ECS i-Buddie XP Desknote Review
Exterior Features and Appearances
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.For anyone looking at the ECS i-Buddie XP for the first time, they would surely mistake it for a regular notebook computer. It has the same shape and dimensions as most of the other notebooks available today with only a few minor differences. You will notice that the i-Buddie XP looks somewhat generic in nature – but this was done purposely. While ECS surely wants to sell these systems toe the end user, their main goal is to get other white-box PC makers and OEMs to buy them and remarket them as there own. On the top of the desknote you will see a placeholder for a logo of some kind that was left blank for our engineering sample. Here any PC reseller could put their very logo and identification of the machine to resell to their customers.
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The color scheme on the i-Buddie XP is also pretty plain so as to leave it open to as wide a market as possible. The white/gray patterns are easy to look at and don’t have any sharp edges to them. The white paint is also glossy and gives it a nice feel when you place your hands on it to use the keyboard or touch pad.
The LCD screen on the i-Buddie desknote is a 14” XGA / SXGA+ TFT screen. The picture quality on it was comparable to most other laptops available that I have seen as long as the resolution remained in its native form of 1024x768. The screen was bright enough to be easily seen and did not have any ghosting effects when playing games on it. The LCD panel itself is held down to the computer by the use of magnetic bars and hooks. When you bring the top down close to the hooks, the small magnet along the top pulls the hooks up into the LCD panel and locks them there until you push the small lever on the exterior. While this isn’t exactly a dramatic improvement over other ways of doing this, it is a unique feature. :)
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The inside of the i-Buddie XP holds the power buttons, keyboard, touchpad and speakers. The buttons and lights at the top are used to display the hard drive access light, the caps lock, num lock and scroll lock. The center button is the power button and the two on the sides are for opening up your default email and internet applications. A feature that I am hoping ECS will release is a way to reprogram these buttons to open any applications the user would like. One-touch WarCraft?
The grill below the buttons is actually a functional airflow unit that draws in cool air to blow across the processor heatsinks. The power light and sleep lights are located to the left of the keyboard.
The keyboard on the i-Buddie XP is surprisingly comfortable. Anyone who has used a notebook computer for any amount of time knows that it can sometimes take a while to get used to using the non-curved surface of a keyboard like this. The keyboard layout is standard with the exception of the PgUp and other keys usually found on a keyboard – they are placed along the outer most section of the keyboard. The only drawback to this keyboard is the location of the Function and Control keys – They should have been switched! While playing games that require that control key (like most first person shooters) the Fn key was frequently hit on accident resulting in a quick death for your player.
The touchpad on the desknote is standard as well and gives adequate room for mouse movement. Adjusting the sensitivity of the mouse cursor in Windows will allow you to get the feel you want out of the mouse pad when a regular mouse is not convenient. The four buttons below the touchpad are for your left and right mouse buttons as well as the center one for scrolling. It would have been interesting to see if an actual scroll wheel could have been placed in this spot instead and how well it would have been received. Finally, there is a small microphone to the left of the touchpad that would be hindered by your hand should you by typing.