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> Zaurus Never Die, Leaving the Netwalker
Jiba
post Feb 13 2010, 08:34 AM
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After 3 months on the Netwalker, I'm giving it up and I'm returning to the old Zaurus.

The two major reasons are that the Netwalker has a very bad keyboard (compared to the very good Zaurus one), and that the Netwalker standy autonomy is pretty ridiculous : about 5 days (and obviously less if you use the Netwalker !). By comparison, the Zaurus standby autonomy was more that a month.

Short standby autonomy can be considered as "normal" for cell phone, since the phone must power its antenna even when being in standby. But for a mobile computer ? Even my 4-year-old basic cell phone still has more than 10 days of standby autonomy !

In addition, the Netwalker is bigger and heavier. Although it has no mobile parts, it is noisy and emits a little "bzzz", even in standby. It has an inaccurate touchscreen, with unreliable double clicks. It uses specific power connector, and thus I was unable to connect it to my solar panel.

FInally, the software procided by Sharp are not optimized, in term of user interface, but also of optimization. All graphical operation (excepted video) are performed in software mode, since no driver are provided. Consequently, the Netwalker seems as slow as the Zaurus. For instance, the calendar program provided on the Netwalker (Mozilla Sunbird) is incredibly slow, MUCH slower than the Zaurus calendar.

Conclusion : the Netwalker is good for video and surfing (without typing), but the Zaurus is still better for everything else : taking notes, playing games, coding, agenda and addressbook... But I don't like video, and I not so dependent to Internet that I cannot wait until being at home for that. So the choice is easy !

Good luck for people that are still enduring the Netwalker.
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merlin1
post Feb 20 2010, 02:21 AM
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QUOTE(Jiba @ Feb 13 2010, 05:34 PM) *
After 3 months on the Netwalker, I'm giving it up and I'm returning to the old Zaurus.

The two major reasons are that the Netwalker has a very bad keyboard (compared to the very good Zaurus one), and that the Netwalker standy autonomy is pretty ridiculous : about 5 days (and obviously less if you use the Netwalker !). By comparison, the Zaurus standby autonomy was more that a month.

Short standby autonomy can be considered as "normal" for cell phone, since the phone must power its antenna even when being in standby. But for a mobile computer ? Even my 4-year-old basic cell phone still has more than 10 days of standby autonomy !

In addition, the Netwalker is bigger and heavier. Although it has no mobile parts, it is noisy and emits a little "bzzz", even in standby. It has an inaccurate touchscreen, with unreliable double clicks. It uses specific power connector, and thus I was unable to connect it to my solar panel.

FInally, the software procided by Sharp are not optimized, in term of user interface, but also of optimization. All graphical operation (excepted video) are performed in software mode, since no driver are provided. Consequently, the Netwalker seems as slow as the Zaurus. For instance, the calendar program provided on the Netwalker (Mozilla Sunbird) is incredibly slow, MUCH slower than the Zaurus calendar.

Conclusion : the Netwalker is good for video and surfing (without typing), but the Zaurus is still better for everything else : taking notes, playing games, coding, agenda and addressbook... But I don't like video, and I not so dependent to Internet that I cannot wait until being at home for that. So the choice is easy !

Good luck for people that are still enduring the Netwalker.

As ArchiMark said, sorry to hear that. But to each his own and you have to use the machine that meets your needs. If that's the Z then go ahead. smile.gif

As for the points you mention - I partially concur with you on the keyboard. It is weird and takes time to get used to and the more frequently you use it, the better you'll get along with it. At least that was true for me.

The standby time is pretty low, agreed. I recently woke up the device after it had been suspended for two or three days and even though the battery was full when I entered standby, it was very low (16%) after coming out of standby. The Zaurus, cell phones and even some x86 MIDs (Viliv S5, UMID M1, probably others) have much better standby times so there certainly is room for improvement and examples of what can be achieved. Maybe the culprit can be discovered, I suspected the WiFi but as the device disconnects upon standby I don't believe this to be true.

As for the size and weight, again, to each his own. I have no problem with that as it fits in my jacket's pocket still and the larger screen and keyboard make the device easier to work with for me. I never use the touchscreen but have discovered a little inaccuracy as you said. The non-standard power connector is a shame. The Zaurus uses a PSP-compatible connector and a very common input voltage so all of the PSP power accessories can be used with it. I haven't noticed any buzzing it but I know what you mean. Computers supposed to be silent (= inaudible) due to the lack of moving parts are not because of this electronic buzz.

Re: software, I agree. The default "stock" Ubuntu with its Gnome desktop is too heavy for the device, when using LXDE everything feels faster. It's a pity the Netwalker is using the framebuffer device for everything except video instead of a proper graphics driver as that makes all UI operations CPU-bound even though some could be off-loaded to the GPU and decreases performance substantially. I bet the device would become much faster (like 2x) with a proper driver but as of yet there is none I know of. This is noticeable in Sunbird but also in Firefox - scrolling web sites is slow. I haven't tried any games yet, but I have DOSBox installed. Going to give it a try.

Another complaint I have is the slow flash. IIRC read speed is about 10 MB/s, maybe even less, writes are presumably slower. Combined with the heavy software this makes the Netwalker slower than it could have been. Using the fastest microSD card one can get as boot device may improve this.

I mainly use my Netwalker for surfing, trying to avoid Flash if possible, and office work as well as a little coding and this has been going well. Everything else (address book, appointments, notes, gaming, multimedia, ...) is handled by my iPhone. I acknowledge the other issues you've had though.

This post ended up longer than I thought it would, sorry! smile.gif

merlin1
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