Everex CloudBook Mini Review Verdict: Needs More Time in the Oven

First Look at the CloudBookDoes the Asus Eee PC have some serious competition in the $399 Everex Cloudbook? On paper it does. This 2-pound notebook boasts more storage than the Eee PC (30GB hard drive versus 2GB to 8GB) and runs the more flexible and slick gOS operating system, providing easy access to all sorts of Web-based goodies, including Google Mail, YouTube, Meebo for instant messaging, and Box.net for online storage. Standard specs include a 1.2-GHz Via C7-M processor, 512MB of RAM, and two USB 2.0 ports. And Everex promises up to 5 hours of battery life. Add in a webcam, SD Card reader, and DVI port for hooking the CloudBook up to a larger monitor and you have a potential killer value-priced laptop. On the other hand, there are some major caveats here, starting with the strange touchpad and the need to move windows up to execute simple commands. Here are our impressions so far. What We Like:

  • Desktop is clean and has easy-to-read icons for popular Web-based applications and shortcuts to apps like the music player. Kinda like OS X, but not as elegant.

CloudBook Desktop

  • Pretty speedy Web surfing; it took only six seconds to bring up nytimes.com. We were also pretty impressed with the video quality on YouTube when we streamed the hilarious Sarah Silverman “I’m (Blanking) Matt Damon” on Jimmy Kimmel clip.

    CloudBook Shows YouTube

  • SD Card slot automatically recognized memory card from our camera and asked us to import photos. Also automatically recognized Kingston USB drive and launched File Browser window.
  • OpenOffice included for writing and editing Office docs, although it took 18 seconds to load.
  • DVI port worked fine when we connected the CloudBook to a 23-inch Philips monitor.

    CloudBook and External Monitor

  • Our wireless Logitech mouse was instantly recognized and it worked fine when we mirrored the desktop to an external monitor.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The keyboard is cramped, although it’s about the same size as the Eee PC’s keyboard. Tactile feedback was a tad stiffer.
  • The touchpad is laughably tiny (about the size of your finger) and is awkwardly located above the keyboard on the right side. The two very small mouse buttons are located on the left side above the keyboard.

    CloudBook Touchpad

  • Slow boot up time. The system, powered by a 1. took about 1 minute and 30 seconds to start up, versus about 30 seconds for the Eee PC. That’s slower than some Vista-powered laptops. Firefox and other applications were also slow to load.
  • We initially had difficulty connecting to our Wi-Fi network using a standard WEP key and were forced to use an open network. Now it seems to be working fine with our secure network and it remembers our settings.
  • Many windows extend below the desktop. This may just be a problem with our test unit’s OS, but the most frustrating thing about the CloudBook so far is that many Windows stretch below the desktop, forcing you to move them up to click on OK or Close buttons. (Everex says this may be a problem with the evaluation model we were given, but we can’t confirm.)
  • Screen occasionally looks like it’s about to freeze or crash, but doesn’t.
  • Meebo worked fine for instant messaging but we could not get the TokBox application to work for video chats, even tough we were asked to allow access to the CloudBook’s camera.
  • No option to choose a higher resolution when connecting the Cloudbook to an external monitor. According to the settings menu, the top resolution is only 840 x 480. We’re going to double check, but 1024 x 768 or higher would be preferable in this mode.

Outlook: We’re not going to pass final judgment until we’ve had a full weekend to play with the CloudBook, but so far it’s pretty rough around the edges and you definitely trade off some speed for storage space versus the Eee PC. The tiny touchpad is actually starting to grow on us. Assuming that Everex addresses the issue we’re having with windows that extend below the desktop (the company claims our system was loaded with the wrong install of the OS) we could warm up to this little guy.

CloudBook Closed

 

CloudBook Left Side

CloudBook Right Side

 

CloudBook in Hand

AUTHOR BIO
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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  1. Koors Says:

    The biggest problems for me are the gOS (it kinda sucks…) and the price. They ask $700 for THAT? I was really looking forward for it but now I think I’ll go get a eee 4G tomorrow. Good luck with this Everex.

  2. Kasper Says:

    Could you post some photos and video with the Cloudbook compared to the Asus Eee PC, please?

  3. smith Says:

    Thanks for the early review! It would be interesting to see how it performs using Win XP

  4. jeff Says:

    I’m interested to see if you guys might warm up to the touch pad, kinda reminds me of the way a video game controller would work, making it easier to hold the thing and easily control everything. after all, the size really makes it more of something you would use on the go, as opposed to something you would use solely on a desk.

  5. Mike Cane Says:

    Ah, thanks for the update. I think many first adopters are just going to dump gOS and put Windows or something else on it anyway.

    How’s build quality? Are you afraid those twin thin hinges will break easily? Can the covering scratch easily in shoulder bag? Which seems more durable: CB or EeePC?

  6. kos Says:

    @ Koors

    It’s $400, not $700 dood…

  7. christopherborne@Yahoo.com Says:

    It’s actually $400 (USD, that is. Maybe Koors was talking in pesos?)

  8. edmund Says:

    It looks like you guys might have a development version. In all other screenshots of gOS, the top GNOME panel is gone. See here:

    http://thinkgos.com/index.html

    A development Cloudbook might explain the lack of polish during bootup, and the wiFi headaches.

  9. JamFish Says:

    Koors, it’s not 700 (that’s the pricing of it’s siblings overseas). This one is competitively priced at 399, like the eeePC 4G.

  10. Koors Says:

    Actually I was talking about http://www.engadget.com/2008/02/15/everexs-cloudbook-sneaks-into-shopping-carts-gets-unboxed/

  11. Mike Says:

    Odd,

    I believe gOS 1 and 2 both use Enlightenment WM. However, from the screenshots of the cloudbook, it looks like it is using Gnome instead. Enlightenment’s prettier, but Gnome has better stability and compatibility. It’s odd that they have a different WM that everything we’ve seen so far.

  12. Mike Says:

    Oh, now I just read that part of the delay of the cloudbook was the switch from e17 to gnome. They must have missed the window heights when they rushed through it.

  13. TheWalt Says:

    Last minute changes to gOS back in January said that Cloudbook will use the Gnome window manager, unlike all other versions that use Enlightenment. This explains the top panel in question.

  14. Luke Says:

    Koors, you just unintentionally proved everybody else’s point. The Packard Bell XS20-006 is selling for around $700 in the UK. That includes the Microsoft Tax, because the Packard Bell unit ships with Windows XP.

    A little background is in order:

    Via developed a reference design called the Nanobook. (Industry note, a “reference design” is something that is not actually meant to be directly mass-produced, but rather is built as a means of showing off a particular technology in hopes that other manufacturers will be willing to build from the reference design and turn it into a real product.)

    At least 2 manufacturers did sign on to the Nanobook reference design: Packard Bell and Everex. Packard Bell called their finished product the XS20-006. Everex calls its finished product a Cloudbook. Make no mistack, they are two different products.

  15. pagesix1536 Says:

    Ahh, but Luke there’s been speculation that Everex is actually making both. Paul Kim has sent emails out which state that Everex is in fact making the Easynote for Packard Bell, and that they have a territorial agreement. Hence, you won’t find Everex selling Cloudbooks in the UK…that’s Packard Bell’s territory.

  16. Atticus Says:

    pagesix1536 is right. CloudbookUMPC.com have contacted Paul Kim and he clarified that their parent company, First Computer International (FIC) builds both the Everex Cloudbook and Packard Bell Easynote XS.

  17. Kohjiki Says:

    Mmmm I think for the same price I would rather get the Kohjinsha SA5SX12A. It has 120GB HDD, normal mousepad, and 1024×600 touch screen. It also comes with XP. Not sure of the CPU speed though.

  18. Whiskey Says:

    Don’t like g-OS? Guess what? It’s Ubuntu. I would definitively switch it to Xubuntu and try to see how it goes…

    The Kohjinsha SA5SX12A would be cool… Is it available on the US? If import, how much for S&H? Right now it looks to me as a cool candidate to get Ubuntification!

  19. The Mad One Says:

    I wonder if I could put compiz on this little guy. Would be sweet to impress chicks

  20. Luke Says:

    Interesting. I guess P-B really is just charging $300 extra for the privilege of running Windows XP – and simply because they can get away with it due to trade zone agreements. The Cloudbook really is being offered at ZaReason for $399 in the US.

  21. Corey Says:

    MadOne: No compiz is possible. I was thinking about getting one of these instead of an EEE, but first I stopped by the compiz forums to ask about compiz support. The graphics chip in the machine doesn’t have support for Compiz, unlike the EEE’s intel GMA which supports compiz fully. That was the main deal breaker for me.

    Kudos on switching to Gnome and the Avant Window Navigator though, they are much more functional and stable than the E17 desktop.

  22. Itsy Says:

    Looks interesting, but can it run iTunes?

    P.S. I for one would welcome a small laptop that re-captures the space wasted by the standard touchpad.

  23. m1nd Says:

    Interesting place to put a touchpad. Especially for us left-handers.

    Eee…

  24. kjn260 Says:

    Personally I would probably go the Lifebook U810 over the EEE, Cloudbook or Kohjinsha(geode CPU, ugh). But you are paying a premium for it.

  25. Mike Cane Says:

    Oh god, yes! DO try iTunes on it, please!!

  26. My2Cents Says:

    The CB should run itunes fine, my eeePC runs it fine with the exception of video performance with certain movies/ music videos. I have a stock setup aside from my 16gb SDHC. Given its specs are double operating speed of the eee and half the L2 cache (the fsb is same speed according to newegg but wiki for the chip maker states a higher fsb ) either way it should be relatively the same performance under heavy usage (it may prove a tad speedier for regular docs and browsing) i love my eee but afraid the inlaws in Mexico may want it when I go. One more thing I do light Photoshop and Acrobat and it does everything Fine (even with the stock 512MB I rarely go above 400 in usage)

  27. bob cobb Says:

    Why the hell couldnt they make the screen fill out the whole front bezel? thats the problem I have with the EEE as well. if they could make the screen 8-10″ with a case thats a similar size I would buy it

  28. Pk/\ Says:

    Bigger screen, get rid of the lame gOS and lower the price to $250 :)

  29. Linux Lover Says:

    Why Everex don’t use Xubuntu in CloudBook ? It Boots Fast..

    I Can’t Wait for 1 minute and 30 seconds to start up gOS :(

    Also I Thing CloudBook will boots fast of they use solid-state drive for storage instead of a hard drive

    If Everex don’t fix bugs in CloudBooks Fast then I will Go and Buy “Eee PC 8G”

  30. Adam Says:

    It does not take 30 seconds for the EEE to boot, more like 15.

  31. NathanC Says:

    Yeah, Compiz doesn’t work on the CB but mini desktop is suppose to come preloaded.

    http://www.everex.com/products/gpc_mini/gpc_mini.htm

  32. TeDd Says:

    CB is able to stream a HD divx to a HD resolution external panel?
    And how about 5.1 audio channel?
    And eeePC?
    I want to use it as media server.

  33. MiGs Says:

    I thought it was a small typewriter.

    MiGs

  34. Tanooki Says:

    @TeDd

    The Cloudbook or the Eee PC are not meant to be used for serious mainstream purposes. If you want that kind of functionality then go buy yourself a Clevo D901C or a Dell XPS-M.

    Think of these miniature laptops as a step below UMPC but better than say a classic Jornada 720, 728, or NEC MobilePro 900 PDA.

    If you are looking for something for HD Divx, DVD/BlueRay ripping & encoding, Crysis playable…etc then these are not what you are looking for. You will be gravely disappointed

  35. TeDd Says:

    @Tanooki
    Thanks for reply, i know the target for this “sub-notebook” is different, but i’m only ask if this hardware is also able to play a HD divx on DVI port at decent resolution.

  36. Brenda Says:

    Already said this in another forum but I might as well repeat it here…. I was looking forward to the Cloudbook but finally got an EeePC 4G with webcam. It’s great! I didn’t really like the Xandros OS but decided to keep it anyway so I installed Ubuntu on a 4GB SDHC CL6 (until I get a 32GB) w/2GB ram and Ubuntu works great! I have it dual booting with Xandros. Even with Ubuntu you have to use the Alt+click to move the window sometimes because the 800×480 isn’t a standard screen size, but it’s not a problem. And in most cases you can increase the font size with Ctrl++ to ease eye strain (I need glasses). You will need to tweak it for Ubuntu to recognize some stuff but the Ubuntu community site has it covered and it will probably be the same for the Cloudbook. I also use the small icons in Firefox to get as much screen as possible. BTW, jr accidentally pushed my EeePC off the kitchen table while my back was turned. I heard the crash, picked up my Eee and it was still running fine, just has a scratch on the corner of the lid/screen where it hit the floor, it didn’t even flinch, my mom was talking to me on Skype at the time… Try that with a full size laptop!!! PS: Compiz runs on a standard Ubuntu EeePC install.

  37. Nick Says:

    Why do we need gOS? I’m an Ubuntu user and would like an small notebook pre-loaded with Ubuntu. Yes, I realize gOS is based on Ubuntu but that isn’t close enough as I have several systems that I support that run Ubuntu and the last thing I need is a different system that I have maintain by looking in different places. Yes, I know can install Ubuntu but why? It is my money and I will spend it on what I want. If this system doesn’t have enough cpu or gpu horsepower to run Ubuntu then it doesn’t have enough horsepower. I’d like to buy a small notebook but I’ve got to agree with the verdict: Needs more time in the oven.

  38. Magoonski Says:

    I just bought mine a week ago from Circuit City (I would have bought the EEE but it was a Circuit City only giftcard). The price is $400, yes, it is available in the USA and yes…
    The touchpad mouse grows on you!
    For the first 48 hours owning it I kept going to the normal spot for the mouse but when I got the hang of it the placement of the touchpad felt more natural, especially since the WINDOWS ARE TOO BIG FOR THE SCREEN. In most of the applications that’s not a problem (like with firefox, the full screen keeps you in the screen) but the windows for the gOS itself are too big. This is not to annoying because combine the touchpad placement and using the ‘alt’ you can drag the windows around with ease.
    I haven’t tried itunes as of yet but youtube works fine…the only problems I seem to have is when it goes into sleep mode…the speakers don’t turn back on! The program will ask if the speakers should be reloaded but it doesn’t always load it correctly and then you have to restart if you want sound.
    I am thinking about putting Ubuntu on it but I’m being cautious because there is no C7-M option when selecting a processor and I sorely lack the m4d sk1llz to compensate for any problems that might occur.
    I hope this was helpful, have a nice day all!

  39. KaBam Says:

    so for a newbie, out of the box to surf quick lookups and generic emails… go or Nogo?

  40. James Says:

    picked one up when walmart dropped the price to $300. It’s taking me a while to get the hang of the touchpad, the unfamiliar OS etc., but at this price for an on-the-go web browser, it’s fine. youtube does work well but when playing music videos I notice that the speakers are ridiculously tinny. I’m typing this on the cloudbook keyboard and it’s slow and painful going. So I’ll stop.

  41. James Says:

    Follow-up: when I followed the prompt to download the numerous software updates, the OS crashed. Customer Support said yeah, we’ve been having problems with bugs in the updates…whatever. I returned the unit to Walmart for a refund. Maybe the next model (“Cloudmax”?) will work out the kinks.

  42. Dominik Hoffmann Says:

    Everex, it appears, closed today. Their website states:

    Everex is Closed

    We regret to inform you that Everex is no longer in business. We have closed our operations and are in the process of liquidation of all our assets.

    All current issues that are currently in for repair work will be completed and returned to their respective owners. This will be done in the order that they were received. All items that are not returnable will be held in our liquidation assets pending contacts or liquidation, which ever comes first.

    We would like to thank all those whom have supported us through the years.

    Thank you and Good Day.

    - Everex Staff

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