The folks at CTL were kind enough to send me a 2Go PC convertible netbook/tablet to play with for the next few days. I’ll have a full review soon, but after playing with the computer for a few hours, I wanted to share a few initial thoughts:
- Con: The keyboard is awfully small and takes some getting used to. This probably isn’t a huge problem for the target audience: children, but if you need a large keyboard this may not be the computer for you.
- Pro: The touchpad, on the other hand, is quite roomy and responsive. The mouse buttons don’t make that nice solid clicking noise I’ve grown used to on other computers, but they’re also quite responsive.
- Pro: Since the speakers are on the display, the audio quality doesn’t suffer when you’re using the netbook in tablet mode. Well, no more than they suffer from being small cheap speakers in the first place.
- Pro: The status LEDs on the side of the display are quite useful, especially the battery meter which actually gives you a rought idea of how much power you have left.
- Con: I have no idea why anyone uses 3 prong adapters for netbooks. Sure, you can get over 5 hours of battery life out of the 2Go PC with a 6 cell battery. But if you do need more than that, it’s often hard to find a place to plug in 3 prong power supplies at coffee shops and libraries.
- Con: While 1024 x 600 pixel displays are usually plenty roomy enough to display web pages, if you rotate the screen for use in tablet mode you wind up with a 600 x 1024 pixel display which means you may have to spend a bit more time scrolling around than you’re used to.
I’m still getting a feel for the preloaded software. The CTL 2Go PC is based on the Intel Classmate PC reference design, and it looks like Intel developed some of the software while CTL chose some other applications to include. The computer ships with Windows XP Home Edition instead of Tablet edition, but it includes a handwriting recognition application and two separate program launchers for use with the touchscreen.
I’ll have a full review in a few days, but if there are any burning questions you have, feel free to ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to either answer them here or in the review.