AI TB review pt2
- end and shift swapped (keys work 180° reverse as their label says)
- could have used more space in the vertical direction, the touchpad seems quite large
- layout very meh, cursor keys and rshift way too close
so if you work a lot with the cursorkeys it's not that good and you'll often mishit.
- pgup/dn only via Fn+CursorUp/Dn (grrr!)
- mouse pad has choppy movement of cursor sometimes / doesn't react or reacts with delay
(might be a software issue)
- keys are too small. I don't have the fingers or a hard worker or farmer but they barely fit my fingers.
- detaching and re-attaching the keyboard does not always register/acknowledge the kbd right away that is nasty if you want to type again after detaching the screen
- seems to forget kbd software layout after poweroff.
o there are "windows keys". Of course they don't carry that stupid MS logo but normally I hate these keys. In Windows they did nothing useful in most cases and rather blocked space and were between Ctrl and Alt (wich I use often and then mishit and get the stupid menu open or something). So here you'll have to get used to them (since I don't dare to just break them out of keyboard like I normally do)
o it is US layout, okay since this is a small enterprise I understand that they don't provide localized keyboards. For doing linux bash it's somethimes even better that the German layout but well, if you just want to type a lot (in e.g. German)... But then you can switch the internal (software) layout and use it. (It just seems to forget the keyboard settings after poweroff!) So if you are a "blind" typer you use it soon after like your native one, just some keys are completely switched due to the cramped layout.
+ two ctrl keys which is really nice
+ fn combinations work, of course they have to since it was designed for Linux but compared to any other notebook this is good since often some of these special keys will not work
+ feels okay when typing, of course it's not a legacy IBM or the best of Cherry's kbds but it's fair for a notebook.
+ there is a screen virtual keyboard on the touchscreen (okay this is a must if you sell it without the kbd part), you can pop it up by menu or by a hotkey on the screen's side. Sometimes it pops up by itself (seems when you get some input mask it will automatically pop up) but this is not a too sure thing, might also pop when you don't need it. But that's prolly a matter of software.
Well and at the end you could put your own localized style USB keyboard which might might fit you personal needs better.
As somebody else on linuxjournal noted: it would've been an interesting option to have that kbd have the bluetooth function so you could put the screen there and have the kdb here and then still being able to type.
On the touchpad: it might be that the (whole) device is entering some kinds of sleep states so the delays might be caused by wakeups. I don't know how far you can compare ARM arch with x86 stuff here.
usb ports int/ext, interfaces
Well, normally I like to complain about the lack of interfaces esp. serial PS2 etc. but this one is smaller than most laptops and at least it offers some USBs. External and internal, one of the internals being micro USB and two by default already blocked with WLAN/Buetooth.
(Still my reference is the ECS G320, ultracheapo at its time but a serial, even a parallel, PS/2 key/mouse, VGA out and 4 USBs plus the usual audio.)
As with so many ARM boards there is no further storage interface like SATA or classic IDE, but then there would be no space for this and the controllers would also waster energy for nothing.
(Still for small NAS and the like it would be interesting to have more ARM based things with SATA controllers.)
As in the specs, now they sell it with 512M RAM instead of 256 (okay RAM ain't e real storage).
Storage speed is of course no solid state disc, it's just an everyday (but quick) SD card but that is fully ok (officially it is 6MB/s writing). (By the way: lol @ ipad. Shame on you; proprietary, nothing exchangeable thing.) So if one would like something different you can put your own SD card or a USB memory solution in one of the internal or external USB slots.
So it works okay, unless you do kernel image extracting/compressing or video file writing all day long.
I don't know if that thing has a HW clock but as far as I see after each switch off the clock seems to stop at the last position so it is still January on my device. So basically you can forget the clock.
I mean... the last time I had something like this was either when an internal mainboard battery broke down or in the PC XT (8086) where you had to add your own clock card into an ISA slot.
So either it is not meant to be shut down/switched off or whatever but I rather like to do so. I always switch off my boxes. But the clock then stopping ... phew.
Big minus for me since I orientate myself very often to that clock. ARM or not, a battery buffered clock would've been nice. atm it seems only to remember the last clock state after going off.
Well, it is 1024x600. Okay, that is probably quite ok for such a small device and it allows watching DVD (needs an external DVD drive or playing a rip) without clipping or downscaling. Brightness is okay, didn't test it in full sunlight. It is a touchscreen and works as such, it is detachable. So basically the computer an everything is in the screen part and the keyboard is just a keyboard with a big battery. What is nice is that is has these accelerators so software will detect the angle you hold it and rotate the screen 90° which is fine for reading text. They even have this tank game (ported from one of the for-iphone games?) where you maneuver the tank by holding and turning the screen (there should be a youtube video for this).
Furthermore and what is MOST important to me: It doesn't really mirror much. Aaaaawwwweeesome!
So you can actually work with it.
Don't ask me for actual touching the screen, I did a few times but I a m far from being a touchscreen enthusiast so I do not know about gestures, multitouch and whatsnot. I'm plain and oldschool.
Sound & Video
I do know nothing about these Owolff speakers but since they name it explicitely they might be good quality. Didn't do much with sound yet so I can't judge but the few sounds I head sounded quite good. So for the size the speakers are fair (Can't compete with my Sennheiser headphones tough). Sound chip is something on the beagelboard, I'd have to move it out and check the chip labels if something sounds familiar to me (like VT or RTL) but could just be something self invented by TI. (found: TPS65950)
PS: So I checked some sounds.
ogg, wav, mp3, mod, mid. Didn't have/despise wma or DRM-stuff so I didn't test. Also did not have a flac at hand but it probably can do flac.
So there is a "Gnome Mplayer". No VLC or else but we'll see.
I did not configure anything so this is a pure out-of-the-box experience!
MP3: played. search ok.
MOD and MID: recognized them as music files in the file manager but the associations were broken anyway. And: Did not play. Neither mod nor midi. Software problem.
Probably it will also do FLAC.
(lol @ Apple again. Afaik these Apple things can't even play OGG or FLAC while even my little Cowon portable player can do so.)
mp4, xvid-avi, mov/qt, flv
Okay. When it comes to video codecs one must see if there is
a) proprietary sh*t that is not ported anywhere else but W32 on x86_32. So no fault of AI if that would not play.
b) free codecs and stuff but maybe CPU dependent, using a lot of x86/amd64 specific things. So porting to ARM won't be easy in such a case.
xvid (in avi): did fine, though a good 40% CPU usage (don't ask me for the resolutions please, I took just some random files from my HDD)
mp4: okay, search was slow, and CPU usage slightly above 50%.
mov/qt: surprisingly it worked (there is a libquicktime installed I guess) but CPU usage went up to 70% and above (according to top)
flv: holy cow, it played. Didn't try to search since that never really worked anywhere before.
I do NOT know about flash in browsers. Since we all know that Adobe sucks big time and has a shoddy support for Linux und anything else from x86 (and maybe in past times ppc) there is afaik no ARM port. Still there is Gnash which is supposed to work on ARM, just feature/codec-wise behind the "official" flash solution. Sadly some webpages use flash for navigation so it would be either mandatory to have it or to kick the webmasters backside.
Video-wise with HTML5 it might work better (free codecs horray). Hello Michael from Phoronix Media, do you read me?
Did neither have an external DVD drive nor a mpeg2 file at hand so I did not test that. So I cannot tell if there is HW acceleration or some kind of decss solution. (damn drm anyway)
So in conclusion audio files do well, some need software portation/updates to play all kinds of audio/video but that is solvable (for most cases). Video depends on codec and the GPU. And it does not seem that the GPU does so much of work. Or that binary blob doesn't want to. Who knows.
-> so dear people kick imgtec for a decent free as in freedom driver and specs
(end of part2)
Stop TCPA, stupid software patents and corrupt politicians!