Gadget Dad likes to be able to keep up with the world on the go, and has been trying out the Ubisurfer from Datawind. So what did he think?
First thing I have to say about the Ubisurfer is how ridiculously small it is. To give you an idea, imagine an old Video cassette box, then slice it in half. That's how tiny this is. And due to the size I wasn't sure how good it would be, as I didn't think it could have much power or a long battery life.
Well, the battery is much better than my full size laptop, I managed to charge it overnight, and take it across the country to Dorset. Whilst there, I charged my phone off it. All in all, we were there for 3 days, and I'd charged it the day before leaving. So it lasted 4 days before it ran out, and considering it was used all over the 3 days and to charge a 3G phone, I think that's pretty impressive.
The screen is just 7 inches in size, and I did need my specs to see icons when surfing the net. The screen resolution whilst surfing can be a bit low, so some colours, for instance multi coloured backgrounds on Twitter, can be a bit distorted.
It comes with the Internet, the 3G kind, free for 30 hours per month, which is good for low usage. It can also connect via wireless, so you can "piggy back" off your own net connection. There is the option of paying £79.99 for unlimited internet, but depending how often you will use the Ubisurfer this is really a matter of choice per the user. Its also reasonable as rather than counting down via Downloads, its hours of use, and this works out much more economical.
The Netbook has 1GB of memory- which is small, however, you do have a USB port in the back, so obviously important documents can be transferred to a External Hard drive. Also, there is a 50GB memory storage included online.
Obviously its not purpose built for gaming or entertainment on the move, due to the lack of drives of any kind, and with the screen being so small I think playing any kind of platform game would be a nightmare, but there is a media player, and the speakers are quite impressive for a tiny netbook.
It also comes with Microsoft Office type software built in, and these work well on the machine and I found these the most useful item.
Now, onto the net connection itself!
As it connects via WIFI, LAN or GPRS, its very much akin to a modern net enable phone. It can be hit and miss, and we found whilst sat in a field in Dorset it wasn't able to connect as regularly as it does whilst we are at home, but that's to be expected, as obviously there aren't as many hotspots to connect to.
Its not quite as fast when connected as say a Broadband connection, but again, that isn't a great surprise either. It does quite simply what one would expect it to- for constant net access, you use your home PC. For on the go net connection and sharing of information, then this is passable. And obviously as the WIFI networks increase across the country, the connection will improve as a result.
Priced at £129.99, its very cheap and cheerful, and worth the price. I would recommend this for a student, as the utilities are great for those important pieces of course work or taking notes, and the net is reasonable with 30 hours a month free net, which unless they have it on constantly should be sufficient.