Intel Classmate PC With a Facelift

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Intel’s Classmate PC , which is intended for students to use in classrooms, has recently got a facelift. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) , that designs and manufacturers PCs and laptops for manufacturers worldwide, showcased the latest model at Computex 2010, the E10IS Classmate PC.

This one looks slick; hence more attractive than the previous Classmate touchscreen PC we’ve tested. The model we tested was the Connoi SmartBook ST10160 , which was actually a tablet version of the Classmate PC. Before we discuss it, let’s take a look at the newbie.

The E10IS model of Classmate PC is not a tablet version, but a standard netbook -like machine with hinges on either side. So that’s the biggest difference (in comparison with the Connoi SmartBook) apart from looks and design. Also, this one weighs about 1.56 kg, which is still acceptable, considering that it is partly rubberized and boasts excellent built quality. If you notice in the picture, it can be carried around like a briefcase using the handle that juts out. So the main distinguishing factor, apart from not being a tablet PC, is the design, which is much better ergonomically and aesthetically. Also, additional features include shock protection for the hard drive (G-sensor) and support for SSD.

Other features and hardware are common. Even this model is powered by Intel’s latest single core Atom, the N450, supports Windows 7 and XP, and has 1 GB RAM. It is available in 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch form factors with a screen resolution of 1024 x 600. We’re anticipating that this new model will be much cheaper mainly because it does not have a tablet design with a resistive touch screen. Speaking of which let’s see what the previous Classmate PC offers.
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Connoi SmartBook ST10160
The SmartBook, which is also built to the specifications of Intel’s Classmate PC, is a tablet netbook with a resistive touchscreen. The lid rotates to flip and lay face-up so you can use the housed stylus on the screen. But, this one is quite bulky and weighs about 1.64 kg (heavy for a netbook). But again, it boasts rock-solid build quality, there’s no doubt about that.

What’s slightly confusing is that, on one hand, this machine is touted as a portable PC for students, and on the other hand, it weighs almost as much as a 13-inch laptop. Nevertheless, since its exterior is generously coated with rubber, shocks are less likely to damage the unit and also, injuries can be avoided, incase younger children use it. Now, how well a child with a computer in the classroom can concentrate on what his teacher says, is a different story altogether.

Onward, the SmartBook too has a handle, but it’s a retractable and rubberized one, which is different from what the new model of Classmate has. In terms of aesthetics, this one really did not impress us, mainly because it’s bulky and the light-blue rubber surface attracts dust. Also, a netbook user would find this machine to be really kiddish.

Side note: There’s no denying that, even the new model looks kiddish, but it looks attractive. Nonetheless, a grownup who is likely to want a stylish netbook will not like the design of either of these machines.

In terms of features, the SmartBook is powered by an Intel Atom N450 processor, has a 250 GB hard drive, optional mobile broadband and GPS, and has a built-in application called Blue Dolphin. Our guess is that, even the ECS E10IS would have it. Blue Dolphin displays large icons on the screen which target various applications in the PC. The screen-size is 10.1-inch and the native resolution is 1024 x 600. Now since this model has a resistive touchscreen, students can use the stylus or their finger-touch to execute any program they want.

In terms of performance, little is different from other netbooks, not that it would matter to students, as they’d require it for basic computing. Overall, we’d say that it’s a great piece of hardware (except for the looks part), but, we’re doubting as to how well it will do with a price tag of Rs 24,500. But if want your child to learn computers quicker, this will be a nice, but expensive, toy to gift him.

We are yet to receive an update on the pricing of the E10IS Classmate PC which was showcased at Computex 2010.

Specifications: Connoi SmartBook ST10160

  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 268 x 45 x 213 mm
  • Weight: 1.64 Kg
  • Processor: Intel Atom N450, 1.66 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 250 GB
  • Screen size: 10.1-inch
  • Connectivity: 10/100 Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth

Published Date: Jun 14, 2010 08:23 am | Updated Date: Jun 14, 2010 08:23 am