By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Review] Netwalker, Sharp’s 2009 Zaurus.
A long long time ago, well actually several years ago, Sharp had produced an amazing compact PDA running Linux, the Zaurus… Only sold in Japan and to a few geeks, the Zaurus did not change much and quickly became obsolete and then discontinued last December.
- i.MX515 Freescale CPU @ 800MHz
- 5” WSVGA (1024◊600) touchscreen
- 512MB of Ram and 4GB of Internal Memory
- Wi-Fi B/G
- MiscroSDHC Cards support up to 16Gb
- 161.4 x 108.7 x 19.7 ~ 24.8 mm
Say whatever you want about this new Netwalker from Sharp but our little MID (or whatever it is you prefer to call it), is an amazingly well built piece of hardware.
Despite being completely made of plastic with a glossy lid, our Netwalker does not look cheap and actually it feels like Sharp spent a lot of time and paid much attention to details in order to propose a product that would be as well-built and solid as any other “real” notebook.
Despite being small and being capable of literally fitting in your jeans’ pocket (See gallery), the Netwalker features a fully capable and usable QWERTY keyboard.
Now this said, you may not fell as comfortable typing on the Netwalker as you would on a 15” Notebook, but still for what this product is intended to, the keyboard is usable and can even let you type with your 2 thumbs while carrying it walking down the street.
Let’s be straight with you guys from the start, nope, the Netwalker is not a Netbook and I cannot even consider it as a “portable computer” and despite its shiny Ubuntu OS and its Netbook/Notebook design, the Netwalker is rather just a “Next Gen” Zaurus more than anything else!!
Once you get this, you will quickly understand what the Netwalker is capable of and what you can do with it.
Running a fully-fledged Ubuntu OS is an amazing step forward compared to the Zaurus, and basically you will be able to run (smoothly or not) almost any application made for Ubuntu and that can support your CPU.
If you happen to be very familiar with this OS then you are in luck and will quickly get the most of it, however, if you are not, like most of Sharp’s potential customers, it will maybe give you some trouble in the beginning just to install apps, but this is basically the very same problem that many first Linux users may face so nothing to worry about too much.
With this in mind, and in order to make things easier for first time users, Sharp developed its own UI on top of Ubuntu allowing you quick access to the basic software including E-mail, Web Browser, Twitter, Word Processing and so on,. Elegantly made, this UI is in fact quite useful and will give you quick access to what you need.
Now if you do not feel comfortable with what Sharp is offering you and think that another OS will be more suitable, well just go for it. The Netwalker is a Linux device and you can always tweak it at will.
When it comes to performances, it is pretty much like I said earlier, the Netwalker is a Next Gen Zaurus and will not give you the fastest experience ever… But… and there is a But, it will do accurately pretty much everything that it has been intended to do, and surfing the web is quite pleasant, as well as writing mails, chatting on Twitter and so on… No, really this little Netwalker just does exactly what it was made for and I kind of like it the way it is.
This said, a lot of people who have tested the Netwalker complained about its “useless” trackpad and how difficult it is to use it… I kind of agreed with them When I first had this baby in hands, but after a while you start to get used to it and pretty much do whatever you want with it. And also let me remind you that our Netwalker features a touchscreen, allowing you to bypass any limitations that its touchpad may give you, so in the end of the day you do not have too much to worry about here since there will always be a way for you to get what you want.
Compact, with a descent battery life and solid, the Netwalker is a great alternative for anyone searching for a “powerful PDA” and do not want to get a bulky Netbook. Still you can argue that the Netwalker is as expensive as an Atom Netbook, but at least the Netwalker can really fit into your pocket and be carried around without even feeling its presence !