By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Review] Sharp Netwalker PC-T1, the ultimate Linux handheld or just another gadget?
Last year, Sharp introduced a new kind of ultra compact PC on the market, the Netwalker PC-Z1. Stuck between a PDA and a Netbook, the Netwalker PC-Z1 is coming from Sharp’s long line of amazing compact handheld devices that have been only available in Japan and discontinued a while ago… The Zaurus.
Running Ubuntu the PC-Z1 was quite an amazing PDA rather than an impressive Netbook, but still Sharp made something that a lot of us have been expecting, a real Linux handheld.
Confident with their first success, Sharp decided that it was time to go beyond the conventional “Notebook” design and to start offering a real Linux-powered handheld slate, known now as the Netwalker PC-T1.
- i.MX515 Freescale CPU @ 800MHz
- 5” WSVGA (1024 x 600) touchscreen
- 512MB of Ram and 8GB of Internal Memory
- Wi-Fi B/G
- MiscroSDHC Cards support up to 16Gb
- 150 x 90 x 18 – 21.3 mm
Unlike the PC-Z1, the PC-T1 does not strike us at first as to be extremely well-built. Well, let me rephrase this, yes, the PC-T1 is a solid piece of hardware and feels just fine once in your hands. It feels strong and absolutely nothing like most of other made-in-China MIDs running on Android, for example. But compared to the PC-Z1, the PC-T1 comes rather with an unimpressive glossy plastic, while the PC-Z1 features a nice quality matte one.
For sure this is mainly a question of taste, and we are sure that for many of you the PC-Z1 plastic will do just fine, but, well, we needed an excuse to find a bad point here, and to be honest with you, the PC-Z1 is in fact just fine for us as well as it is.
Being a touch-capable slate, at first it strikes us as odd not to not find a stylus, sure Sharp made a tweaked Ubuntu to get a better and friendlier UI, but our finger just could not do the trick… It is just after checking in our PC-T1 box that we found an “over-sized” DSi XL-like stylus, perfect enough to play with our PC-T1′s touch panel but amazingly annoying to carry around since the PC-T1 does not come with the adequate silo to store it. Anyway, rest assured that as on the PC-Z1, the PC-T1 comes with a dedicated optical mouse pad and its obvious left & right click.
Featuring the exact same CPU, Screen and resolution with the PC-Z1, the PC-T1 performs just as well or as bad as its older brother depending on your opinion on this matter. Once you have understood the limitation of our PC-T1, we believe that here as well our little Handlhed is just an impressive device going far beyond what we have been used to have with Sharp’s old Zaurus or with our average MID.
Coming with a USB Host and another USB port you can actually plug almost whatever you want to it ranging from the obvious external mouse and keyboard combo, to a 3G USB Modem, a GPS, your Camera, a printer, an external HDD and even a DVD recorder. Want to plug more stuff, well, just use our PC-T1′s Bluetooth module and you will get the prefect, always ready little computer you’ve always dreamed of.
Installed with all the usual Ubuntu 9.X software, you will have a real Firefox browser (Flash runs just fine), a real Office suite with Open Office, a real mail client, IM service… and whatever Ubuntu can run… from the usual Linux terminal and Gimp to the Video player.
Granted the PC-T1 will never be able to handle properly RAW pictures taken with your camera, but it will however, be just enough for your average Point & Shoot JPEGs. Wanna watch a DivX? Well, just kick-out the PC-T1 video player and voila, it will work just fine and actually just as well as Sony’s latest Vaio P.
We really like the PC-Z1, but the PC-T1 is so far our favorite and this despite the fact that it could have used better plastics. It comes with only 8GB of memory, but you can still boost this up with a memory card.
All things considered, the PC-T1 is a nice addition to a smartphone for someone who wants to get simple things done on-the go and feel too limited with a Smartphone and does not want to carry a bulky netbook… So if you really want to know, for us the PC-T1 is truly a must-have!