Aigo P8860 MID first impressions. The Mobile Internet takes a Big Step Forward.

Posted on 06 November 2008 by

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Lets not beat around the bush here. The Aigo P8860 MID is a slightly unpolished, slightly locked-down, slightly thin-app, early-adopters Mobile Internet device. Almost everything in the application suite is underwhelming and after the initial unboxing high, the experience takes a sharp dive. Thank goodness then, that the only real problems are software-related, fixable and have nothing to do with the excellent form factor and superb Intel Atom platform which make this device truly breakthrough. I can’t put it down!

IMG_7501We’ve all seen small devices before. High-end smartphones and low-end UMPCs have been around for a while but none of them have managed to combine true pocketability with acceptable battery life and a top-notch Internet experience. The Aigo does though. 4.8″ 800×480 screen, check! 3hrs online battery life, check! Useable keyboard, check! Powerful processor, check! In ‘Internet’ power-to-weight ratio terms, this is a winner. Read on… sent me a sample to test out last week and having read reports from JKK and Pocketables in the previous week, I was less excited than I was when I got to test out the Gigabyte M528 preview version earlier in the year. That weekend, the M528 went from good to bad due to the early demo software but the Aigo has just got better and better since I’ve been using it.

Let me re-state something again though before I go further. The application suite is really poor. The UI is acceptable and the core appears to be stable but out of the box it’s locked-down and the Coolfox version of the Mozilla browser comes with a permanent toolbar and lack of plug-in capability. The Video and Music applications are laughable in terms of features. Think PocketPC circa 2002 or worse. In fact the video app is nothing more than a filtered file browser and a play button. The GPS app results in a Chinese error message. the IM app supports MSN only, the mail client appears to have trouble even connecting to Gmail and the PIM apps are of no use to anyone with a modern mobile phone.  I’ll mention it again, the software suite is poor!

But that’s the great thing about this device. It’s only the software that’s poor. The build quality, form factor, keyboard, screen (lovely), the smooth video playback (H.264, WMV, DivX at 1-2mbps), the audio quality (from the mono speaker no-less), the battery life, the heat dissipation (none) and the noise (none) all get good marks from me. If you’re a geeky kinda guy or gal though, there’s one little tweak that really opens up the device. Plug in a keyboard, give Linux the three finger salute that opens the console, run a few lines of code and boom! you have Firefox 3 running. A few more lines of code and boom! you have a set of apps and mods from the community and you’re starting to realise how much fun this device is and how much potential it has. There’s so much potential here that I don’t want to send the device back to Mobilx in-case Aigo roll out a software update through the included update tool!

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More images in the gallery.

To be honest, I haven’t done anything except the Firefox 3 mod and I have to say, this Aigo is making me lazier than ever. I’m participating in Ustream sessions in bed. I’m chatting on the sofa and and really finding it tough to put down. My Twitter and Friendfeed updates have gone through the roof this week and I’ve never had so few posts backed up in my feed reader. I’m catching up with emails, spending more time on IM (through,) listening to more podcasts, watching more crappy online videos and genuinely starting to wonder how long it will be before my wife whacks me over the head with a frying pan and chucks the Aigo in the bin! ‘Sorry love, I haven’t seen it anywhere. Are you sure you didn’t leave it in the coffee shop or on the table in your daughters ballet class?’

Here’s another reality kick though. This is not some screaming-fast, high-end desktop-speed browser experience. For one, 800×480 means you’re switching in and out of full-screen mode quite a lot and speeds are at the low-end of the PC scale but compared to smartphones, this is in another league and because it’s Firefox 3, you just know its going to be accurate and reliable. Flash is working perfectly and most plugins I’ve tried are working. (Geode is the noteable exception right now.) Under Coolfox, even the embedded streaming video players seem to be working!

Here are some speed tests on the browser (More details in this forum post):

JKKMobile ran a set of 8 page-load tests with Firefox and sent me the results. The results averaged 12 seconds per page.

Pocketables ran a set of 10 page load tests with Coolfox and included then in the Aigo full review. The results averaged 11.4 seconds per page.

I ran my own set of 11 page load tests with Firefox and averaged 12.1 seconds per page.

The results beat a previously tested set smartphones and other pocketable ‘Internet’ devices by an average 9 seconds per page. In terms of Internet browsing performance, it blows the N800/N810 out of the water and even the iPhone only averages 20 seconds per page over WiFi. The only pocketable device that gets close is the new Archos 5 with an average, over a similar set of tests, of 15 seconds.

The Aigo P8860 brings a new class of portable Internet browser performance to the market. For those who run any part of their business through the Internet, the value is obvious. For anyone keen to get involved with the Menlow platform and Linux/Moblin-based distributions that are coming out through a number of distributors, this is where you start.

Early pricing isn’t exactly set at giveaway levels but we’re definitely not talking early ultra mobile PC prices here. At 500 Euro before taxes (597 inclusive of taxes in Europe), its priced at the high-end of PMP and smartphone space but at the low end of the ultra mobile PC space. Even so, it’s not cheap and if you want to get the best out of it you’ll need to keep up with development, tricks and tips but right now, is there another option? If you’re not concerned about having built-in 3G (I’m using it tethered via the easy to use BlueSoleil software and a Nokia N82), the Aigo MID is perfect for early adopters in the true Mobile Internet space.

Thanks to for sending  the Aigo MID over. Their stock will be available soon and you can order it on their website. For more information on the Aigo MID including videos, full specs and links to news and our Aigo forum, see the information page.

Tested: Aigo P8860 MID running software version 030.5005

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  • Joao Oliveira (bassoPT)

    I see that you are now more excited with the Aigo. On the last live session i noticed you were a bit desapointed and didn’t find it nothing special.

    For what i have seen specially from Jkk i think this is great device. I’m just waiting a bit before buying one to see if they release a version with 3g or at least a version the sim card slot and mini pci slot alread soldered… not everyone has the soldering skill of jkk or wants to loose waranty….
    I have wrote to mobilx asking if the version they are about to sell will have alread the pci slot in, because on their site specss. they claim that the device already has a sim slot. if so i would be possible that the mini pci is also there. Unfortunately they have no idea….

    kepp on the good work
    Joao Oliveira.

  • Good stuff, but should the end results for speed be tied *solely* to full page loads? I really don’t care how long it takes a page to fully load, I care about how long before I can start reading what’s on the page, zoom in, navigate and such. I only mention this because I routinely get at needed info on Safari using the iPhone in a few seconds (i.e.: under 5) on many of the pages you’ve tested. I can nav, read, zoom, etc… in 25 to 50% of the full page load time. Put another way: I don’t care if ads or footers are still loading when I can read and interact with the stuff I need. Curious as to your thoughts on that…


      firefox 3 with noscript and the issue of loading third party stuff goes away ;)

    • Chippy

      Its a good point Kevin. You could go a step further and say, how about using dedicated widgets or even thinner solutions like proxy-style browsers. A valid argument.

      The great thing, and the point here really, is that the platform is proving to be extremely powerful and flexible. The software stack here is not for consumers and in many ways, the phone provides better way to access content that you regularly use (e.g. I still use for email and reader on the go) but the Aigo excels in providing the complete, reliable and media-rich solution you find on the desk.
      Not for everyone today but I look forward with excitement about the possibilities fo consumers tommorrow.

  • load times to start reading or scrolling are only sec or too… test with your wind.. underclock it 800mhz and you can feel how it is with aigo…

    • Chippy

      Its a bit less than 800Mhz on a 1.6Ghz Atom (due to hyperthreadiung and 533Mhz bus) but its not far off.

  • JC

    Have you tried out the handwriting recognition?

    • Chippy

      JC. No I havent. To be honest, i’ve had the stylus out maybe twice in the last week. Handwriting is not my bag. On paper or screen!

  • Wolle

    Is the screen resulution of 800×480 really enough for comfortable internet browsing? or does all the other advantages (weight-size,no heat-no noise,browsing speed) outweight this?

    • Chippy

      800×480 is really the entry point for comfortable browsing. On a 4.8″ screen its easily readable and wide-enough for almost everything. Of course, a 1024×600 screen would be nicer but you would have to bump the font size up to 120% for comfortable reading and link-touching which brings you to the same real-estate as with 800×480.
      Think of it as pixels per inch. 200 ppi (as the Aigo is) is near-perfect for handheld use.


  • MIPS XBurst 400 CPU systems are being sold.

    Off-Topic – $100 machine spotted!

    Sample Un-boxing First Look video from India here:

    The 400 MHz XBurst MIPS machines are in the marketplace. Sub-$200 on many sites (actual cost is unknown, but is this the $98 HiVision machine, if it is then the price has gone up)?

    Search Google for: Xburst 400

    More YouTube Videos are up now too!
    Also search Google for: YouTube XBurst 400

    Not much for Specs of course! The $200 price for these as listed in some retail or wholesale web sites, is a bit high given the graphics resolution, limited RAM, small SSD, etc. Invest a hundred more dollars & you are up to $300 where you are at the low end of the price of a serious laptop these days. To sell, the price on these needs to be sub-$100. BUT, to be fair if your budget is $200 max, then this might fit. Or if traveling, and you didn’t want to really miss that laptop that disappeared with your luggage, then this might fit (but sub-$100 would be better still then too).

    Still would be interesting open the box review for UMPCportal to do… are these in the database yet?

    • Chippy

      Well off topic!

  • Clayton

    Hey Chippy,

    Very nice review! But… I’m curious about your opinion on price/benefit ratio. I’ve found this unit for about $800, that is more expensive than the Gigabyte M704 and almost twice the price of the Archos 5. I know the comparison might not make sense… but for a portable internet device, these are possible choices, don’t you think?

    I’m REALLY willing to buy one AIGO MID. But my brain keep telling me that I should buy the Archos 5 now and wait for another year, when MID’s will become half of the price, given the netbooks competition… I’d like to know your opinion.

    Very best regards!

    • Chippy

      Hi Clayton. There is no doubt that the prices will be much much less in 12 months time so the price/benefit ratio only works for these people right now:
      1) People that run all or part of their business on the internet. This product saves time, increases confidence (less risk of failure) and improves productivity (speed, keyboard) when working with internet, while mobile without a laptop. No doubt about that.
      2) People that want to learn/play/develop for Intel MIDs.
      3) People that are prepared to pay for the best pocketable internet experience and want it now.
      4) People that want a silent, one-handed internet experience.

      You can almost guarantee that new solutions will appear soon but right now, there is nothing that compares given the above scenarios.


  • ArchiMark

    Excellent overview, Chippy….

    Glad to see that you ‘got it’ regarding the Aigo’s potential….

    I’m enjoying mine a lot especially since the very recent hack file from ‘yves’ that really unlocks the Aigo to the way it should have come from the factory…

    So, easy to do, and transforms the Aigo completely, once you setup XFCE, yet the beauty is that you can switch back to the Midinux desktop if you want for some reason….


    • Chippy

      Hi ArchiMark.
      Apart from this being the only globally available device that can return reliable, fast, Internet, the software development opportunities are huge. Transformations are almost guaranteed. Flexibility is a major feature here.

      • ArchiMark

        Amen, brother Chippy…

  • Micke

    But this is still bigger than an OQO Model 02, right? I need something that´s a tad smaller than that, but not much. This one is about 100 grams lighter, so that might make a difference.

    Does the Aigo feel more pocketable than an OQO to you, Chippy?

    I have a feeling that I might have to wait for a Cortex Nokia internet tablet in order to meet my definition of pocketability. Should be really nice with Fennec on it.

    • ArchiMark

      FWIW, Micke, I had a 02 earlier this year briefly, very nice device all in all, but compared to form of Aigo, it 02 is more ‘brick-like’, chunky feeling to Aigo, which feels much more trim, due to a bit more curviness/rounded corners…02 does feel like a high quality build device, but it’s also much more expensive too…


        that price issue is more or less what sunk the umpc imo.

        funny really, as the aigo looks very much like the device tossed around in the origami video…

        • Chippy

          As you mentioned, this is more origami than the original origami devices and it has a price close to the original target price. Far cheaper than a umpc and yet you seem to be wanting even more, If youre lucky enough to be inFrfance or Italy, these are now free with a 3g contract. What exactly are you expecting?




          the ability to pick up a aigo, used, for about the same price as i got a N800 ;)

    • Chippy

      The aigo is more pocketable than the oqo in my opinion. The battery life better too.

      • Chippy

        …not to mention heat and n oise, the aigo is fanless and always cool.

        • Micke

          Yep, the heat and noise is why I didn´t use my Model 02 as much as I thought I would, and consequently sold it.
          But I still think the Aigo wil be too big for my taste. Hopefully Nokia, or someone else will release a really good Cortex device soon. I don´t want to wait until Moorestown. The Archos 5 is nice, but too locked down.

  • B. Factor


    Thanks for your review! I must confess your enthusiastic tone caught me by surprise after reading your very critical first impressions. We would all be grateful if you could please provide a HOW-TO for what software changes you recommend to unlock the inner beauty of the Aigo P8860…. Also am curious whether you recommend attempting a Win XP install ala jkkmobile or to stick with some version of Linux.

    • Chippy

      Hi B.Factor
      Maybe i should highlight in even simpler words…the software out of the box is terrible. crap! This is a device for devs, early adopters and those that can pay for the ultimate portable browser.

      As ive always said, the form factor is great and the platform is great.

      Youll find some howtos in the aigo forum


      • B. Factor

        The forum provides a LOT of options, from “update your system” to “unlock your device” to “install Win XP”, each of which which report varying degrees of success, and its difficult for a non-expert to determine what is the best path to the Aigo excellence proclaimed in your review.

        So I’m looking for a simpler easier-to-follow set of instructions, something like, “here are the ten steps that chippy recommends that will transform your aigo into something chippy considers useful”.

        • ArchiMark

          B.Factor, if the forum posts aren’t clear enough for you, just hop over to and they’re are HowTo section and forum posts that explain this to you….as I mentioned before, it’s actually very, very easy to do…

  • tino

    Is a nice form factor but I am not convinced its better than the Reon Note platform.

    To be honest with you I wouldn’t run Linux on an Atom platform, I would install XP on it right away.

    Also about the battery, exactly how good is it? Its not comparing to Netbook annymore. You have to compare it to Nokia n800/810. And we know their battery lives are crazy good. With the n800, I don’t actually turn off the device. I never turn off the device. I just lock the key/screen like a smartphone and put it in the pocket. Can you do the same on this MID? Do you charge once a day or once every two days.


      should i bother asking what you see as a problem with using linux?

    • Chippy

      The difference between this and the n810 is that this one is useful ;-)

      Expect 5 hours with wifi and screen off, 3hrs in wifi use. Not as good on the standby as the nokia. expect to be topping up later in the day if youre using it full-on like i am.


      • ArchiMark

        Ouch….. ;-)

        A bit harsh there, Chippy….

  • John in Norway

    I’m not interested in 3G, playing videos, games etc on a small device. What I am interested in is writing on a device like this. I presently have an OQO 02 which is sadly dying on me (out of warranty as well). I’ve almost written a novel on it.
    You say the keyboard is good. As good as the OQO? You say the software is garbage. What about the Office software? Is that garbage as well?
    I’m liking the sound of this device as my OQO replacement (I prefer thumb typing to anything else) but no one has addressed the issues I’m interested in.

    • ArchiMark

      Having had an 02 Dec 07/Jan 08, and now the Aigo, the OQO keyboard and overall build ‘feels like’ a higher quality device…however, I do find that the Aigo keyboard functions fine as do other things on it…but as I’ve said before, 02 and Aigo are not the same price, so hard to expect the same thing…on the other hand, in a funny way, one thing I like about the Aigo is the fact that it is a cheaper device. therefore, I feel less nervous/worrying about taking it with me everywhere as I don’t feel that it’s such a precious device like I did with the 02…

  • yves

    @ B. Factor
    I think that this how-to could answer to your expectations:

    It will allow you to “open” Midinux, install firefox and some plugins, get access to a complete menu, to the add/remove software app and optionally install another deskop manager on Midinux, with a lot of settings available for the UI.

    The whole procedure doesn’t need any advanced knowledge of Linux, neither using the command line, thanks to the “hack file” which, added to the standard Midinux recovery, allows to install automatically the scripts and configuration files.

  • Joao Oliveira (bassoPT)


    If you have an iphone and want easy way to have 3g on your aigo easy here are some instructions i found on the net… the question here is if the aigo lets create ad hoc connections with linux. but since xp is getting closer…..

    anyway here are the instructions:

    “yes it is posible its amzing and quite easy. I have an iphone 3g 8gb and i literlly have internet wherever my phone goes. All u need to do is jailbreak ur iphone if on a mac its easier but like me i did on a windows vista. give me one sec while i give u the intructions folow those simple steps . Once youve done that get on the app called Cydia. Download and install PdaNet on ur iphone. Create an Ad hoc network which is extremely easy. go network . Create a new network selcect adhoc no exceprtion which means no security .. give it a name and then simply go on ur iphone conect to it and run pda net and Wala. Fast free Staelite internet. o and btw ive gotten speeds up to 2.5mbs down. Not slow at all. 3g is incredible”

    I hope this was helpfull…


  • ssagg

    I like the device but, at almost the same price, Is it a bettrer option than an Everun?

  • ssagg

    I mean: twice the battery life, similar processing power, sligthly bigger form factor (not equal but similar), full blow OS (no hacking needed), more than ten times storage capacity, 3G expadability, etc…. I think the keyboard is the only aspect where the aigo surpasses with huge margin the Everun.
    I would have expected some more almost two years after.

    • tino

      He was talking about the Everun Note. It a hell lo faster than the Atom, let alone an underclocked one. Go to youtube can check out video of people playing modern DX9 games on the Everun Note.

      • Joao Oliveira (bassoPT)

        I think you cant compare .. the everun is bigger weights the dobble. oh and the battery life on the everun from what everyone says is crap lasts with luck 2 hours….

        • yves

          I agree with Joao: you can’t compare the Aigo MID with the Everun Note. They are two different concepts. You just can’t imagine carrying the Everun in your pocket, taking it out just when you need it, holding it permanently in one hand when you’re using it, keeping the other one free for touching the screen or anything else (e.g. holding a cup of coffee).

          And,no, its price shouldn’t be the same. I got the Aigo from DFJ one month ago for 482 euros (699$) shipping included; I guess that the price without shipping was around 430 euros. OK I didn’t pay the tax, but even including it, it should be available in Europe for 510 or 520 euros. And the price will probably become lower when similar devices will be available (or when other resellers will propose the Aigo).

          If you want to compare with the Everun Note, you should compare with the low-end Note, which comes with a single core CPU and 16 GB SSD, and with a linux OS. This one is sold for 500 euros, but you still can neither carry it in your pocket, nor hold it in one hand for a long time :)

  • ssagg

    I was talking about the original Everun

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  • Tek

    I had a question about the internet browser. I’ve read that the Nokia N810 has the best internet browsing experience of any other portable internet device. How would you compare this device with the Nokia N810? I am looking for a device to take with me when I deploy to Iraq in a few weeks and I’ve narrowed it down to the Nokia N810 or the Aigo P8860 MID. Any recommendations or advice that may help me choose one device over the other? Thanks.

  • xemone

    Ever since I saw the umpcfever dissecting video of the Aigo MID, I’ve been wondering about the possibilities of upgrading the NAND flash chips and the RAM chips. I don’t know if anyone has thought about it. I was looking up NAND chips on digikey and micron chips are reasonably priced in low quantities; you can even buy single chips. I guess the big question is what is the highest density the Aigo MID can handle? And an even bigger hurdle is the fact that from what I could see in the dissection video, the NAND chips are FBGA rather than the 48-TSOP versions which are easier to solder by hand. The RAM chips also appear to be the FBGA versions too. It’d be great to upgrade the RAM to at least 1GB and the SSD to 16GB, 32GB or maybe even 64GB. Just a thought.

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