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Wibrain B1H UMPC review in 33 photos

Wibrain_b1h

Once in a while, I get my hands on a gadget that I can’t work up the energy or interest to review. Whether because the device bores me and I refuse to spend 10+ hours photographing and writing about it or because general consumer interest has waned since the product’s release, occasionally a newly unboxed electronic is one that I end up not wanting to review. I always intend to review all the gadgets that come my way, but sometimes something happens along the way that makes me know I won’t. The indescribable feeling can be pushed aside with no consequence when directed toward something I buy myself (I still have five DAPs here waiting in vain to take center stage), but it definitely needs attention when the gadget is one that a company sends me on short-term loan.

That’s why I’m here with a round of photos and some scattered thoughts on the Wibrain B1H provided to me by Dynamism.

After about a month of using the VIA-based UMPC (verdict: meh) and a few additional weeks of debating what to do with all the photos I took in preparation of the review, I’ve decided to stray from my typical review style and share 33 pictures interspersed with some commentary instead.

Wibrain_b1h_des1

The B1H is part of the Wibrain B1 series, which also includes the lower spec’d B1E and Linux-flavored B1L. The following quick specs chart applies to the B1H only.

CPU:
1.2GHz VIA C7-M
RAM: 1GB
OS: Windows XP Home
Storage: 60GB HDD (4200rpm PATA)
Display: 4.8” touchscreen (1024 x 600)
Wireless: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0
Size: 7.56″ x 3.23″ x 1.10″
Weight: 1.15 lbs.

During my first 30 minutes with the B1H, I jotted down the following notes:

  • Thick and cheap looking
  • Sharp corners, not very ergonomic
  • High resolution causes some eyestrain
  • Excellent navigation (touch pad, buttons, touchscreen)
  • Space bar should be on both keypads, not just left one (this will take some getting used to)
  • Backlit keys are rubberized, good tactile feedback
  • As with most thumboards, typing is difficult with long fingernails (I refuse to cut my thumb nails for this)
  • Buttons are unattractive but useful
  • No built-in desk stand
  • Good UMPC for the price ($499 to $799)

I was never able to build up the enthusiasm/energy required to flesh out these early impressions fully, but I still put the unit through my normal photography routine (taking 100+ photos, cutting them down to about 30, cropping, resizing, watermarking, renaming, and uploading). Here’s what I ended up with and what would’ve been included in the full review.

Wibrain_b1h_des2

Wibrain_b1h_touchpad

Wibrain_b1h_displeft

Wibrain_b1h_buttons

Wibrain_b1h_left

Wibrain_b1h_right

Wibrain_b1h_bottom

Wibrain_b1h_cam1

Wibrain_b1h_cam2

Wibrain_b1h_top

Wibrain_b1h_pwr

Wibrain_b1h_kb1

Wibrain_b1h_kb2

Wibrain_b1h_kb3

Wibrain_b1h_stylus1

Wibrain_b1h_stylus2

Wibrain_b1h_battery

Wibrain_b1h_quarter

Wibrain_b1h_aabatt

Wibrain_b1h_des3

Wibrain_b1h_btkb

During my month with the Wibrain B1H, I thought about the other UMPCs I’ve used and/or owned and started taking notes on how they compared to the B1H.

  • Someone I showed it to said, “That’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever had!”
  • The Raon Digital Everun shares a similar form factor but is more portable, better looking, and better suited for use as portable media player.
  • Given its screen size, the B1H is very long. It needs to be quite wide to accommodate the keypads, of course, but users may still be turned off by its size.
  • I’d be embarrassed to use this in public. Very low “wow factor” compared to Sony UX or OQO Model 02.
  • It’s been a long time since I used XP. It’s an acceptable match for the VIA CPU, though CrystalMark (BH1 scores below) shows that the Intel A110+Vista combo is generally better. Dynamism put out a video demo of Quake 2 running on the Wibrain a few months ago.
  • Split keypad is not as good as the one on the Pepper Pad 3.
  • Something about using the B1H is not enjoyable to me. Unlike with the HTC Shift, which I seriously can’t stop touching, I just never want to pick up the Wibrain. Others may disagree, but I don’t find it fun to use at all.

Wibrain_b1h_hand

Wibrain_b1h_comp

Wibrain_b1h_ux

Wibrain_b1h_shift1

Wibrain_b1h_shift2

Wibrain_b1h_shift3

Wibrain_b1h_pp3

Wibrain_b1h_crystalmark

Even though the Wibrain didn’t receive the same review treatment that I’ve given to other UMPCs, the main points I would’ve highlighted are still there and you can probably fill in the rest of the blanks.

Wibrain_b1h_case

Wibrain_b1h_web

The Wibrain B1H is available from Dynamism for $799. Other models in the B1 series start at just $499.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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14 thoughts on “Wibrain B1H UMPC review in 33 photos

  • man, that thing’s been beat too many times with an ugly stick. who designed it and who would want it when something like the htc shift is out there? nobody would be ashamed to use the shift out in public.

    Reply
  • Every time I see a picture of that “thing”, I have the same reaction……………”Somebody PLEASE put that thing out of it’s misery!!”
    Even if someone GAVE it to me, I wouldn’t want it……NEXT!

    Reply
  • Definitely the ugliest UMPC ever made. It actually looks a little better in person and it’s pretty functional. I would never want one of my own, though!

    Reply
  • I never considered it until the price dropped to
    as low as $499 now it worth consideration.
    I don’t own a umpc yet

    Reply
  • I think it looks kind of cool. Retro Nintendo flip game looking, with donkey kong and mario, before the Gameboy (maybe the same time).

    I haven’t held one, but these pics make it look good to me.

    Reply
  • I don’t think it looks that bad as the previous comments rave about.
    If you compare the size with the other units: Of course there is not that much space to put all the buttons. And let’s face it: A box shape is always the one that can make more use of the space then rounded shapes.
    For those who hate it because of form factor: Maybe it just needs a nice (rounded) rubber casing to make it look nice. Would also be a useful bumper case :-)

    Reply
  • I like the specs, and I definitely think it’s the only half-decent UMPC that you can use without a desk. I was searching for a “couch-usable” altenative to my desktop. And I bought a Wibrain with SSD. It seems, most people don’t like the appearance, but I _really_ like it :)

    Reply
  • Avatar of askforit

    Ok ..it may look big and hugly ..but that’s the best umpc for gaming ..they clearly designed it for that purpose.Try to play a 3d shooter on the oqo …
    Controls are perfect its like a gamegear with a x86 cpu.
    D-Pads on the left,Mousepad & plenty of buttons on the right …If i get a other umpc its going to have the same kind of controls ..just smaller ;).

    I like my wibrain ..Raon everun was my 2rd option but without 3d capable gpu it was out of question.

    I would have gone for the oqo model 2 if controls where better but i dont like the keyboard.Rubber buttons dosent feel great for gaming …try a finishing move in mortal kombat.For web browsing/email writing most umpc does the job ..wibrain are the only ones to admit that peoples who get umpc’s does it to have fun & waste time ..its not a umpc for working(anyway who realy WORK on a umpc) i have a 17inch laptop for that.And the price confirm this ..who would buy a 2000$ umpc for gaming not many but the wibrain at 600$ is a great deal ..ok might sound alot for playing old games ..but you still get a complete computer for that price ..my 8800gts did cost me 605$ when it came out …now that was alot for gaming ..with the wibrain you get what you pay for a pc that fit in your pocket the quality is not as good a a oqo but overall for 600$ its a great deal
    if gaming is one of your main reasons to get a umpc go for this one.Trust me ..run gta3 on this and you’ll get alot of “wow factor” and you’ll look less silly controling this than trying to control gta3 with a oqo ;)

    Reply
  • Avatar of D3K17

    Even the name is ugly.

    Reply
  • Hello,

    Had to dig pretty deep to find this article..

    Since my employer sends me more and more on business trips, and pretty often i end in industrial zones, as to say in no (wo)men’s land, i was thinking about some mobile device to bring with me my addiction to Guild Wars.

    I don’t mind the look it has, nobody would see it in those dark places. Anyway I find it already has some vintage look, I like it.

    Anybody ever tried running Guild Wars on the Wibrain? Would it be appropriate for playing it, I would buy it now.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Reply
  • Pretty shallow review – and certainly coming from someone with a narrow-minded view of what a UMPC should achieve.

    For those of us who want to recapture our youth with classic games which are anti-Vista, anti-dual-core and anti-hyperthreading, this little PC ‘game-gear’ is heaven. Play System Shock 2 at your leisure… Or Heroes of Might and Magic 3 with touch-screen! Heck, throw in some Daggerfall on the move while you’re at it.

    By all means, if the hi-resolution strains your eyes, get a lower-spec UMPC. The rest of us will enjoy the benefits of running apps which ask for nothing less.

    Ideal for retro games to match its retro look (which is pretty comfy and functional).

    “the Intel A110+Vista combo is generally better”

    Vista, ha!
    Oh yes. Please give me more Vista(!).

    Reply
  • Wibrain B1H is very good umpc,it works all pc programs and plays pc games and emulators.

    Pc games it plays:

    Crazy taxi
    Sonic adventure DX
    sonic heroes
    Aliens vs predator 1,2
    chaos legion
    Max payne 1,2
    Street fighter alpha 1,2
    and many others.

    Pc emulators:

    Gens+ (plays genesis,32x,mega cd)
    Kawaks (plays Neo geo mvs,cps 1,2)
    Mame (pc version is the best,b1h plays it fast)
    cps 3 (stunning emu,must be played)
    Sega model 2 (not bad at all)
    Atari jaguar (good)
    Handhelds (game gear,lynx 2,neo geo pocket color,all are cool)
    and many others.
    Nintendo (Nes,Gbc,Gba,N64,are all awesome on wibrain)

    This umpc plays many pc games and emulators,so not bad at all and of course it`s a full pc in hand,no need for laptop.

    I`m selling my Wibrain very soon because i`m getting Viliv N5,one of the best umpc ever built and in design wise it`s really good looking.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Barbara Jeffares

    HOW MUCH DO YU WANT TO SELL IT?? LET ME KNOW, I AM LOOKING FOMR THEwIBRAIN.. THANKS,,

    Reply

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