back to article Sub £200 mini laptop launched

The mini laptop market has expanded yet again with the launch of a 7in machine costing under £200. Maplin_minibook_02 The miniBook: 7in display, 2GB storage and an SD card slot Called the miniBook, it measures 222 x 165 x 30mm, weighs in at 650g and sports a 7in, 800 x 480 pixel display. The PC’s based on an 32-bit CPU …

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  1. Paul

    I realy dont get the point...

    What is it for? It seems to well speced for just word processing and net browsing, but under speced for much else.

    When one comes out that I can use to do a bit of word processing, a bit of web browsing and send a few emails, and costs less that £100 then I will have one, and I think many others will to.

  2. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    Wouldn't touch it with a barge-pole

    Sounds well dodgy, kind of like those mysterious ipod knockoffs you see going at the market stalls and computer fairs.

    128 meg memory?!?

    Rather pay the extra £50 and get the Acer Aspire One (review please El Reg, quickly now).

  3. david skinner
    Gates Horns

    One problem...

    (Does not support Microsoft O/S)

    Although that won't stop people on here I can't see it selling well to the general public...

  4. nigel spowage

    CCL appear to be selling the same one

    and a tenner cheaper as well.

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?id=24903#

  5. Torben Mogensen

    CPU

    The user manual specifies the CPU as "XBurst 400 MHz 32-bit CPU". This is a Chinese MIPS clone that has been used in other low-cost laptots.

    The minibook appears to be identical to the 3K RazorBook (http://www.3kcomputers.com/shop/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=57) and the Bestlink Alpha 400 (http://www.bestlinkeshop.com/index.php?p=1&s=3529a7fa0b7142c6a538ae7cdc764feb&lang=en), so they are all probably rebadged versions of a Chinese laptop.

  6. daniel kingshott
    Linux

    unspecified cpu??

    come on el reg, you could at least read the user manual,

    http://www.ingenic.cn/eng/productServ/XBurst/pfCustomPage.aspx

  7. b
    Alert

    128mb of memory and 2gb of storage?! = what a MONSTER!

    ok, so not bad looking little fella, 7" is a bit small (missus!), 840x480 is a bit low..but 128mb of memory?!

    2gb of STORAGE?!

    ok, ok, i know external usb2 drives are peanuts these days (we ARE spoilt) and non microsoft products are seemingly devoid of the need to consume whatever is around, but i think we could have perhaps settled on 512mb, considering all that these baby laptops are expected to do and maybe 8-12gb of local storage i think would have sufficed.

    anyways, the baby laptop thread:

    http://www.eupeople.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=487

    all welcome :)

    cheers,

    bill

  8. alister troup
    Unhappy

    available eslewhere

    http://www.supergps.co.uk/silverstar-epc-swe700a1b0-white-linux-ultra-mobile-pc-p-3496.html

    150 exc delivery and that's the normal price

  9. Simon Painter
    Thumb Up

    Channels 12 & 13

    12 and 13 are only used in the UK and not usable with most non european kit. I don't generally use them for APs because of the problems with cheap imported laptops. It's 1, 6 and 11 all the way for me!

  10. David Gosnell

    Same as...

    This one's popped its head up a few times recently, and is basically the same as the Elonex ONEt and the Novatech Minibook (latter available now for £170 also). Sure I saw somewhere it wholesales for sub £100.

  11. Mike Brown

    title

    lovely, even tho the manufacturers mention the issue with wifi, maplin do not. not really buyer beware huh?

    still, i might buy one, looks pretty snazzy......

    is snazzy still an acceptable word? should i have used the shizzle, or shiznay or shnapple or somthing equally street?

  12. Charles Spalton
    Linux

    Additional specification details

    Scan Computers appear to have it listed at £163.33 inc VAT - and describe it as having a 400MHz Xburst CPU:

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=225532&source=1&DOY=30m7

    for more info.

    pikiWedia redirects searches on XBurst to the MIPS article.

  13. Wonderkid
    Stop

    Pointless - EEE PC 701 costs the same now...

    ...and has 4G of SSD and originates from a far more reputable company. My EEE PC 701 is the most reliable 'computer' I have ever owned. Other than when Firefox runs out of memory, it never crashes. I have seen them priced new as low as £175.

  14. Io McKinnon
    Linux

    CPU info

    The Product manual on the Maplin page reports the CPU as "XBurst 400 MHz 32-bit CPU". They're made by Ingenic, a Chinese semiconductor company, and are some sort of RISC architecture. It's not x86 compatible.

  15. Joe K
    Alert

    400 mhz

    According to the manual it sports a "XBurst 400 MHz 32-bit CPU", which according to Google is common in crapola knock-offs like this and is probably less powerful than the one in your phone.

  16. A. Lewis
    Thumb Up

    Woo for laptots!

    I noticed this one in maplin the other day. I don't think it looks as good as others, aesthetics-wise. Can't argue with that price though!

    Still, I'll stick with my EEE.

  17. Tony Sweeney

    Novatech has them in stock

    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?NOV-MINIBK

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    The big question, of course, is:

    will it run Crysis?

    PS, it's about time we had a Crysis icon, methinks

  19. Joe

    "...unspecified Chinese firm..."

    I'd want to know it's not being made under rough conditions before buying! Why isn't it possible to buy any electronic gear not made in a Communist dictatorship? I'd pay extra! But I guess you just can't beat those slave-labour prices...

  20. chris
    Alert

    CCL have a very similar looking laptop on their website

    The CCL laptop is only £159.99 too!

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?id=24903

  21. Peter D'Hoye
    Thumb Down

    Why not get a Nokia N810

    Almost the same internal specs but much smaller. Same screen resolution too!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Not new.

    This is definitely not a new thing. The EPC-700 (not eeepc, mind you) in its many guises has been in stores for a while now, actually. My mother bought one - against my recommendation - from a toy store a few weeks back, and I had the pleasure of trying to fix it when WLAN didn't work right. In the end I "fixed" it by restarting our router, even though my own laptop had no issues at all. Still don't understand why it didn't work, but meh.

    Either way, I strongly suggest not getting near this thing. The CPU (as Io McKinnon noticed) is a Chinese MIPS copy which means that it's a pain to do anything with it that doesn't come shipped. The software is a mess, the localization on my mother's machine is plain horrible (excellent case of sloppy/lacking Chinese->English), it doesn't have a non-root account, the software it does have is painfully outdated and the updating tool something that comes with it doesn't work until you download a fix.

    The "Minibook" version (if it's any different at all) might have slightly fewer issues, but I rather doubt it. Would not buy again, so to say.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re: One problem...

    I think you've got it wrong, the general public have been buying all sorts of small devices for years which don't run Windows, from the electronic organisers and PDAs 15 years ago, right through Psion, Blackberrys, Amstrad E-mailer to the modern day with smart phones etc. (Lets not forget macs). The general public don't care what a utility device runs so long as it does as advertised - browsing the internet, email and word processing.

  24. Aaron

    Similar spec at Toys R Us

    Or you could just save yourself a bundle and buy a laptop with a similar spec direct from Toys R Us. I belive there may be wireless connectivity issues with this model also.

    http://www.toysrus.co.uk/Product.aspx/TruHome/TruLearning/TRULearningElectronic06/TRULearningElectronicLearningToys/036331?ref=Search

  25. Anonymous John

    Not just online

    I wandered into the local store by chance before reading El Reg, and they had some. My credit card started whimpering, and I had to leave.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    SO MANY PEOPLE THAT OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE MARKET

    It seems many of you above have no understanding that this product fits the market. I recently purchased one and expected it to do simply Internet functions, word and spreadsheet style work and it does all of these.

    There are many chinese suppliers of the product but CnM is a 14year + established distributor to the UK and Germany.

    It seems to me the competition are not likeing the fact that someone has got to the market first with a low cost miniBOOK that actually looks damn good.

    Nice work CnM!!

  27. steogede

    Channel 12 and 13

    I thought that the anyone with any sense uses channels 1, 6 and 11 - to avoid overlap. Why would anyone bother with 12 and 13 (unless they don't know better)?

    @ Joe

    >> I'd pay extra! But I guess you just can't beat those slave-labour

    >> prices...

    You would have to pay a lot extra, it wouldn't just be the cost of labour it would be all the costs associated with running multiple production plants, fabs, etc.. It isn't the sort of thing that can be done on a small scale. Ball park figures, I reckon the cost of running another plant with a much smaller output would probably quadruple the cost before you even paid an extra penny to the workers - triple that again if you wanted to please the green crowd too. Are you prepared to pay 12 times as much or more?

  28. Karl H
    Flame

    I notice it is being sold by maplin

    who have from my 24 years of experience of looking at their wares (I am 40 and not 24 years old !) have found them to quite often sell over-priced stuff from companies no one has heard about, and when you get it home you find out why no one else has stocked it, because it's crap.

    the only time stuff is worth buying from Maplin is when it is (well according to Maplin) "50% off!!" , and then it is the price you'd expect to pay elsewhere.

    Me , I'll probably be getting an acer one.

  29. Vincent
    Thumb Down

    Looks ugly...

    Looks pretty ugly and cheap to me (Even though it is cheap). I can't really see this appealing to the masses to be honest.

    Lack of support for Windows will also probably throw people off.

  30. Daniel Silver badge
    Coat

    @AC, "SO MANY PEOPLE THAT OBVIOUSLY ..." etc

    <cough>shill</cough>

  31. Dave The Cardboard Box

    Well stick a joypad on me and call me Pandora

    Maybe these folks will finally stop punting vapourware

    http://www.openpandora.org

    I guess when a product is 12 months past its projected release date (and waiting) someone is going to beat you to it.

  32. Trygve Henriksen

    you can get it for about $120...

    as the Impulse NXP-9000

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-tp/101509462/World_s_Cheapest_Laptop.html?

    Assuming that you but 100 or more of them...

    It may even have a VGA output.

    (Maybe it won't crash if you press the [Fn]+[F5] keys... )

    That said, I have the Bestlink model, and the WordProcessor(AbiWord 2.4.5) is OK if a it dated. It can handle a 200 pages(A4) wihout too much problems.

    The fact that you need to update the OS(using a path from a Dutch page, and deigned for the SkyTone branded mahine, because the OS recovery/updater doesn't work) to be able to use WPA-encrypted networks is another matter...

    I've written a 'review' of the machine in my Forum, at:

    http://totallytrygve.com/phpbb3/viewforum.php?f=18

    If they can fix some of the problems, it would end up as a replacement for my aging Psion netBook. (Won't replace my S3c, though. Nothing can beat that. Unless someone have a S3mx they want to sell... )

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    think that's cheap?

    Aria have a similar laptop, the Eurobook, on pre-order for £140.

    http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Laptops/The+Eurobook+7%22+Laptop+MiniBook+and+Accessory+Pack+?productId=33234

  34. Trygve Henriksen

    Actually, the 'Eurobook'...

    Is the EXACT SAME SH!T as the rest...

  35. Matthew

    Wireless channels

    'Anyone with any sense uses...'?

    Anyone with any sense checks what channels the neighbours' kit is using, and what their own equipment can support and then chooses the channel that causes least conflicts while supporting all of your devices.

    By avoiding the 'sensible' channels suggested I get a much more reliable stable connection.

  36. Stuart Halliday
    Alien

    Not got a scobbie..

    I hope its got Firefox 3 on it as web surfing with 2 on a 400MHz, 128MB PC is not going to be happy surfing time...

    I noticed this in my local Maplins, the keyboard looks odd at first glance. That's because it has none of the usually localised symbols on the keys. ie like the £ above the numbers for example.

    Quite honestly this is another Chinese manufacturer and British importer who really have no idea what we UK bods want in a small laptop.

    2GB storage, 400MHz CPU and 128MB RAM really is far too low a spec. for modern web surfing and emailing.

    It'll be half-price by Jan....

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