2010-12-22

The Sylvania Net-Booklet; a Review

A friend of mine just purchased a Sylvania net-booklet and asked me to review the computer while they went to work. Upon their return from work, I am to give my friend a run down of my thoughts regarding the machine.

The Good

  • Cheap: about $100
  • Good battery life thanks to an ARM processor
  • Very light and small

The Bad

  • 128 Megs of RAM: don't expect to run more than one application at once
  • 400MHz processor: don't expect to run those applications at a decent speed

The Ugly

  • Windows CE: don't expect any decent or usable application

The Super Fugly

  • Windows CE uses Internet Explorer 6: obviously Sylvania hates their customers

What my friend wanted

My friend has very specific needs/wants when it comes to a netbook. It must be small and light, it must be able to browse the web, access web based-email and allow for the viewing of videos and be able to play music. On all of these counts the device fails miserably. Trying to access Flash video or a javascript heavy page (like http://gmail.com) wasn't really possible due to the software limitations. Similarly, the sloppily added wireless configuration software was not very user-friendly and was much more difficult to use than it needed to be.

Dear Sylvania, If you want to market and sell a device that is supposed to access the internet, put a fucking standard compliant browser on the device so that the purchasers can actually view websites. Seriously, you are trying to sell a web browsing device with a web browser that every web developer absolutely hates. Are you purposely trying to ruin your business?

Who the hell puts Internet Explorer 6 on a new device? Whoever thought Windows CE and Internet Explorer 6 would be a good combination for this device should be punched in the mouth. repeatedly.

In a nutshell; this device is underpowered, runs an outdated operating system with one of the worst browsers ever made, and will never do a decent job of browsing the web.
Do not buy this device. If you have already bought this device and it is currently wrapped-up and under a tree, steal it back and return it to the retailer for a refund. Just in case you missed it the first time - do not buy this device.

My advice to my friend: It's a good thing you kept the receipt, this thing is going back as soon as possible.

Happy Holidays.

Comments
2010-12-23 Mary Pauline M:
Thank you for this review!
I actually saw these just two
days ago on the shelf behind
a major toy retailer check out and was thinking of going back to take a closer look as the lines were horrible at the time I was there. I love
gadgets but I'm going to take your advice and move on!
Happy Holidays!
2010-12-26 timttmy:
I reckon this machine needs the _real_ jezra test, but then it's probably a more effective message to send that POS back to the hole from were it came.
2011-01-06 Nicholas:
Good advise but.... can you recommend an alternative?
2011-02-22 Katia:
How does it run MS word? Or sql? Will it run on Linux? :)

Looks a it crappy, but I like tiny laptops. Might as well opt for a 8" next time.

AND LUL FOR THE MATH CAPTCHA. :D
2011-02-22 jezra:
It has Windows CE on it; so it doesn't really "run" anything
2011-07-20 Anonymous:
Sylvania actually didn't "put" Internet explorer 6 there, it is part of the OS, Windows CE is intended to be a very minimal system for embedded devices, so having internet explorer 6 as rendering engine for say.. a soda dispenser.. is more than neat, I don't know if there are other browsers ported to the system, there is indeed a lot of software for Windows CE buy most of it is aimed for specific embedded tasks.
2011-07-20 jezra:
Anonymous, There are free operating systems, with modern standard compliant browser, that Sylvania could have put on the device. Instead, Sylvania chose to put an outdated substandard operating system on the device, so I will say that Sylvania "put" IE in there.
2011-07-26 Anonymous:
The OS is not outdated but it is aimed for other minimal uses, it has an ARM kind of processor so it is more like a phone with a big screen than other thing, only special and minimal builds of linux would work, I've seen some guy running gOS although I think only a subset, also Android, but obviously if it doesn't have touchscreen capabilities there will be a lot of inconsistencies in the way it works. I guess they went for the windows feeling on purpose tough
2011-07-26 jezra:
The OS has a non-upgradable outdated browser. Since we are talking about a device intended solely for internet browsing, I would say that makes the OS outdated as well.
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