Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January this year, the Everex CloudBook matches the ultra-successful Asus Eee PC's weight, screen and keyboard size, as well as its reliance on a Linux operating system, open-source applications and a £200 price tag. But is it a successful match for the original consumer UMPC?

Featuring a 1.2GHz VIA C7-M processor and 512MB of RAM, the Everex Cloudbook weighs just over 1.25kg and offers a 30GB hard drive that spins at 4,200rpm. Even with an operating system and applications installed, users have almost 25GB of free space to play with.

The Everex Cloudbook's 7in, 800x480 pixel display is bright but does make viewing documents and web pages, which are generally coded to be at least 1024x768, something of a hassle. Connections include an ethernet port, DVI, two USB ports, audio line-out/line-in and a four-in-one media card reader.

There's also 802.11g/b Wi-Fi and the Everex Cloudbook has a 0.3Mp webcam.

The Everex Cloudbook operates on a four-cell Lithium-ion battery that is rated to offer two-and-a-half to three hours of use. Sadly, we found its fan constantly whined like a hair dryer, very annoying.

The Everex Cloudbook uses the same dark black plastic shell as Lenovo ThinkPad laptops. But unlike the ThinkPads, whose splashes of colour feel dated, the CloudBook goes the other way, achieving a snazzy 'black on black' effect.

The pure obsidian case makes the Everex Cloudbook's orange LCD indicator lights even more striking. The display is separated from the CloudBook's base by a 1in gap. This ensures the CloudBook can be held securely with one hand while you type and also allows you to flip the screen a total of 270 degrees. While we found that the CloudBook has greater key depth (the keys push in more), its touch-pad was just a quarter of the size of the one found on the Eee PC, which made it fiddly and difficult-to-use.

NEXT PAGE: the CloudBook's OS, the down sides and our expert verdict > >

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The Everex CloudBook matches the ultra-successful Asus Eee PC's weight, screen and keyboard size, as well as its reliance on a Linux operating system, open-source applications and a £200 price tag.

The CloudBook uses gOS, a version of the popular Ubuntu distribution of Linux that has garnered rave reviews for its Mac-like graphical user interface. But while the green-tinged desktop looks stylish, it feels like it needed a lot more quality assurance testing before it shipped.

The CloudBook also benefits from a number of free, open-source applications, including Firefox and OpenOffice 2.3.

Sadly, there were some aspects of the CloudBook that left us distinctly unimpressed. The battery meter is unsatisfactory, giving conflicting readings of the remaining charge and shutting off without any pop-up warning when the charge runs low. Wi-Fi performance is also disappointing, with the Everex CloudBook failing to connect on a number of occasions as well as losing the saved WEP security key sporadically.

Upgrades are a no-no, too. Don't even think about something as seemingly simple as upgrading the CloudBook's RAM (it supports up to 2GB) - it will involve pawing through such fragile components that Everex will void your warranty. Instead, the company plans to offer a service by which you can mail your CloudBook in to have your RAM replaced, although there is no information available yet as to when this will be available and how much it will cost.

Currently there are no plans to make this version of the Everex CloudBook available in the UK, although Everex expects some tweaked models that will be launched in 2008 to hit the UK market. We can only hope these tweaked models will feature an updated operating system and/or BIOS fixing.

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Everex Cloudbook: Specs

  • 7in laptop featuring 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV Processor and 7in WVGA TFT Widescreen display with 800 x 480 native resolution. 512MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM (1GB Max)
  • 3GB hard disk drive
  • Linux gOS V2 Rocket operating system
  • VIA UniChrome Pro IGP
  • VIA VT1708A High Definition Audio Codec with built-in speakers
  • 4-Cell rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
  • 802.11b/g
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • 1 x DVI-I port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 RJ45 Ethernet port
  • 1 Headphone/Line Out jack
  • 1 Microphone/ Line In jack
  • 4-in-1 Media Card Reader (Secure Digital
  • Multi-Media Card
  • Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick PRO)
  • 7in laptop featuring 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV Processor and 7in WVGA TFT Widescreen display with 800 x 480 native resolution. 512MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM (1GB Max)
  • 3GB hard disk drive
  • Linux gOS V2 Rocket operating system
  • VIA UniChrome Pro IGP
  • VIA VT1708A High Definition Audio Codec with built-in speakers
  • 4-Cell rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery
  • 802.11b/g
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • 1 x DVI-I port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 RJ45 Ethernet port
  • 1 Headphone/Line Out jack
  • 1 Microphone/ Line In jack
  • 4-in-1 Media Card Reader (Secure Digital
  • Multi-Media Card
  • Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick PRO)

OUR VERDICT

At present, we'd recommend the Everex CloudBook only to experienced Linux users who will view the inevitable hours they spend hacking their laptop as recreation, not hassle.

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