LinuxReviewsUMPC

Review: Aigo P8860 MID

Aigo_p8860_review

Launched in China in early August, the Aigo P8860 recently became the first (and currently only) Intel MID to be available worldwide. With the help of the Atom-powered device’s first official reseller, Direct from Japan, the P8860 is now shipping to destinations all over the world.

Should your mailbox be its next stop? It’s a loaded question with a complicated answer that you’ll only find below.

System Specifications

CPU:
800MHz Intel Atom Z500
Storage: 4GB SSD with microSD expansion card slot
RAM: 512MB DDR2
OS: Midinux for Aigo
Display: 4.8” touchscreen (800 x 480)
Wireless: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0, GPS
Size: 6.0" x 3.1" x 0.9"
Weight: 10.6 ounces

Box Contents

Aigo_mid_contents

Included with the MID are an AC adapter, carrying case (high quality, lightly padded, magnetic closure), English quick start guide, cleaning cloth, earphones with built-in mic, USB 2.0 cable, and recovery DVD.

It’s a nice set of accessories and should be sufficient for most users to begin using/traveling with the device right away. Nothing spoils the unboxing experience like knowing you’ll have to leave your new gadget at home because it only charges via USB or doesn’t come with a protective case.

Design

Although I was incredibly underwhelmed by the P8860 hardware when I first unboxed it (I believe I used the words "big, thick, and cheap"), the plastic casing and creaking sounds it makes when just being picked up and held stopped bothering me within a few hours of actually using the MID. Today, after about two weeks of daily use, I still believe the device feels cheaply made, but it’s undeniably portable and lightweight. It’s bigger than I expected, yes, but it’s considerably smaller and more pocketable than other devices with comparable capabilities and potential.

Even though the Aigo MID’s rectangular slider design isn’t new or innovative (as I said before, it looks very similar to the Nokia N810) and I don’t care for the materials, the device still manages to look fairly stylish with its subtle curves and smooth/glossy plastic.

Size

Aigo_p8860_quarter

Size comparisons are a common topic around here, so here are a few photos of the P8860 next to a few of my other gadgets to put the MID into some context.

Aigo_p8860_sliders

Clockwise from top left: Sony Vaio UX180P, Aigo P8860, Nokia N810, Sony mylo COM-1, Sony mylo COM-2.

Aigo_p8860_comp

Left to right: Sony Vaio UX180P, Aigo P8860, Nokia N800, Nokia N810, Sony mylo COM-2, Sony mylo COM-2.

Aigo_p8860_slates

Left to right: Aigo P8860, Nokia N810, Archos 5, iPhone 3G, first-gen iPhone, first-gen iPod touch.

Aigo_p8860_umpc1

Aigo_p8860_umpc2

Left to right, bottom to top: HTC Shift X9500, Willcom D4 (with extended battery), Sony Vaio UX180P, Aigo P8860.

Display

The P8860 has a 4.8-inch passive touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 480. It’s bright and colorful and is a great size for enjoyable media playback. Viewing angles are very good from the front, left, right, and top, but are rather poor from the bottom. Tilting the device beyond a 90-degree angle (away from you) results in a darkened, slightly negatived screen.

Controls

Aside from the keyboard (discussed in its own section below), the touchscreen is the primary way to control the device. The screen responds well to finger tips and very well to the included stylus. Fingerprints are an issue, but they’re easy enough to wipe away with the supplied cloth or whatever you’re wearing.

Navigation would be a bit easier with a trackstick/pointer, as it would allow the MID to always be held between both hands, but the unit is so lightweight that having to hold it in one hand while the other interacts with the screen isn’t a problem.

What was that? You thought the silver circle to the right of the display was an optical mouse or pointer? Don’t be embarrassed. I thought that too.

Aigo_p8860_smartkey

But no, instead of using that space for a navigational control, the manufacturers opted for a round Smart Key surrounded by a ring that glows blue when touched.

Aigo_p8860_smartmenu

Touching the Smart Key calls up the Smart Menu, which slides out from the right and provides shortcut icons to the brightness settings, task manager, connection manager, and power options. While I like being able to access these items quickly, I’m not sure why a simple Fn key combination wasn’t mapped to launch the Smart Menu instead. The menu doesn’t need an entire hardware key dedicated to it; a mouse pointer would have made better use of the space (think iriver W7, but better).

Let’s take a look at the rest of the hardware before moving on to the keyboard.

Aigo_p8860_right

On the right side of the Aigo MID are the power LED indicator (green = on, orange = charging, blinking orange = low battery), external GPS antenna connector, and internet connection LED indicator (blue = connected).

Aigo_p8860_bottom

The power port, microphone, and sliding hold/power switch are on the bottom of the unit.

Ai go_p8860_top

On the top are a covered mini USB 2.0 port and microSD card slot, volume button, covered USB 2.0 host port, headphone jack, and a camera shutter button for the 3-megapixel rear camera that is not on the P8860 (it’s on other models and rebrands like the Gigabyte M528; the P8860 has only a 300K-pixel webcam on the front).

The mini USB port allows the MID to be connected to a PC, but transfer speeds are appallingly slow. I connected the device to my Vaio TZ and saw transfer rates of a 700MB video file peak at only 943KB/s.

Aigo_p8860_back

And finally, a loudspeaker (very loud!), removable battery cover, stylus slot, and reset pinhole are on the back of the device.

Keyboard

The display slides up with some guidance (it’s not spring-loaded) to reveal a 48-key backlit QWERTY keyboard.

Aigo_p8860_kb1

The keys have a matte, almost powder-like finish and are evenly sized (except for the space bar) at about 1 cm apiece. Though this is a nice size, thumb typing is made difficult by the lack of space between the keys and the proximity of the top row and the bottom of the screen bezel. The Nokia N810 keyboard has smaller keys but is plagued with these same issues. The size of the Aigo P8860’s keys results in fewer mispresses, which is good, but the top row is actually a teensy bit closer to the bezel than the N810’s, making bumping into it much more of a problem (for me, anyway) when thumb typing.

Aigo_p8860_kb2

What happens to me is that my fingernails, which I had to cut short to type at all on this keyboard, actually get "caught" in that little crack between the thick white bezel and the thin layer of silver beneath it. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s often enough for me to notice.

It’s difficult to make out in the photos, but each key is ever-so-slightly raised. It feels like small round buttons are underneath the keys, centered to provide optimal tactile feedback when pressed. For a set of keys that are so flat and lay so flush against the casing, feedback really is quite excellent. My only complaint is the space bar. It’s twice as big as the rest of the keys and therefore has two "small round buttons" beneath it: one on the left side, and one on the right. This leaves the middle of the space bar (where my thumbs naturally try to press) almost completely flat. Pressing this area provides virtually no feedback and slows down typing because I can’t tell whether or not the keystroke has registered. The space bar isn’t big enough for my thumbs to "stay on their side," so to speak; they both aim for the middle.

Other factors that contribute to compromised typing are the single left Shift key and lack of a Sticky Keys feature, which make capitalizing "left-hand letters" very difficult. The left thumb is already occupied with holding down the Shift key, so unless you use the caps lock key (and can remember to "unlock" it immediately after use) instead, you’ll need to stretch your right thumb across the entire keyboard just to start a sentence with a capital A.

Because of these issues, my thumb-typing speed (after two weeks of regular practice) is only 35% of my touch-typing speed on a full-size keyboard. You can see from my mobile device keyboard typing speeds chart that this is the same rate that I was typing on the iPhone and Nokia N810 (also after two weeks of practice). Continued use of the MID would yield improved results, but as shown in the chart, the Aigo’s keyboard is one of the worst for me. Your mileage may vary.

User Interface

Preinstalled on the P8860 is the Midinux for Aigo operating system (version AG.030.5002). It is designed as a self-contained, closed system so unless you hack it (see "Hackability" section below), what you see is what you get. You cannot uninstall existing programs or install additional ones; everything that comes with the MID stays on the MID.

Aigo_p8860_ui

So aside from four seasonal themes ("Summer" is shown throughout this review) and a row of five user-selectable shortcuts, the user interface looks like this.

Aigo_p8860_statbar

At the top of the home screen is the status bar. Tapping the icons brings up a window that allows you to change settings and view additional information. From left to right: task switch, USB, Bluetooth, wi-fi, volume, battery, time, and keyboard language layout.

Aigo_p8860_widgets

On the opposite side of a large, glassy clock are a stack of three widgets: calendar, to-do list, and slideshow. Tapping an icon will open the respective widget and expand the translucent "dock" to display its contents.

Aigo_p8860_ui_quickmenu

The lower half of the interface is dedicated to the main toolbar (bottom row) and the quick menu above it. The main toolbar includes nine application sets (internet, communication, media center, games, navigation, my financing, business center, tools, and system config), only five of which can be displayed at the same time. To view more app groups, you can drag your finger or the stylus across the toolbar or simply tap/press the bumpy-looking arrows on either end.

Tapping any group’s icon will open a black pop-up panel containing applications in the top half of the screen. For example, the media center group includes a video player, music player, photo viewer, PPLive, camera (webcam), and ebook reader. These icons can be dragged into the quick menu, the static row of five apps above the main toolbar. Shown in the above photo: dragging the ebook reader icon to the quick menu.

Even though the interface is responsive, easy to use, and not bad to look at, I still find it too rudimentary for my personal taste, especially compared to some of the UIs on other MIDs.

Applications

As mentioned earlier, the only way to get rid of or add new applications to the Aigo MID is to hack the OS (or install a completely new one; again, see "Hackability" section below). Since not everyone has the skill set or interest to stray from a system’s factory state, most consumers will leave the P8860 as is and either enjoy, tolerate, or ignore the following preloaded applications/utilities (listed by application group):

  • Internet: Coolfox browser (discussed separately below)
  • Communication: Pidgin IM, Tencent QQ (Chinese IM)
  • Media Center: Video player (XviD, DivX, and 480p HD H.264 play well; 720p and 1080p are a no-go), music player, photo viewer, PPLive (Chinese P2PTV), cam era, ebook reader
  • Game: OurGame (Chinese online games)
  • Navigation: GPS
  • My Financing: stocks, Alipay (Chinese version of PayPal)
  • Business Center: EIOffice (word processor, spreadsheets, presentations), mail/contact, PDF reader, calendar, audio recorder, dictionary, to-do list
  • Tools: File manager (photo below), calculator, microSD card manager
  • System Config: Connection, language, system info, sound setting, power, time config, theme, connect to PC, touchscreen calibration

Aigo_p8860_filem

The default software may not be the best in its class, but the range is fairly complete. A flexible user who isn’t already devoted to another title or too picky will find that nothing truly essential is missing. The Aigo P8860 wouldn’t necessarily be able to replace a laptop (it wasn’t designed to), but for a certain user it could on short business trips, for weekend getaways, and during commutes. In other words, while it would be great to be able to install third-party apps onto the MID by default (i.e., without hacking), not being able to do so won’t be an automatic deal breaker for everyone across the board.

Connectivity

The P8860 doesn’t not have built-in 3G, so the only way to get online is via Bluetooth DUN (PAN doesn’t seem to work) or wi-fi.

Aigo_p8860_comm

The connection manager, though basic, is adequate for enabling/disabling wireless radios and controlling wi-fi settings.

Bluetooth

The Aigo P8860 MID uses BlueSoleil as its Bluetooth software. I can’t find a complete list of supported profiles anywhere, but according to what BlueSoleil lists under services, the device only supports the file transfer, object transfer, and serial port profiles. This is obviously an incomplete list, as DUN and HID have also been proven to work, but I guess it’s a start. I would assume that the headset profile is also supported; after several unsuccessful attempts at pairing my Aliph Jawbone headset, however, I can’t confirm that it is.

Internet (Coolfox)

In addition to being unable to connect the P8860 to my Bluetooth headset, I also can’t connect to my home router (802.11g with WPA2-PSK security). I’ve explained the issue in the forum and have also contacted Aigo directly about it, but to no avail. The MID just won’t connect. Fortunately for this review, it has no problem connecting to other networks in my area.

Once an internet connection is established, the Coolfox browser takes over (after you launch it, of course).

Aigo_p8860_web

Coolfox is believed to be a slimmed-down version of Firefox. There’s nothing particularly extraordinary about it, but it works well and is fine if you lack the know-how or interest in hacking the OS to install something better like real Firefox. I’d be happier with Fennec as the default browser, personally, but considering that it’s still only in alpha, that obviously isn’t a viable option at this time.

Tabbed browsing, Flash, javascript, pop-up blocker, copy-and-paste, and drag scrolling are all native features of Coolfox, so the internet experience on the P8860 is considerably fuller than on other devices. But it’s not without its shortcomings.

Aigo_p8860_web_fs

For one thing, full-screen mode (above) isn’t really full screen because the tab and navigation bars are both fixed in their locations.

Aigo_p8860_web_tabs

And if you encounter a web page that has been optimized for resolutions higher than 800 x 480, then you’ve got a horizontal scroll bar to contend with as well. These three bars (scroll, tab, nav) take up one-fifth of the screen!

Aigo_p8860_web_nav

The fact that the navigation and tab bars cannot be hidden makes the inclusion of navigational controls in the menu rather curious.

That said, Coolfox is a good browser. It loads pages quickly (see page load times in my P8860 vs Archos 5 article) and renders them exactly as they should be. YouTube and UStream play relatively well, but full-screen YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, and Blip videos are often unwatchable because of dropped frames and stuttering.

Hackability

One major advantage that the Aigo MID has over non-Intel "MIDs" is that in the right hands, it is extremely hackable. P8860 owners have already made great strides in opening up the system, loading applications from the Fedora 7 repositories, and even installing other operating systems (e.g., Ubuntu, UME, XP, and almost Vista).

At the time of this writing, Aigo is preparing the release of an official set of XP drivers. Some owners have already come very close to getting a fully functional XP onto their MIDs (the biggest sticking point has been the touchscreen), but these drivers are obviously highly anticipated and can’t be released soon enough.

Aigo_p8860_ux1

Aigo_p8860_ux2

When the drivers do become available, the Aigo P8860 may very well be the smallest/lightest XP machine around. The only XP-based UMPC I have is the Sony Vaio UX180P (512MB RAM just like the P8860) and as you can plainly see above, it’s nearly twice as thick as the Aigo. Even though I prefer Vista over XP (yeah, the cheese stands alone), the mere thought of being able to have a full-blown Windows OS on something of this size makes me giddy.

Battery Life

The Aigo P8860 is powered by a removable lithium polymer battery (3.7V, 2700mAh) estimated to be good for 3 to 5 hours of use, depending on various settings and factors. With the screen set at mid-brightness (level 4 of 7), I got just under 3 hours of wi-fi time browsing the web and watching a few online videos. Doing less intense activities like emailing or reading the news on a lower brightness setting could probably push wi-fi runtime closer to 4 hours.

Conclusion

The Aigo P8860 is a complex device with a target audience that is difficult to define.

On the one hand, it’s a consumer-oriented gadget that provides everything the average user needs to stay connected, be productive, and be entertained with little compromise. Unfortunately, these same users could fail to see the difference between the P8860’s capabilities and their current smart/feature phone’s functions. They may be able to identify cert ain differences (e.g., Flash support, higher resolution screen, etc.), sure, but it is unlikely that these differences would outweigh the inconvenience of carrying two devices.

More technologically savvy users, on the other hand, will be better able to appreciate the technology involved in shrinking an x86-based system to this size. They could happily adopt a two-device strategy while on the go, but may be frustrated at the closed nature of the MID’s operating system, unimpressed with its hardware, and unsatisfied with the available software.

Then there’s the small percentage of expert users who will unbox the P8860 with pure delight and hack its software (and maybe even its hardware) without abandon. This is the group that is currently finding the unit most appealing. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with Intel MIDs being niche devices, marketing a product whose most exciting feature is its potential is a hard sell. It’s absolutely fantastic that the P8860 can be made into much more than it is, but most people would rather purchase a device that "just works," not one that can work really well with the right modifications.

Without its potential, where would the Aigo P8860 be?

The Aigo P8860 MID is available now for $699 at Direct from Japan.

Visit the Aigo MID forum to get help, share tips, and chat with other Aigo P8860 owners.

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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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27 thoughts on “Review: Aigo P8860 MID

  • Avatar of B.Factor

    Jenn,

    Thanks for the review, it looks like you are the first with a complete review of the Aigo P8860. So when all is said and done, how would you rank your devices for their overall mobile browsing experience? I’m particularly interested in the Aigo, N810, and Archos 5. Also am curious if you have had any experience with the Fujitsu u820. Thank you!

    B. Factor

    Reply
  • I enjoy the Archos 5 more, but I think the Aigo is the better device overall. Even though I don’t like Coolfox very much, the P8860 offers a browsing experience that is closer to the desktop than the Archos, N810, and any other mobile device that isn’t a UMPC, really. It isn’t as fun for me, personally, but it’s far more capable than anything else right now. Hack the OS to install desktop Firefox and the Aigo is the unequivocal winner among non-UMPCs.

    I haven’t tried the U820/U2010 but I own the U810. Since that is a UMPC, it natively runs a desktop browser, which of course blows mobile browsers out of the water.

    Are you thinking about buying something?

    Reply
  • Avatar of turn.self.off

    heh, non-intel mid’s less hackable?

    you have not spent much time over at internettablettalk have you?

    Reply
  • Avatar of John in Norway

    Thankyou so much for the review, Jenn. As I have no way of trying this in person can you answer some questions for me (I haven’t even seen any of the gadgets in your size comparison in real life!):

    1. Does the carry case have a belt clip?
    2. Is the charger wall plug universal?
    3. Can the redundant camera button be used for something else?
    4. I’ve read in a forum that the hand writing recognition is usuable. Have you tried it?
    5. Wifi range?
    6. Is the screen viewable outdoors in sunlight?

    Thanks in anticipation
    John

    Reply
  • When people hack XP onto it, it may become the lightest Windows machine around. The Aigo P8860 won’t be the smallest Windows machine around though. It’s about the same size as the OQO Model 02, and a little larger than the OQO Model 01.

    That also means “considerably smaller and more pocketable than other devices with comparable capabilities and potential” is literally true but somewhat misleading, as you don’t compare it to either OQO device in your review. Of course, if you don’t have an OQO device you can hardly do that. (You don’t mention that there is a more capable device in the same form factor either though. Hence, this comment.)

    Now, the OQO Model 02 is significantly more expensive than the Aigo. Perhaps it’s not fair to compare the two since they seem, to me anyway, to be aimed at two very different markets. (The Model 01 is, or perhaps was, available for really cheap though.) However, if the question is merely one of size and capability, then you might as well, especially since you compare it against the Sony UX.

    BTW, Aigo’s website says that the P8860 also includes handwriting recognition software. I thought that was really interesting.

    Reply
  • Avatar of John in Norway

    JC: I have the OQO 02 and while it was a fantastic device when it came out, it does have problems. This Aigo has at least 2 big advantages over the OQO (if/when they get XP on it): Heat and noise, or lack thereof. And I believe the Aigo is lighter. And a lot cheaper. The biggest downside seems to be the keyboard, which IMHO, is as good as it gets on the OQO 02.

    Jenn: I forgot to ask: What are the start up and shut down times. Does it have standby/hibernate?

    Reply
  • Avatar of dkarale

    Love the reviews on pocketables.com. Jen always provides a very detail and informative reviews. Jen, what camera do you use to shot those photos? they are very good and clear.

    Reply
  • Avatar of ArchiMark

    Jenn,

    Given your fairly negative initial reaction to the Aigo, I’m not surprised at your review and is certainly your perogative…

    However, it reminds me of the way potential buyer couples look at a house to buy….

    If in the first 30 seconds of seeing the house or walking inside the front door, they have a negative vibe, they will almost always spend the rest of the house tour confirming their negative viewpoint; ie, look at that horrible carpet, paint color, etc…

    On the other hand, if they have an initial positive reaction, they will spend the rest of the tour, negating any potential negative comments as in if one half of the couple says, look at that awful carpet or paint color, the other half says, “don’t worry, we can re-carpet or repaint, etc….

    The point is that the glass can either be half full or half empty….so, you can spin the situation either way…

    So, a few points for everyone to remember, as I’ve had mine now for about a month:

    1. The Aigo P8860 is NOT a device that was intended by Aigo to reach European or North American marketplace. It is designed and marketed in specific Asian markets.

    So, since it wasn’t designed for us, it’s hard to expect it to meet all of our needs out of the box…

    2. Given the marketplace is WAS designed for, it was priced accordingly and thus certain hardware/software compromises were made to achieve that goal. It is much less expensive than other devices such as the Sony UX and the OQO, etc…so hard to expect that it would have the same kind of build quality.

    Now, before, I get flamed for the above (heat shields turn on now…), please note that I am not an apologist for Aigo and I’m not saying that the device does not have it faults, as it does, just that it should be seen in the proper context…

    So, the way I’d sum up the Aigo is as follows:

    It’s a great little pocketable (without case on) computer that comes with almost all the types of software that most people would want to at least have one of out of the box.

    Unfortunately, in order to hit the relatively low price point a few compromises were made in the hardware/build. It does creak a little bit when using/typing on it. Typing is OK, display is bright and sharp, and it’s pretty responsive when using it.

    One surprise is that Aigo did not include an ‘Add/Remove Program’ app, which limits the ability to customize the Aigo further. However, there is a very easy hack available that adds this feature and as well as unlocks other hidden features on the Aigo.

    XP drivers will be available very soon that will allow users to install XP and add whatever Windows apps they choose.

    So, in the end you get what you pay for….if you want a new small, moderately priced MID then you can consider the Aigo or you could get a used older model OQO. Otherwise, you’re probably looking at spending more $’s to get a similar type device with a slightly better hardware build.

    Anyway, just my 2¢….

    ;-)

    Reply
  • I tend to agree with you about the devices target audience. I cant quite see what an MID offers in (P8860 specifically and MIDs overall) that present generation smart phones cant offer. The MID concept was really cool when it was first presented, but now that the multi-function phone is becoming more prevalent and cheaper.

    Actually, for that matter, it seems that someone who wanted portability could just pickup the everpopular netbook for about half the cost and get more performance. I just dont see the market.

    Reply
  • @ turn.self.off: No one’s gotten XP or partial Vista running on the N810 yet, right? ;-)

    @ John:

    1. No, the carry case is just a flat-backed pouch.
    2. The charger is universal, but I only got the US adapter plug in my box so I don’t know if others are available.
    3. I haven’t found a way to remap any of the hardware buttons, but reassigning the camera button to something else may be possible once you hack into the system. You may want to pop into the forum for that.
    4. Handwriting is okay, but obviously not the best because of the passive screen. I’m not big on inking, so it’s a feature I don’t use at all.
    5. Wifi range is fine. It picked up 7 networks when my Vaio TZ picked up 10. Signal strength could use a boost; for my home router (the one it can’t connect to), it shows a strength of 64 (I’m assuming this number is out of 100, but I could be wrong; 64 is the highest I’ve ever seen).
    6. The screen is fairly usable outdoors. It’s quite reflective, but you can still see everything.

    Your other questions:
    Cold start-up takes ~35 seconds
    Shutdown takes ~17 seconds
    Suspend/Standby takes about ~8 seconds
    Awaken/Resume takes ~8 seconds

    Reply
  • Avatar of B. Factor


    …. Are you thinking about buying something?

    Yes, I would like to buy a device for quick surfing around the house. Turn on, answer a question on wikipedia, adjust my neflix queue, watch a video review on youtube, and then turn it off. What would you recommend?

    Reply
  • @ JC: Ah, I’ve used both OQOs but don’t own either of them so I couldn’t sneak them into any of the pictures for a size comparison. Does anyone out there have the 01+, 02, and Aigo? I can see from the dimensions that the Aigo is shorter (width-wise), thinner, and lighter than the 02, and lighter and the same thickness as the 01+ (basically, then, it’s longer (length-wise) than both), but I’d love to see it in person. Sizeasy doesn’t cut it for me. ;-)

    The UX is the only XP machine I have, so I included it in the hackability section just as a reference point.

    @ dkarale: I use a Canon DSLR and a Sony Cyber-shot. The DSLR drives me crazy most of the time because it can’t focus on objects the Cyber-shot has no problem with. I need a better lens, too. The Sony kind of wipes the floor with the Canon in macro and magnifying-glass mode.

    @ ArchiMark: Hmm. It’s funny that you took it as being overly negative because Steve Paine said I was being too kind. I actually made it a point to mention the positive and negative aspects about each feature (e.g., keyboard: good tactile feedback, bad typing experience; display: good colors and brightness, bad viewing angle from bottom; apps: good range, bad locked-down choices). In fact, looking it over again right now, I don’t think there’s any section that is filled with only negative or positive comments. The keyboard section is probably the most negative, but that’s because the Aigo’s keyboard really is one of the worst mobile device keyboards I’ve ever used.

    What it comes down to for me is that P8860 is kind of lost. I think it wants to be embraced by the masses, but is only being heralded by advanced/expert users who value its potential. This is generally true of the N810 as well, I guess, as the people who are getting the most out of it aren’t mainstream consumers.

    Reply
  • Avatar of John in Norway

    Thanks for all your answers, Jenn, I appreciate it. I’m all for getting this but I have certain reservations about the keyboard and having to use the touchscreen for navigation. If only I could try one in person.

    Reply
  • @ B. Factor: What’s your budget?

    @ John: Stay tuned, then, as I may be announcing something that could make that possible in the next few weeks. ;-)

    Reply
  • Avatar of B. Factor

    @ Jenn: I want the best solution regardless of price :)

    Reply
  • Avatar of turn.self.off

    and why on earth would anyone even bother to try getting windows going on a N810?

    what i see as hacks are things like the usb host mode on the 810, not slapping XP or osx on something that just a x86 laptop in a new case.

    Reply
  • So what’s the word on video calling? Is Skype pre-installed? How do we use the webcam and video calling features?

    Reply
  • @ B. Factor: Do you want something portable so that you can take it with you wherever you go, or are you looking for something that will never the house? What kind of form factor and screen size are you interested in? Without knowing these answers and based solely on your previously mentioned requirements, my top recommendations would be the Fujitsu U810 (or U820/U2010), Aigo P8860, Nokia N810, and OQO Model 02.

    @ turn.self.off: Same reasons people want to put XP on the Aigo, I guess: because they can, because they want full Windows functionality/compatibility, and maybe just for fun. I understand why you define “hacking” the way you do (and the USB host mode is a really good one!), but I think it’s acceptable to use the term to refer to OS installs. I see it all the time when someone gets OS X running on a PC.

    The Aigo is hackable in other ways too, though, as jkk added 3G to it. I thought I heard him say something about possibly adding a bigger SSD in it too, but I don’t remember for sure. Whether these types of mods would appeal to owners of other devices or not, they still make the Aigo more hackable than non-Intel MIDs like the Archos 5, ITs, etc.

    @ Arhythmatik: All of the preinstalled apps are listed in the “Applications” section of the review. Skype works when XP is installed. Other than that, there’s no way to make video calls with the default OS (none that I could find, anyway). As far as I can tell, the webcam out-of-the-box is worthless unless you want to take pictures and videos of yourself to send to someone later.

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  • Avatar of John in Norway

    ‘Stay tuned, then, as I may be announcing something that could make that possible in the next few weeks. ;-)’

    I hope it’s a free holiday in Hawaii! I promise to bring my OQO and E90 for comparison purposes.

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  • Ooh, that’s another good one, turn.self.off! Show me an internal 3G mod and XP installed and I promise to concede. ;-)

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  • Avatar of B. Factor

    @Jenn: Which is best for portable hotspot browsing and which is best for couch browsing? (I’m surprised you didn’t put the Archos 5 in your list.)

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  • Warning: some Aigo agents have been trying to give a false info about XP. The truth is: some key XP drivers are still not available. Don’t believe “coming soon”, it’s been “soon” or “next week” for 3 months now! Make sure you have XP drivers in your hands before buy it, because only Intel can provide these drivers. If Intel for whatever reason does not release these drivers, you’ll never have them! So far, Intel has not confirmed that it will.

    And if without XP, why you want this other than the ARM based MIDs such as Nokia and Sony for half the price?

    Intel: are you stupid or what?

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  • @ B. Factor: Do you mind if we continue this discussion in the Pocketables Forum? You can start a new thread there and solicit the opinions/thoughts of other members too.

    Oh, and I didn’t mention the Archos because it only has a virtual keyboard. Since you’re looking for something to edit Wikipedia entries with, I figured a hardware keyboard might be better. :-)

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  • Avatar of Dave P

    To my mind, the Aigo falls into a middle ground where it will ultimately fail. As a MID, it seems too big. I think the iPhone/iTouch is a perfect form factor for audio and video playback with cramped but usable surfing. For productive work on the cheap, netbooks offer more and most don’t require hacking to install a real office suite (like OpenOffice) or other useful Linux programs. For Windows computing, the specs are just too low. I’ll put up with the noise and heat in order to get the power to run Vista with Acrobat Pro or OneNote or a Lotus Notes client.

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  • Avatar of

    I see Aigo P8860 has GPS capability but don’t see any review about the GPS software or the function of it. One of the major reasons I am going to buy either P8860 or M528 over other MIDs or UMPC is GPS but couldn’t find any review on this. Nokia N810 has a built in GPS but it is horrible. It takes about 5 minutes to get linked to the satellites. Does anybody know the website where I can find the review about P8860 GPS?

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