook. Sotec will be gradually releasing their new netbook starting on January the 24th.
The Sotec C102 is available in platinum silver or rich black and features a 10.1 inch display, is powered by an Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz) plus Intel 945GSE chipset and comes installed with 1GB RAM and a 160GB SATA HD. Other specifications include a webcam and a card reader, all pretty standard fare for a lot of netbooks but, notably the C102 will feature draft-N WiFi support.
After the Google favicon update last year comes another update for the favicon. This one keeps the lower case g while incorporating the colors from the Google logo.
While the initial small g favicon was a bit of a miss for some, including myself, I’m sure many of us got accustomed to it. The new favicon is vibrant compared to it’s predecessors but will it gain more favor.