Hands-On With the Sylvania g Netbook Meso
Just last week I did an interview with Sylvania about its upcoming netbooks. They sure are a classy company as they hand delivered the 8.9-inch Sylvania g Netbook Meso to me earlier today. I will be showing off the Sylvania g Netbook Meso tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EST live on streaming video, but I couldn’t wait to confess my first impressions. Plain, Functional Design I saw the MESO back at Computex as the wooden clad Amtek Elego. Sylvania took the design down a notch. Our review unit sports a glossy black cover (which has already become smeared in finger prints); a fancy looking “g” is front and center on the lid. The netbook is a comfortable size and weighed in at 2.6 pounds. Compared to the 8.9-inch Acer Aspire one, it is thicker but the Acer is longer. Small Keyboard, Nice Trackpad The keyboard on the Meso is about the same size as the one as the Gigabyte M912 (a flashback to the days of the ASUS Eee PC 701 keyboard). The truth is I have been typing on the Gigabyte M912 for a few days now and I have gotten quite used to it and am mistyping less and less. Nevertheless, it is still cramped compared to competitors like the 8.9-inch HP Mini-Note or the Acer Aspire one. The touchpad on the Meso is smooth and features dedicated right and left mouse buttons. However, as you will see in the video, there is a loud clicking sound when they are pressed. This might annoy some people, especially the person trying to sleep in bed next to you while you surf the Web. Matte Display With Speakers Below Unlike the glossy screen on the Acer Aspire one, this 8.9-incher has a 1024 x 600 resolution matte display. I like that you can bend the lid all the way back. In addition, the vertical viewing angles are quite good as bringing the screen to a 45-degree angle didn’t cause much of a glare. Watching a streaming video of the Colbert Report was clear and the picture was quite bright. Unlike most other netbooks, the g Netbook Meso has its speakers positioned below the screen. Though this is superior to the Acer Aspire one, which muffles its speakers by putting them on the bottom, it adds significant length to the system’s lid. The speakers are actually quite loud (see the video for a sampling), but sound a bit tinny. Early Performance Thoughts We have the $399 version of the g Netbook Meso, which is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 512MB of RAM. It also sports an 80GB hard drive. Our unit is an early model so it does not have the Ubuntu Netbook Remix OS that it will come to market it with. It is, however, running Windows XP and there will be an XP-version of the Meso released in September. Even with only 512MB of RAM, the Meso runs Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3 quite well. We conducted a smooth video call over Skype while surfing the Web in Firefox 3. Even better, the notebook doesn’t seem to run too hot. So there you have our first impressions of the Sylvania Netbook g Meso. But there is more. Tune in tomorrow to ask your questions about the newest mini on the market.