CloudBook Unboxing and Very First Impressions

Our CloudBook just arrived and we’ve taken it out of the box and snapped a few photos. Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer is working on a hands-on post right now, and already we’ve encountered some significant problems:

  • The pointing device: The touchpad is a tiny stretch of plastic in the most awkward place you can possibly imagine, on the right above the keyboard. The left and right mouse buttons are on the left side above the keyboard, forcing you to use two hands to navigate and click.
  • Windows Going Below the Screen: We got stuck for about an hour, because we couldn’t get past the setup program that runs when you start the CloudBook for the first time. At first we couldn’t get past the screen where you select your timezone, because there didn’t seem to be a Next or OK button to help you select your timezone.Brad Linder suggested to us that we use Alt+Click to drag the setup window above the screen. Indeed, there was a Next button that had been hidden from us all along. Apparently, the gOS operating system installed on the CloudBook is configured such that many of the windows, particularly windows in the setup program and control panels, are taller than 400 pixels (the native resolution). Using Alt+Click or attaching an external screen solves this problem, but it’s very annoying and I guarantee most users will find themselves as confused as we were.Update: This resolution problem may occur on CloudBooks sent to consumers. We just got a note from Everex’s Paul Kim saying:”It looks like the gOS team loaded the wrong size opening windows on a few of the press samples. I’m talking to them now to try to see what happened but will keep you updated.”

Here’s a hands-on video: Here are some photos we took:

CloudBook Box Open

Here’s everything in the box, which consists of a warranty agreement, a tiny setup manual (which hasn’t helped us), the battery, the power cord, and the unit itself.

CloudBook Touchpad

When we opened the box and saw this touchpad, everyone in the room gasped and said “is that the touchpad? How are you supposed to use that thing?”

The CloudBook Boot Screen

The CloudBook boot screen.

CloudBook Next to Eee PC

Here’s the CloudBook next to an Eee PC 4G Surf for comparison. Update: We now have a complete mini-review of the CloudBook posted.

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. MikeZ Says:

    Think of it as a two thumb device;
    Hold by edges, left thumb for buttons, right thumb for touch pad.

  2. Matt Says:

    Umm… not an auspicious start. Makes me glad I didn’t order one of these.

    I’m sure you’ve already tried this, but out of curiousity, I’ll ask anyway: Can you double-click your way through the timezone selection? Does the enter key do anything?

  3. Cowardice rules Says:

    Meh!

  4. Rubiezarr Says:

    You might want to remove the protective plastic from the touch pad.

  5. steveg Says:

    @MikeZ: Yeah, but then you have to type, then pick it up, then type then move your hands as in the video. Most full sized laptops have the / a touchpad under the keyboard – this is a major design change and will most likely piss people off.

  6. Tim Says:

    @Rubiezarr

    Don’t get too complicated…

  7. Capt'n Corrupt Says:

    @MikeZ
    … or you can use the ring finger on your right hand to quickly control the pointer without having to hold the entire unit like an over-sized game pad. In this arrangement, your hand is likely to move less than having the touchpad centered below the spacebar, though it will take a little getting used to.

    A larger touchpad would still be a boon, though.

  8. shane Says:

    the touchpad isnt a big deal. plus if ur in bed holding it up you can use ur thumb and then use ur left thumb to click. i think its a great idea. i dont think the os is the best,but i know they have the same model just rebranded under the packard bell here in the uk,but it comes with xp and is cheap as chips lol.

  9. curious to see how this unfolds Says:

    Rubiezarr did you watch the vid before posting?

  10. Atticus Says:

    Well done, definitely one of the first Cloudbook Unboxings! I made a post titled Everex Cloudbook CE1200V Unboxed! linking to your page. Looking forward to a full review.

  11. Rubiezarr Says:

    @curious to see how this unfolds

    Don’t recall a video when I posted, just read the initial information and looked at the picture of the finger on the protective cover. Kind of an odd picture to show with a heading relating to unboxed and first impressions.

  12. Steve Says:

    I suspect you can get to the OK button on the timezone select screen by holding down ALT and click-dragging the window up with the mouse. The button is probably just off the bottom because of the resolution problem.

  13. Lingster Says:

    I drove to Walmart during lunch to see if the Cloudbook was in stock. Browsed around for a bit but didn’t see any Everex models whatsoever. Finally braced myself and asked the clerk, “Do you have the new Everex Cloudbook in stock?” He pointed off towards another section of the store and said, “Books are over in that section, with the magazines.”

    So no, Walmart doesn’t have any yet. Planning to sell a special-interest device like this through Walmart is probably a mistake.

  14. Andrew Says:

    Certainly an interesting little notebook, but the placement and size of the touchpad puts me off a tad. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I honestly think that was a stupid decision on the designer’s part. At the price this notebook is selling at, I would have hoped that the design would have been better thought out. But that’s just my opinion. So flame away! ^^

  15. hg Says:

    huo

  16. hg Says:

    I like the eee pc better :-)

  17. curious to see how this unfolds Says:

    @ Rubiezarr ahh then i too would have thought the same.

  18. Last Says:

    As in famous “Last Words”

    What a dissapointment.

  19. Adam Miller Says:

    The touch pad isn’t that bad of a concept from a purely interface design point of view. Think of how small that thing is and how minimal of a stretch it would be to move your index, middle, or ring finger to the track pad or the buttons. In all fairness this is almost a more efficient design than the ASUS EeePC, while its a bit strange or almost unorthodox I don’t think it should be discredited for being different. If it functions the way I assume it would (please note that this is all speculation since I do not have one of these at my disposal), the touch pad and mouse button placement will allow you to keep your hands as close the home keys as possible at all times. I would find this to be a very intuitive and some what convenient feature. Only time will tell.

    In regards to the software, I can’t say much for gOS just yet.

    Also, I would like to comment that I am a big fan of the ASUS EeePC and just want to be clear that I wasn’t “bashing” on it. I was just commenting.

    -Adam

  20. jdripper Says:

    The above keyboard mouse is definitely a deal breaker for me

  21. joe Says:

    eek. looks like something designed in like 1986. yuk.

  22. Last Says:

    I think they forgot to redesign the layout (especially the touch pad) once they dropped the touchscreen from their plans.

    I’m thinking we will be seeing these in the Walmart Discount Bins in a very short time. Too many issues.

  23. Jazzybob Says:

    I am REALLY GLAD I own a eeePC!

  24. Nigsy Says:

    I don’t see the Cloud Book anywhere on walmart.com – link anyone?

  25. Nigsy Says:

    Seems like Zareason.com is shipping but with issues:

    “We have begun shipping the Cloudbooks. We are the first and only company with access to them. UPS will be here in a few hours to pick up this initial batch.

    Note that we are sending out the first part of the preorders, but not all of them. There were a few more glitches in getting the full batch out. For the full backstory, read more here so you can judge for yourself if we handled it correctly. ”

    Link is
    See http://www.zareason.com/shop/skin1/pages/US/cloudbook.html

  26. MIkeB Says:

    Someone needs to learn how to operate a point-and-shoot, idiot-proof (or is it?) camera. I haven’t seen so much blur since 1995.

  27. Travis Says:

    In the UK it comes with XP.

    Why the diff?

  28. Anthony Says:

    just FYI, the cloudbook won’t be out until the 21st… i just read on cloudbooker.com that there’s “one last small delay”… for whatever reason…. i think is what had happened, is zareason had to give half of their CB’s to walmart.com… that’s what i glanced at anyway… don’t know why exactly…

  29. Scott G Says:

    Reminds me of the early days of notebook / laptop wars where manufactures had a new design or layout that had to be tried. Then at some point everyone realized that a palm rest on your laptop is important and comfortable. If you are planning to type for a bit not having this comfort feature could be an issue. Even MAC Air or ThinkPad X300 understands that

  30. EDNONYMOUS Says:

    I’m afraid that I still don’t get the ‘subnotebook’ thing… for another $50 I can get a full sized laptop and not have to scroll all over the place to see a web page.

  31. Kassy Says:

    Can you click by tapping the touchpad as on fullsized laptops? If so I don’t think it’s so bad to have the buttons on the left side.
    In general I think it’s a very good idea to position the touchpad above keyboard. As the laptop is very small it might be even more comfortable. You wouldn’t have to move your hand so much. You just need to get used to it.

  32. dbzeag Says:

    The positioning of the touchpad is for “walking” navigation. The idea is that you can carry the laptop while walking and can still use it. You hold the laptop at the center of gravity so there is no tipping and you can still use the navigation of the pointer to navigate the windows. I don’t think it was an afterthought to include the touchpad in such a location, I think it was deliberate. It might not be convenient if you are sitting at a desk using the laptop, but it is infinitely easier while you are on the move than the Eee conventional solution.

  33. snowwy Says:

    thei nice thing about the cb. is two clickers. eee only has one. so what do you do for a left click on eee??? and as far as the cb in the UK. with xp. it’s called the easynote by packard bell. 80 gig hard drive and 1 gig memory. throw in xp and the cost is almost twice as much as the cb. NOT ANYWHERE NEAR THE SAME PRICE. and even if it were cheaper. i can’t find anywhere that it can be ordered and shipped to the U.S. NOW. there are some other models. such as pioneercomputers.com that have a full fledged keypad under the keyboard. it’s called dreambook light IL1. starting at 499 with 40 gig drive but 1 gig processor. i have also just found out on umpcportal.com. there is a linpus linux light OS. anyone familiar with this one??? there’s pics of it. looks like it could be more user friendly.

  34. Carier Says:

    This something is a TOUCHPAD ? rotfl.
    I hope this notebook have a camera ?
    In my humble opinion Macbook Air already isn’t a worst notebook in the world. gPC have first place.

  35. big_left Says:

    “Think of it as a two thumb device;
    Hold by edges, left thumb for buttons, right thumb for touch pad.”

    And… if your left-handed ? then what. Its bad enough that during high school one had to learn to be ambidextrous, since most computers had their mouses set up for right handers.

  36. Cheap Laptops Says:

    I believe I saw one of HP notebooks that look similar to this.

  37. jazzybob Says:

    EDNONOMYOUS: The reason for the excitement of a notebook of this size is surely not the $$. At least for me its the size that works: PDAs and iPhones don’t provide the options I need. The web brousing on an iPhone or crackberry? Insane – did that for a few years on my blackberry. I looked at buying a 7″ n.b. as my lightweight communicator – with the migration of essential office apps to the web – it works for me. Link that with the ubiquitious(ness) of WiFi and (in the case of the Asus) the ability to run Xubuntu and I’m good.

    The cloudbook is also a viable and attractive entry – although as already stated, the pointer is “different”. It remains to be seen IF the cloudbook surfaces at walmart AND if a Ubuntu-sponsored OS will run on it! The Everex work with the VIA chip is exciting and this first unboxing is also. I’ll be looking for one and when it comes to town, I’ll be wunning it with UBUNTU!

    Great post and great comments -

  38. BobSmith Says:

    It’s selling at walmart.com now!

  39. gregf Says:

    After playing with this for a while:
    1. the touch pad accepts a tap as “left-click”, so you wont need the actual mouse buttons unless there is a right click menu.
    2. it maps left and right flicks (gestures) as “back” and “forward” in the browser.
    3. there is an up-down scroll area on the right

    It takes practice!

  40. Rich Says:

    @snowwy:
    The Eee has one button but 2 sides which act as both a left and right mouse button. The CB just has a more visible right/left. Seems the CB would be much more mobile computing frindly if the design is intended for walking and using the mouse, I don’t see walking around while being on a computer as that seems like a way to trip and break the device. 30 Gig HDD @ 4200 rpms seems like a cop out and like ancient hardware but with upgrading may be ok. See how it does in the market, I’d like to try it myself so may pick one up.

  41. bh Says:

    It is not in the Walmart stores, but you can order it online and they can ship it to your local store.

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