Posted on 08 May 2009
I’m afraid I don’t have time to do a written review of my Windows 7 experience with the U820 but I can say that it’s good. So good that I took some time this morning to quickly go over the device and how it works with Windows 7. Highlights for me (over the Vista build I was running) are:
- Improved boot-up time
- Cleaner, quicker, more reliable log-in using fingerprint reader
- Divx and H.264 support out of the box.
- Hardware support for H.264 decoding out of the box
- Great battery life (between 2 and 5 hours depending on use)
- Vastly improved on-screen-keyboard experience
Windows 7 really does spell the end of XP on UMPCs in my opinion. The only question now is, cost. How much will a touch-enabled version of W7 cost?
The video below is relatively long at 19 minutes. YouTube’s HQ processing may take time so check back later if you want an HQ version.
Note: This video edited and processed using Windows Live Movie Maker Beta with the YouTube upload plugin on the U/B50N. The render time is much longer than with the old version of Movie Maker (in this case, way over 1hr to process 19 mins of VGA MJPEG 14mb/s source video) but the editing and posting process using this method is very very simple. I’ll have to do some more testing to see if it’s a valid option for UMPCs.
Thanks to Conics for the loan of the Loox. They have the 2GB version with an SSD option so check it out.
Update: I’m writing aditional notes in the forum here.
Posted on 07 May 2009
After a very successful and stress-free install of Windows 7 on the U/B50N (U820, U2010) UMPC yesterday, I’m now giving it a full test as a desktop PC with full size monitor and keyboard. Using the dock, the screen keyboard, mouse and power can be left plugged in and I can grab the UMPC whenever I need to take Twhirl to the kitchen!
The Loox was already an impressive device but with Windows 7 it’s working so much better. Quick, clean, enjoyable. Not as fast as XP but the trade-off is worth it now. Battery life appears to be better. It ranges from under 5W (wifi-on, screen on, idle = 4hrs) drain through 7W (average Wifi browsing = 3hrs) up to 10W (2hrs) if it’s pushed for videos. Boot time is about 60 seconds until fingerprint swipe and another 30 seconds on top until it’s stable. Far better than Vista was. All touch features are working including floating tip and the on screen keyboard is great in portrait sofa-surfing mode! Even the fingerprint reader is working for Windows login. There’s no audio output on the dock which is a little annoying but USB audio dongles are dirt cheap and there’s always the A2DP route so it’s not a major hassle. With the 1.6Ghz processor (1GB RAM) it’s fast enough for my journalistic and social networking activities although there’s clearly room for improvement in disk speed. A fast 64GB SSD would make this almost unbeatable. (The 2Ghz version with an SSD will be the ultimate grab and go desktop!)
This isn’t a cheap setup by any means but it’s one of the best engineered, multi-scenario UMPC packages you can buy. From tablet to thumbing to table-top and desktop. It’s up there with the 1.8Ghz OQO 2+ and docking station setup I tested. I’m enjoying the U/B50N so much that when I’ve completed the Viliv S5 review (that I’m supposed to be doing right now!) I’ll schedule a full review of this. When the UMID Mbook goes back to Mobilx this week, the U/B50N will become my main UMPC. Thanks very much to Conics for the long-term loan of the U/B50N. It’s been a pleasure but I really can’t stop thinking about the 2Ghz version you have!
End of day update:
This is very cool to work with. I always like a dual-screen setup and theres a great feeling of efficiency here but don’t expect this setup to be without limits. I put the Fuji into high-power mode (no speed stepping) and the fan got annoying (in my silent, out of town room while I was concentrating on an article) and there were one or two stutters too many. I think, however, these are coming from my RF keyboard and mouse rahter than the UMPC. I need another session with a hard-wired keyboard.mouse. If you need ONE PC for mobility and desktop and you want to use it a lot, i.e. you need quality, this is probably in the top three with the Sony UX and OQO. I dare say the 2Ghz with SSD and windows 7 will be the ultimate one-pc setup.