Liliputing NorhTec Gecko Edubook netbook giveaway

We’re digging deep into the vault for the next entry in the Liliputing 2012 Holiday Giveaway. The NorhTec Gecko Edubook is a netbook with an 8.9 inch display, a low power keyboard and a nifty trick up its sleeve: It runs on AA batteries.

That makes it easy to replace the batteries if they die without relying on a proprietary battery. In fact, the whole laptop was designed to modular and easy to replace. You can pop out the CPU module and replace or upgrade it, or unplug the WiFi dongle tucked away in the case and swap it out for any other USB peripherals that you can fit in there.

Norhtec Gecko Edubook

NorhTec sent me a demo unit to test a few years ago, and I hung onto it for a while to see if the company ever got around to releasing a CPU upgrade. Since that never happened, I figure it’s time to clear the Edubook off my desk and send it to a Liliputing reader.

To enter this contest, please read the rules below. But first, let’s talk about what you’re trying to win.

About the Edubook

The Edubook has a 1024 x 600 pixel display and can use an internal SD card or 2.5 inch hard drive for storage. It has a relativelytiny touchpad and keyboard, but features a good range of input and output ports including 3 USB ports, Ethernet, VGA, and mic and audio jacks.

The netbook has a 1 GHz Xcore86 processor that uses just 1.2 watts of power. I’ve tested this laptop with Windows XP, WattOS Linux, and Puppy Linux. While it can run Windows, it feels pretty sluggish. It runs much better with Puppy or other light-weight Linux operating systems optimized for low-end hardware.

You can find support for NorhTec’s Xcore86 products at the DeviceOnChip website, including details on supported operating systems and drivers in the forums.

This particular unit comes with 3 different 8GB SD cards. One has Windows XP preloaded (but no activation key), one has WattOS (if I remember correctly), and the other has Puppy Linux.

While Windows XP might be more versatile for many users, Puppy is blazing fast on this netbook, while Windows is… freezing slow? I don’t know, what’s the opposite of blazing fast? Either way, Windows is kind of painful to use on this little computer but Puppy runs quite nicely.

Adding a hard drive might help a bit… the 8GB SD card Windows is running from has pretty low read and write speeds.

You should also be able to install almost any operating system you like. This contest is aimed at folks who are willing to tinker a bit.

The demo unit I’m giving away came with 8 rechargeable Ni-MH AA batteries… but apparently they died sometime in the last few years. The laptop still runs fine when plugged in, but you may need to supply your own batteries if you want to use it on the go.

How to win: Leave a comment by 5:00AM Eastern, 12/10/2012

This contest is only open to residents of the continental US. International shipping is expensive, so if you’re not in the US, you might want to wait until we’re ready to give away the MK802 III which comes in a small box and which we can afford to ship.

If you are in the States, just leave a comment before 5:00AM Eastern time, December 10th, 2012 and make sure you’re cool with the following:

  • Please leave only one comment. If you leave more than one, all of your entries get thrown out.
  • One winner will be randomly chosen from all valid entries.
  • You have 48 hours to respond after you receive notification that you’ve won. If I don’t hear back by then, I’ll pick another winner.
  • If you’ve won anything else from Liliputing in the past 30 days, please don’t enter again… we’ll just toss out your entry.
  • Writers for Liliputing, as well as their friend and family members are prohibited from winning.

Please make sure we have a way to contact you. If you login to leave a comment with your email address, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, that should do the trick.

Thanks again to NorhTec for providing us with this demo unit, and for agreeing to give it away to as part of our 2012 Holiday Giveaway!

  • Jeremiah

    Let’s do this thang!

  • Jason Wilkins

    This is a comment.

  • Rob Roberts

    Yes please thank you!

  • Eric Busse

    In for one… Thanks!

  • Clive Chang

    I see lots of costco packs of batteries in my future!

  • Kyle Platt

    Such a novel computer, really want to play with it.

  • Nahie

    Sure why not.

  • Jacek Bajor

    I am in

  • markntravis

    I like tinkering.

  • Matthew Carlino

    As it turns out they did in fact release a upgrade module. It was a little over a year ago iirc.

  • Nathan Schlehlein

    Hot dog.

  • Naoyuki Murakoshi

    Nice Gecko!

  • Sam Scholten

    I have GOT to try this out!

  • john

    Like the common battery solution – saves the day in out of the way places.

  • cy1clown

    Add me to the list. So retro.

  • w5t1h7

    This is so awesome! count me in

  • Shawne Beeson

    They should do this with more computers

  • Doug Fiedor

    Looks like fun to play with.

  • jb82

    Blast from the past

  • Matrim1170

    add me to the drawing

  • anon

    This unit would be great to have for our non-profit to use for accounting. Did it have the XP OS on it that comes with it too? There should be a new CPU out in the early part of next year… don’t know if that release will be plug-in-compatible with this older unit?

  • john4228

    I always learn something new when I tinker.

  • Чубака Иванович

    I’m not an american, so I hate you all :)

  • Xin Wang

    I’m in.

  • Apple Orange

    Looks like a fun toy!

  • Chris Jones

    Im in..

  • DancesWithRobots

    OK. Here I am. Batteries? Hmm. . .

  • John Ruschmeyer

    I love oddball quirky computers… I want this!

  • Richard Allison

    I’m in.

  • Bradley Gillett

    yes please

  • Sleerts

    Please! 😉

  • djm

    This would be fun to tinker with!

  • rub

    very cool with the aa

  • Katie Firth

    The AA batteries seem like they may be more cumbersome than helpful.

  • Walter_Maxman

    You can count me in.

  • Mike Labrow

    Wow, I remember when you reviewed that thing originally.

  • The One

    Looks like a fun challenge. Count me in. Thanks.

  • Bill Smith

    Please count me in.

  • Mark Holder

    This is a device I find intriguing. Count me in!

  • crashsuit

    Neat! I had an old Apple 1400cs I converted to run off rechargeable AA batteries. Too bad about the lack of CPU upgrades.

  • jacob019

    A laptop that runs on AA batteries, YES PLEASE!!! I will load slitaz and use it every day.

  • Brett Peugh

    Count me in please.

  • Jonathan Urbanus

    sure, why not

  • Julien Ouy

    hello, please santa !

  • srirams

    I want to win!

  • 1wenter1

    would love to win it :)

  • Alan L. Hanson

    This would be a nice way to check out Linux distributions.

  • KatieK

    My first tinkering was with a Commodore 64 – that’s 64K for non-history buffs – so playing with any minicomputer would be a blast. Retiring after a career stuck with Microsoft, it would be fun to play with any other OS.,,

  • Tifany Oslin

    Oooo that would be fun to play with!

  • George

    Wow, for once, a laptop that doesn’t rely on proprietary batteries. They should build more of these.

  • web

    that computer would certaintly fun to tinker with, if it does not work out i will donate it to one of my customers kids who would need it more than me for xmas or new years

  • Coach B

    Huh, interesting

  • Michael Thom

    I wonder if rechargeable AAs work with this..

  • G Lowe

    Sounds alright

  • Mark

    Very cool!

  • ILikeAndroid

    This sounds like a fun tinkerer laptop.

  • Adam Ruining

    Funny enough, I’ve got a spare 40gb laptop drive laying around I could pop in, get a decent Linux flavor up and running, and then donate to my local community center.

  • Jason Lassourreille

    This is one of the most quirky laptops I have seen in a while. should be a blast to mess with!

  • JR

    This would be a great machine for a low budget college student I am related to. Put me on the giveaway list please. :)

  • David Fierbaugh

    Love the stock batteries and hack-ability. Would love to see this under the Xmas tree.

  • omar b

    Id love this little netbook

  • Cedric Rose

    Very cool. Love the “modularity” and battery option.

  • otis

    Which way to the beach.

  • Phissith Ottha-Hekenon

    This thing will strike up conversation, I like it. It has a cheap cool factor to it. Let me win!!

  • Guest

    Always had my eye on this little guy. Too bad they never developed it into a viable product.

  • Joel Adams

    My 5th grader uses Google Docs at school. This would be a fine machine for him to do his work at home. Maybe ChromeOS will work on this box.

  • Jake Parker

    I kept waiting for an improved version of this unit to enter the scene, since I love the idea of using AA batteries for power.

  • Cassidy Nicholson

    What an interesting device. I could let my kids use this for learning.

  • Manuel Arguelles

    would love to win it

  • Jason Emerton


  • Benjamin Ortiz

    This looks perfect for tinkering. Then I can pass my current tester on to my wife or son…

  • gwmckee

    Cool idea. Shame they abandoned it.

  • drjayphd

    Ah, what the hell. I’m in too.

  • Adrian

    I would love to have to take along to Ghana where it would be very useful if there is a power shortage.

  • Onyros

    Bring on the Norhtec :)

  • Ermete

    That’s quite a reliable piece of notebook. It qould be great to have it. P.s. i’ll pay shipping cost!

  • strider_mt2k

    So cool!
    That looks like a ton of fun to tinker with!

  • Morty

    count me in

  • nate edwards

    This is a sweet giveaway.

  • Connoed

    Please enter me in the give away. Retired on social security this hits my target price point – free

  • Howard Truesdell

    I think Robots stole my luggage…..

  • Kyle

    Thanks for the give aways :-)

  • Carlos Vargas

    I’ve never wanted something so bad as this unit, count me in!

  • cirruscfi

    Looks interesting to me!

  • Goran

    Well, here it goes…

  • David Li

    computer running on AA batteries, so cool

  • ron k

    me me please.thank you.

  • John Keating

    Neat idea with the AA batteries, but what does that puppy weigh?
    Do they still make tham and what is the price point?

  • Lisa Violet

    It’s so cute! I’d love to have one.

  • Clair G

    It runs on batteries? I have those!

  • JMBadger

    Looks cool.

  • Dr. D

    Another one for Ghana

  • Steven Baumann

    Cool, Count me in.
    Might get one even if I don’t win.

  • Scott Dunn

    It’s like the matrix

  • Wm Armbruster

    I, too, thought the battery idea was great, the modularity even better – but only if they would issues new modules. Time has show that they don’t. Too bad. I’ll give it to the neighbor kids. (if I win, which I doubt.)

  • MikeB

    Would love to take it for a spin, count me in!

  • rom

    weight of this unit?

  • Omkar

    Count me in for this…. I am keeping my fingers crossed for this. :-)

  • Paxq


  • Harry

    Wow! First time to read a computer that runs on AA batteries. I could finally have a dedicated Internet computer with this device.

  • Joseph Procopio

    Neat. Count me in.

  • Dennis J Holland

    Please pick me!! thanks

  • Shawn

    Very cool

  • Phu Tran

    Haha omg.

  • Greg Schultz


  • eldon

    looked quit cool!! want one…

  • Jamie

    Would make me a very happy camper!

  • Chris Lee

    Great for camping!

  • Leonid Tsoi

    Count me in

  • Craig Cunningham

    I would love this!!! Puppy Linux rocks and who wouldn’t want a netbook that doesn’t require a proprietary battery. Send it my way…

  • Andrew Santos

    Count me in

  • Matt Continisio

    I’m in.

  • Steve DeNeefe

    wow… that is an interesting little device.

  • Timmymac

    This looks like a very cool retro laptop for light use!

  • cben

    Yes that looks like fun. Better get a dozen recahargeables.

  • Adam

    Very cool

  • jon

    get at me!

  • James Brown

    Go ahead make my day!!

  • Scoomer

    Awesome review thanks for all the photos. I would la la LOVE to win!!

  • Mike P

    Looks cool

  • Serhat Orbay

    cool netbook with AA batteries

  • Alex Pawlowski

    Looks super cool!

  • sheepfish1

    I’ll take it!

  • Crumwell

    Can u believe a 72 yr old wud like to have it?

  • Adrian Fita

    I’m in, I hope I win.

  • UIW

    This could help me out alot where I go.

  • Aaron Nash

    I can find a great use for this!

  • c-los

    Merry x-mas I would love to have this under my tree

  • mjdinsmore

    I bet the batteries make it weigh a heck of a lot more!

  • Graffer

    The NorhTec Gecko Edubook would solve all my problems – Tiny Tim Cratchet

  • Jeffery Lenz

    Here’s hoping

  • Not A Chance

    Looks like it should be given away…with all of our technology, one would want more than AA.

  • ARXD

    Can it run Ubuntu?

  • Hopeful

    This would make my Christmas.

  • Szilárd Németh


  • MonkeyKing1969

    I’d be the only person on my block with one… that’s for sure.

  • tweetyscute

    This would be so awesome to have

  • David Brink


  • Danny O.


  • jimscraft

    Definitely a very interesting netbook. I’ve been trying to find a laptop or notebook with Linux, but have wanted something that was inexpensive, like the NorhTec Gecko Edubook.

  • Doris

    Please, count me in!

  • Eric

    Cool to win this! And your review was very thorough.

  • LuVx143

    amazing giveaway! thanks for the chance!

  • KC Kim

    I would love to try Puppy Linux on this netbook.

  • Brit Mansir

    Have enjoyed following the posts for quite a while now, thanks.

  • jamesfk

    Here’s to winning!

  • josh rose

    like i said i can never win any thing but here I try again,,,tnx for the opportunity

  • Robert Schaefer

    Better stock up on batteries!

  • chris615x

    It would be nice to win once, just so I can find out if I’m entering the drawing correctly.

  • charting

    That reminds me — I need to buy more AA batteries, anyway!
    This looks useful for the kids. Has anyone looked for these on eBay?

  • teejaycard

    Hello hello hello!

  • Paul David Olson

    Fingers crossed.

  • frank

    I want one

  • jbzorg

    I would love to have this one—reminds me of my old Dell Mini 9. That had a lot of snap-in replacement capabilities as well.

  • sarath Vejandla

    Hi…I will Win this Give Away….

  • finkbinder

    I like it!

  • Robert Kim

    haha WINRAR

  • mike

    nice little machine. 8 batteries is too environmentally unfriendly though

  • ahumansomewhere

    It’s a shame they never released a replacement CPU module – I thought that was a brilliant idea.

  • Seth Burrows

    All those AA batteries are giving me bad Game Gear flashbacks.

  • Gary Smith

    Looks like what I need

  • james1221x

    I’m gonna win this one I can feel it.

  • Darryl Sims

    This seems amazing, i’d love to throw android on it and just have a little net book…

  • luis

    I want!;!

  • Jerry Minor

    I will date myself here, but my TRS-80 Model 100 was a great machine mainly due to the fact that AA battery use meant that I never had to find a place to plug it in. Since most disaster scene logistics officers ensure that pallets of AA batteries are available, having this machine would ensure that I can continue to communicate even if there is no AC power.

  • Bill Woeppel

    That is a fascinating machine. I’ve wondered why they didn’t standardize on replaceable batteries by now. Even if AA batteries are lower voltage, they’re smaller than the usual 18650 cells that are used in most run of the mill laptops. Great little machine for Linux, I’d love to see first hand how it manages with Debian instead of Puppy.

  • Sefu Fuller

    count me in.

  • Cappydog

    I love puppy linux…this would great to have. This little guy looks and reads very interesting..Count me in

  • houseoftrash

    OMG, “stylishly geeky”? AA batteries?? It’s adorable. yes please…

  • Wakawaka8

    I love the batteries!

  • rpjacobs

    Me too.

  • dr. burro

    Another great gift for the kiddo

  • patrick171x

    I would like to try this.

  • Wayne

    Hello! I love this, and tried to get one at one point (but NorhTec was out of stock at the time). Amazing that now I might have another chance!

  • Andrew Hughes

    this would come in handy to configure servers and switches

  • John

    I would give this PC a loving home – ideal for my struggling home business. I cannot afford to upgrade from my 10 year old laptop.