netwalker pocketables

It’s probably not fair to compare the Sharp NetWalker PC-Z1 with a typical 10 inch netbook. First, the little device has a 5 inch display and tiny keyboard. And second, it uses an 800MHz ARM-based processor instead of the Atom CPU found in most netbooks. But it just looks so much like a tiny laptop that I can’t take my eyes off it. Yesterday Jenn from Pocketables posted some unboxing photos of the NetWalker, and today she’s posted some initial impressions (sort of a pre-review).

Overall, she seems very happy with the build quality. One interesting point is that she finds the touchscreen difficult to use because it’s just so darn sharp. But there’s a built in “optical mouse” that you can use to control a cursor from the keyboard. As for performance, while it takes just 7.5 seconds to launch Firefox, which isn’t that bad, it taks 37 seconds to load OpenOffice.org. Now, OOo is kind of a resource hog, so that’s not entirely surprising. But it’s certainly annoying on a mobile device, especially if you plan to use the NetWalker as a portable note taking device.

Jenn says that the web browsing experience is pretty good though, with pages loading at about the same speed as they would on an iPhone 3GS which has a similar processor. Make sure to check out Jenn’s post for more details.

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6 replies on “Sharp NetWalker PC-Z1 tested: Excellent build quality, somewhat sluggish performance”

  1. I am running Debian Lenny on a SheevaPlug – Marvell´s ARM. Very nice performance, I use Openbox, or Fluxbox to decrease the memory requirements for a desktop. You do not need OpenOffice, Abiword works, great if you want MS Word compatibility, use medit or the equivalent for text based note taking. Chromium-browser, the open source equivalent of Google Chrome, is much faster than Firefox, which is quite the memory hog.

    I am quite interested to see how the PC-Z1 works, but seems pricey and right now, I think, impossible to get in Brasil, where I live.

    In my mind, ARM is the future, once people get over their addiction to Microsoft proprietary application lock-in.

    There are open source alternatives that are equal or better in every regard to Microsoft apps. Only AutoCAD and CorelDraw still need MS OS. Hopefully once they are ported people can move on.

  2. Simply do not close OpenOffice. I’ve just received my Netwalker too, and there is no need to launch OpenOffice (or any other app) each time, since it can sleep very long, and wake up in 1-2 seconds… With 6 apps opened, including OpenOffice and Firefox, it still uses less than 50% of the memory.

  3. If I’m taking notes, the last thing I would be using is OO.o. There are much better journal-type apps to use, that you could move to your primary machine (since this isn’t going to be anyone’s primary machine anyway).

  4. Might be slow due to HD or slow SSD, a RunCore SSD would fix that.

    Also, for full screen the new Kubuntu Netbook would be better to run vs standard Ubuntu (even UNR would be better than standard Ubuntu). Are the netbook versions of Ubuntu and Kubuntu ported to the ARM processors yet?

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