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Laptops Reviews
15,632 Reviews

Datawind Ubisurfer review

£159 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Datawind

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5 User Rating: Our users rate this 5 out of 10

Small enough to carry with you everywhere and coming with a year's free internet access, the Datawind Ubisurfer promises to be the ultimate netbook. But technology enthusiasts are likely to find it extremely frustrating.

Small enough to carry with you everywhere and coming with a year's free internet access, the Datawind Ubisurfer promises to be the ultimate netbook. But technology enthusiasts are likely to find it extremely frustrating.

It's two years since laptop makers started adopting the term 'netbook' and it's easy to forget how devices bearing that name were originally envisaged. Search for a netbook online and you'll find dozens of so-called mini laptops with 10in screens, 1GB of RAM and running fully fledged versions of Windows. These cost anything up to £400 and if you want to use them to access the web, you need to either find a Wi-Fi network, or pay a small fortune for a mobile broadband subscription.

But, like Asus's original Eee PC 701, in our view netbooks we were supposed to be smaller than traditional ultraportable business machines, with a maximum display size of 7in, lightweight applications and a way to access the web cheaply. With this in mind, could Datawind's Ubisurfer be the first netbook that's worthy of the term?

Netbook reviews

Datawind is the Canadian company behind the PocketSurfer, the £199 handheld internet access device that's available with a year's ‘free' internet access via the UK's 2/2.5G cellular network. The Ubisurfer works in the same way. It comes with its own SIM card and included in the £160 price are 30 hours of internet usage per month for the first year. So, once you've bought the hardware, you can browse the web more or less at will without paying another penny for 12 months.

Weighing just 700g, the Ubisurfer measures 222mm x 165mm x 29.5mm and, as a portable internet-access device, it looks the part. It's built into a no-nonsense, but smart black case, and the keyboard is small but perfectly formed.

Ubisurfer keyboard

For basic web surfing, the Ubisurfer did the job. Provided you're within reach of a signal, you can browse the web to your heart's content - we don't think the 30 hours-per-month limit will be a problem for most users. Unlimited connectivity is available for an extra £5.99 per month.

Furthermore, the basic productivity apps that come pre-loaded with the Ubisurfer - including the AbiWord word processor, the Gnumeric spreadsheet application and the Gpaint design software - could come in handy if you're desperate and need a trimmed-down substitute for your preferred office apps.

NEXT: advanced use >>

Datawind UbiSurfer Expert Verdict »
Datawind UbiSurfer Scores 4.9 out of 10 based on 9 reviews
7in TFT (800x480 pixels), 128MB RAM
1GB Flash
50GB Online
Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g
Ethernet Port 10MB
Microphone and dual stereo sound earphone jacks
Battery - 4 hours active use & 4 hours standby
222x165x29.5mm
700g
Push-Push SD card socket
3x USB ports
DataWind Web Browser
Calendar
Media Player
XIP Office (Word processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation)PDF Viewer
Email
Paint
Games
  • Build Quality: We give this item 6 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 5 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

We’re not technology snobs – there is a market for a low-end netbook that provides access to the web and little else for £160, and the Ubisurfer could suit an inexperienced user. But the Ubisurfer makes too many sacrifices at this stage for us to recommend it.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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