Buyers Guide – Mixed Mobile Usage with The Full Internet Experience

Updated on 12 March 2019 by

cccJakub contacted me yesterday via the CCC email account with the first of the CCC2011 challenges. It’s a very typical one to start off with and will probably fit many peoples requirements too so lets start with the first of our tailored buyers guides for mobile computing solutions.

Requirements.

Via a number of emails we’ve determined that Jakub would like a device that could be kept in a bag all the time. It would be used occasionally for work and personal tasks, needs 3G and importantly, needs to be able to access the full internet experience with no need for zooming and panning. A battery that can last 2 days without charging on light usage is also important. I’m interpreting the ‘bag’ requirement as something between 7 and 10 inches, 500-1300gm.

Nice-to-have’s include car navigation, sub $500 cost, ability to handle printers and cameras and a docking station. Jakub also appears to be a photography fan and wants to use the device for photo previewing and basic editing. SD card slot, USB host and screen could be important

In the correspondence we’ve had over the last two days, one line resonated with me: “full internet experience is a must. I don’t like limitations, they always appears at worst moment, when i must do something. inch I was lying on the couch yesterday with the Viliv N5 thinking exactly the same thing as my Galaxy Tab failed to offer me full web experience. Not only is plugin support a problem but the ability to access full versions of websites, reliable rendering, javascript input fields and of-course, the unsolved problem of mouse-over on web-page menus.

Narrowing the platform choices.

We’ve got a problem on hour hands here. Its the common trade-off between full internet experience which is still only available on the X86 platforms using desktop browsers, and long standby life. However, we’ve got a loophole to get through because Jakub is likely to be happy with quick return from standby as opposed to always-on. Immediately I’m thinking of the latest Samsung netbooks with their quick start and long standby support. With a full SD card slot it helps for photography and they have great screens.  If the Toshiba AC100 with 3G had been fitted with a quality software build that might also be a solution although it’s available for under 200 Euros with 3G so might be worth a test.

Based on the web requirement though, I’m going to rule out the rest of the Android tablets and smartphones. That’s unfortunate because the Galaxy Tab would have been high on the list. The iPad too. The original 3G+16GB version is available for under 500 Euros and at Argos in the UK right now, it’s only 418 Euros. My feeling is that you’ll still hit issues with websites but that’s a great price for a great mobile computing device and you’ll certainly have fun with it.

The docking station requirement is a good one. There isn’t another accessory that improves the range of usage of a tablet more than a dock and since my first ultra mobile PC in 2006 I’ve been a fan. The MSI Windpad 110W might be a device to check out. It’s a tablet but it’s got an important feature – mouse pad. That improves Windows/Tablet usability a lot. Pre-order prices for the 3G versions are heading towards 600 Euro, slightly above the price range but with the included GPS (according to my specifications) it would be possible to add something like Mapfactor Navigator 11 or even their free product. The dock is going to add to the price though but might be something for a later date. The Acer Iconia Tab W500 is another one to consider in that vein but as far as i’m aware, it doesn’t have that important mouse pointer/pad. If you want a high-end Atom tablet at under 900gm, look at the Gigabyte S1080 with N570, 2GB RAM, USB 3.0, 3G and keyboard case. It’s expensive though!

Isn’t it a shame that the HTC Shift didn’t get an update. For people that just want the occasional-use PC along with portability and an always-on operating system, you’ve got the best of both worlds. Alas, HTC, along with many others are busy serving the competitive smartphone, superphone and tablet PC space. An updated Nokia Booklet 3G could have been interesting too. If you see an original for sale for under 400 Euro, do check it out though as it’s a unique netbook. (GPS, weight, battery life.)

On the netbook choices though, there’s a bargain to be had in the Samsung N150 Eom 3G. It doesn’t have the ‘Fast Start’ option unfortunately but it’s a solid, well priced 3G netbook at well under 400 Euros and in some cases, under 350 Euros. Weight 1.25KG

Finally, I’m going to call out the Viewsonic Viewpad Pro. It’s coming soon and it’s going to be one of the first Oaktrail devices in Europe with 3G for under 700 Euros. 650 Euros is the street price right now but with SSD, 3G, 2GB of RAM, 870gm weight and the Intel Oaktrail platform, it could return some excellent battery life, even in always-on mode.

Top 5 Choices

Click on images for more information.

Your reliable, good value choice is going to be the Samsung N150 Eom 3G (Eom is the name in Germany, it could vary in other EU countries.) At 350 Euros for a 3G netbook, it will cover all your angles apart from navigation.

If you fancy waiting a bit for a modular solution, do so for the MSI Windpad 110W. With 3G, GPS, the mouse pointer and the dock, it could be one of the most flexible, general use tablet PCs around. Don’t forget it has Windows Home Premium, 2GB of RAM and a nice 1080p capability. 2 years ago, something like this would have cost 1200 Euro! No full SD card slot. No full reviews yet. Above budget.

A low-cost choice and Android experience would be the Toshiba AC100 with 3G which can be picked up dirt cheap. It’s not business quality but there are marketplace hacks out there that could be fun to test out. The web experience won’t be as good as on the Windows-based devices here. No GPS. Test well before buying!

Another one to check out in the next few months would be the Viewsonic Viewpad 10 Pro. It should have better battery life than the Windpad 110W but doesn’t provide as much processing power. For occasional use it might be fine. No full reviews available yet. Above budget.

Long-shot choice. I haven’t mentioned this yet because there’s no indication that it’s coming to the market but keep a close eye (and Google search for the VX70S-001. What is it? It’s the product code for the new Viliv X70 Slate with Oaktrail. Price is highly likely to be above 500 Euros but with SSD, GPS, long standby and the full internet experience, it’s just what you and many others are looking for. No 3G. No reviews. No idea when and for how much it’s coming.

Also look at the original iPad with 3G, the Gigabyte S1080 (high-end Atom-based spec) and Acer Iconia Tab W500 and keep an eye out for cheap and sales of the Nokia Booklet 3G. There’s promise in a few 7″ Intel Oaktrail tablet prototypes (e.g. the X70 Slate, ECS 7″ Tablet) we’ve seen at shows buy as yet, none have reached the market. They could be worth waiting for though.

And finally, look in the comments below. One of the great things about this website, even if I do say so myself, is the quality of the commenters.

Keep those requests coming via the CCC2011 email address.

19 Comments For This Post

  1. yq says:

    right, thats typical requirements so im glad to be first :). netbooks are not an option (unless they can slide into tablet) – because i need some quick use on the street. i will read this later carefully and give more thoughts. thanks!

  2. path6336 says:

    Good choices, but how about the Viliv S7? Might be on the slow side, but it has long battery life and good connectivity with 2 USB ports. Demo units are available from Dynamism to keep costs down.

  3. Chippy says:

    A good choice, yes. If you can find a cheaper version with 3g it’s an excellent choice. I might even be selling mine soon!

  4. John says:

    Hi Chippy, it will be interesting to see what the result will be for the Viliv X70-Oaktrail and if it even makes it to market. I have a 7″ Galaxy Tab and find it somewhat useful, but need a more productive device to match the Windows environment in which I work.

    Have just purchased a 10″ Fujitsu Q550 which is a secondary device for me and, I hope will fill certain needs in that size. So far so good. Doesn’t “blow your socks off” but is more than adaquate! Would be nice if the Viliv X70 does materialize and fills the 7″ space.

    For me, it seems as though the 7″ and 10″ devices have specific needs usage. Do you think there are others who may share this same thought?

    And then there is the Windows 8 factor – (maybe “Windows 8 Ready” should be an included thought) and the roll it will play in the coming months.

    Have thanked you several times for the service you provide, so here is another one! Thanks.

  5. Chippy says:

    Thanks for Thanks! The 7″ oaktrail category is likely to get a candidate soon I hear from sources. Can’t say anything more right now. Info came after wrote this article.

  6. Oryoki says:

    If Toshiba AC100 is a potential option, why is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer plus keyboard dock not on the list? 1280×800 screen is better for browsing than the AC100’s 1024×768, weight is low, and price is below $600 USD for the WiFi version. 3G model coming in August. The extra battery in the keyboard permits 15 hours of WiFi browsing.

    The iPad is out due to lack of Flash support. What features are missing from the Android 3.1 browser that make it less than a “full web” experience?

  7. bret says:

    More like the Toshiba AC100 shouldn’t have been on the list at all. A “full internet experience” is more than just supporting Flash. No gussied up smartphone OS has yet to provide close to the the same internet experience as a desktop OS.

  8. travis says:

    The full internet experience requirement only leaves Windows, Mac OS and a desktop Linux distro for the OS. The price and size requirements take Macs off the list though the Air is a pretty good ultraportable. Linux isn’t exactly the most user friendly and will always have driver issues. So that just leaves Windows netbooks or tablets with a mouse pointer (vital for a full internet experience). A physical keyboard may be required if you’re a heavy user of keyboard shortcuts (I am). If that’s true then there’s just netbooks left on the list.

    For me, my size requirement includes a 5 inch screen and no bag otherwise I’ll just take my notebook with a significantly faster CPU with me.

  9. Oryoki says:

    It’s easy to assert that only a desktop OS provides the “full Internet experience.” How about providing a couple of examples to show the rest of us where you think Android falls short? It will help people decide if the alleged shortcomings are important.

  10. Chippy says:

    That’s not for this post but has been covered in many other posts. You’ll have to trust my judgement that if full web is important, Android is not the best option. In fact, for multi-tab, multitasking, only some of the very latest platforms are even powerful enough.

  11. alana says:

    Totally agree that iOS, Android and all the other mobile OS’s just don’t provide enough compatibility for a full internet experience. Ya, you could wait for apps that may or may not come out but even then, to make them touch friendly they’re severely dumbed down or require too many swipes, taps and pinching compared to a few mouse clicks on a desktop OS.

  12. Chippy says:

    I agree. It was is an out-there option that might work with the tailored Opera Mobile that’s included.

  13. Chippy says:

    The ac100 is in there as a sub $200 option that will need to be tested out before purchase. The Transformer is high-risk at $600 and at that price isn’t worth the risk when full web is important.

  14. drnannlp says:

    Samsung Q1UP?

    hmm hmm

    ok 3 yrs old now but

    7″ screeen – so stays in a bag
    Full internet experience
    2 days battery – if you can use for 2hrs/day hehehe
    cost – sub $500 on ebay

    ok ok sorry about getting the Q1UP in again every post of mine and am rreally surprised that no company has put in an effort to improvee such a well rounded device

  15. sophocha says:

    I don`t know about you but I have (and had for 2 years now) the full internet experience in my pocket.It`s called the N900!

  16. Chippy says:

    in my opinion, not quite powerful enough for serious work and a small screen. Customer requires solutions with no zoom/pan.

  17. sophocha says:

    you would be surprised of how powerful it is overclocked at 1150.i agree with you on the screen size but we cant have everything can we?its portability and the openess of the device are its strong points.

  18. Eric says:

    What about the (not yet available) Samsung Series 7? If it is ever launched, that is…

  19. Chippy says:

    I was thinking about that one, yes. At the moment I don’t have any indication when it is coming. Sept is likely (IFA Berlin) but at that point it becomes relevant.

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