back to article Maxdata Belinea s.book 1 sub-notebook

Asus' Eee PC has been hogging the limelight thanks to its small size and small price tag. It's also been drawing the attention of competitors, and now there's a stack of would-be Eee beaters coming to market. Maxdata's Belinea s.book 1 is one of the first. For starters, the s.book comes with Windows XP Pro pre-installed, so out …

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Paris Hilton

It has to be said

Firstly, the eee clearly is better because of the beach blonde... speaking of which, where's that picture?

Now if anyone knows of somewhere with the eee in stock, the black 4G model, please post here and we'll quickly relieve them of stock!

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Anonymous Coward

Does it come with McAfee Antivirus?

.... and does it get it's patches regularly from Microsoft?

IMHO Eeepc's Linux option is it's most compelling selling point. It has the smaller memory footprint, less power consumption and doesn't need the myriad of virus and spyware detection utilities.

Plus it came with a proper wordprocessor, spreadsheet, etc..

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Keyboard layout

The keyboard layout's not identical to the Eee, as I noticed when I tried out this one's sibling and the Eee side-by-side in <whisper>PC World</whisper> the other week. Possibly some other subtleties I wasn't anal enough to spot, but whilst the Eee is berated for its oddly positioned right shift key, the Via reference design does away with it altogether...

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The "competition"....

...misses the attraction of the Eee PC to the masses (masses being myself and the couple of friends rapidly polled and extrapolated :P)

The attraction is the spec sure but more importantly its the spec at that price, its practically spending money, the very same reason the Wii did so impressively well in its sales. Decent system for almost beer money (to a techhead) and suddenly you have people buying almost on a whim. Bump up the price even if the spec is increased and you move out of that price bracket into the "can I afford it, or justify it".

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Too expensive, crap screen, crap battery..

It's exactly the same priced as a full sized fully featured laptop, so the only advantage is the size. 480 vertical pixels is simply not enough for any version of Windows - it needs 600. Scrolling screen? Don't make me laugh..

I still think the eee is flawed, but this is utterly useless.

NEXT!

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Thumb Down

£100 too dear...

The Eee doesn't tempt me at all down to one thing - feeble storage capacity. I thought that for all its faults, this might be ideal - but it's just too dear in the current market, I think.

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Thumb Down

Actual verdict...

"Compared to the Asus Eee this thing sucks in almost every aspect and is much too expensive. Additionally, it's ugly."

Come on, just say it.

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Happy

Where to get an Eee...

Am I allowed to mention retails on this site? Anonymous Coward asks where to buy an Eee...

Clove.co.uk are a good option - wait was just under two weeks. They are one of the few retailers who deliver to an address other than the credit card billing address (impt if you work full time), and they also get good ratings on consumer feedback sites.

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Nearly

Need a mix to the two.

Take either design, the Eee's battery, bluetooth from the s.book, and the option to have a HD instead of / aswell as SSD and have the price between the two. Then I'd be interested. (Mainly cause I'd want to run Vista instead of the other options) Also be nice to shove Windows SlideShow on the case as another optional extra.

And finally, shove a decent CPU on it. None of this VIA crap thanks

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Gates Horns

Will Asus catch the Windoze disease

Let us just hope that Asus doesn't get seduced by the Beast of Redmond and abandon the Linux installation when the "next generation" Eee PC comes out!

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Linux

Eee bah gum

This is not remotely a competitor for the Eee. This is just a conventional laptop made smaller. The beauties of the Eee are most of the things that were criticised in this review - the solid state drive, the fact that it runs Linux, and the price. The Eee doesn't need tons of storage, just enough to store a few documents, some cached emails, and maybe a movie to watch on the train/plane. It's not meant to be your only PC. It certainly doesn't need any M$ bloatware - it runs wonderfully on Linux.

Anyone who is still whingeing about availability of the Eee just isn't trying hard enough. I phoned round all the retailers I could find last week and got a 4G 701 - just couldn't get my choice of colour.

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Coat

Clove?

I ordered a 'galaxy black' eee PC on the 17. then sent an inquiry on the 23. But... Except for the order confirmation, I haven't heard a word from them...

I'm tempted to cancel and go on eBay instead...

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Linux

What's the point of Win of these things?!

I've got an eee, and it's awesome. What's the point of slapping win on it? I like linux but I do realise it's hard changing operating system. However, unless you're wanting to install a lot of software then you don't need to change anything and there are really good guides for doing it if you really need to.

The asus interface may look like it's for kids but it actually works really well (I don't understand people putting a full linux desktop environment on the thing either, although icewm is pretty sexy). There are many reasons to keep XP off the eee (cost, space, bloat). 'Our Eee's 4GB drive is compressed to allow us to squeeze on Windows XP Pro and the all the apps we use' pretty much sums it up. XP on a 4G eee at least is crippleware. I can't even begin to imagine why you'd want vista on it.

That said, I imagine there must be some legitimate reasons to put win on it, I just can't think of any. I'm genuinely not trying to smarmy of facetious and I would be interested in hearing why people have done it.

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Happy

Re:Clove

I ordered exactly the black 4G model on the 9th,and got it on the 23rd from Clove, with a warning email a day or two after ordering to say it would be up to two weeks. They gave me the option of getting it faster if I didn’t care about the colour, but I was partial to black. I think that the machines are coming in to all retailers in unpredictable fits and starts, and if I were you I would remain in their queue. (Just looked at their website – they are now warning up to three weeks.) Well, I had efficient service from them, and I would trust them more than some random stranger on eBay…

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Flame

Um, if it couldn't playback video...

You said:

Incidentally, video playback was very choppy and effectively unwatchable on the s.book

----

Um, shouldn't that bump its rating down from 80% to around 10%? I mean, c'mon that's a pretty basic functionality and it couldn't even do that.

Also with similar speed CPUs was there any investigation as to why it couldn't handle some video playback? Just the OS or serious hardware flaw? Especially as you said the video was cached into RAM. That's just unacceptable, yet you glossed over it.

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Silver badge

How much would it have cost WITHOUT windows?

It might be interesting to see just how much this would have cost if they didn't have windows installed on it. For now it appears that there is some cost involved with placing Windows (Vista??) on the machine, but we can't derermine it. At least the Eee box is pretty honest. Put your own windows on the machine, and don't bug us about it.

How hard is it to get Linux running on the machine, and can the version that comes with the Eee box be moved over.

Personally, I'd rather have a Via chip instead of an Intel one, but that is a different story.

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Eee Wins!

Fully featured Office software included

Skype built in (now with video)

Capable of driving full size monitors at native res (I've tried up to 1660/1050)

Full xandros desktop with a couple of commands

£200 cheaper!

Amazing

I've got two - tee hee!

(Clove & Laptops Direct)

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Anonymous Coward

Poor Review

You benchmark two machines, but one of them is running a compressed drive which it is pretty obvious is going to have some performance overhead. Why bother publishing the drive benchmark at all if you aren't going to run both machines in stock configuration ?

The Phone Handset is described as a VoIP handset at the start of the review and then later you only refer to Skype..So what is it a VoIP handset or a remote control for Skype ? Can it be used for other VoIP services using SIP etc ?

You also forget to mention that the EEE has a camera.

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Dead Vulture

NanoBook Siblings

Quote"

Maxdata's Belinea s.book 1 isn't the only sub-notebook based on VIA's NanoBook reference design, nor is it the first. Packard Bell's EasyNote XS20 was announced last autumn, and is available in the UK now. It has the same basic spec as the s.book, but with a 30GB HDD in place of the s.book's 80GB unit and packs a 0.3-megapixel webcam on board. Until recently, PB's UK supplier, the Dixons group, wanted £499 for the XS20, but now it's retailing for around £350.

In the US, Everex has just launched the CloudBook. It too has a 30GB hard drive, but drops Windows XP in favour of the Linux-based gOS. It's aggressively priced at $399 - the same price the 4GB Eee PC commands."

Has anyone at elreg heard of the Flybook? http://www.flybook.biz/en/

Bit more expensive than you lucky european bastards pay for your IT, but still a wicked cool bit of kit. Do a review of that. tell me what you think. I loved it apart from the small keyboard

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Paris Hilton

fujitsu lappies?

Yes, where's the Eee and friend pic? I thought one per week was the norm; you missed the trick 'ere.

On a serious note: since I don't have an Eee, nor thinking of buying one, has anyone tried comparing it to the Fujitsu made P5000 or B2600 lappies? I suppose the size is somewhat bigger, and the price ginormously smaller ... but I do have the former, and it's a tiny job, really.

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Paris Hilton

The year is 1987

This falls at the first hurdle - it looks twenty years out of date. Particularly the silly VOIP telephone handset, which puts me in mind of those old "one per desk" units. I have seen rational adult men react emotionally at the sight of an Eee; but this doesn't have the same aura.

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Silver badge
Linux

Via, AMD and Intel

AMD and Intel simply can't get the same performance /battery life ratio as Via.

Of course if you go Linux and forgo Win, then you can have the entire Mobo of one of these in two chips, using a Samsumg ARM based SoC and Broadcom WiFi/BT combo, and no fan, and x5 battery life.

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Bronze badge
Dead Vulture

Battery life comparison unfair to the Eee!

So you compared the Eee playing a video properly with this thing not managing to keep up when playing a video. That means that this thing was doing *less processing* than the Eee, as it dropped frames, and still the battery life was shorter. So, if you'd compared like with like, I imagine the difference in battery life would be even greater. Why don't you do a fair test and report back? D'oh!

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re. Video

The point here is that the s.book's CPU and integrated GPU aren't up to decoding H.264 video. Video-capable iPods can do this because it has a dedicated decoder chip, and the Eee manages by brute force of CPU and GPU. Plenty of older machines can't.

The s.book drops frames because it's sacrificing frames to be able to keep the video running in real time. I kept an eye on the displayed frame rate, which oscillated between about 10fps and 25fps (the test movie was 25fps). The machine was running flat out throughout the test.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re. use of a non-standard Eee

Using a standard Eee would have been pointless since, because it runs Linux, I couldn't run a directly comparable benchmark on the two systems.

There is an overhead with using a compressed drive, but not a major one. I don't believe even with an uncompressed solid-state drive, the Eee's 4GB will compare well with the s.book's 80GB HDD.

The point is, if you are going to run XP on a 4GB Eee, you're going to have to turn on drive compression if you want to install more than a few basic apps. I have Firefox, OpenOffice, Skype, Pidgin and Photoshop on mine, for instance, and for that I need *just* more than 4GB.

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Re: Video

A decoder chip only costs around $25... why didn't they shove one in?

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Bronze badge
Dead Vulture

video - and why, again, have you put XP on your Eee?

Tony, thanks for confirming my comment: the Eee was doing more work (because it could decode every frame) than the s.book, so it was rather pointless to compare battery life by this method - the Eee will do even better than your result suggests.

And, according to this - http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/01/10/eb_eee_pc_at_ces/ - you're using a non-standard Eee because you want to run Photoshop on it for your journalism work. I asked then and I'm asking again - why not stick with Linux and use something like Gimp? And, as someone else suggested, you could use Gimpshop if the native app is too scary. You're not doing graphic design work for a printed publication - I would be very surprised if you needed to manipulate images in any way that Gimp isn't perfectly capable of doing. Or you could even try Photoshop under wine.

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Stop

Runtime test not fair!

If you would turn down the brightness of the belinea(max brightness something over 200cd/m²) to the same level as the EEE (~100cd/m²) the runime test would be fair!

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