"Exactly what I expected-- imperfect but a lot of fun"3.5 starson by mibfto
Pros: absolutely gorgeous screen, lightweight, fast, large harddrive, hardware feels excellent
Cons: DuoStage isn't great, the speakers are a little lame
Summary: I've had this unit for about 18 hours. So far I'm very happy, but it's not the be-all-end all of what this unit could be.
First and foremost, the unit feels solid and well built. All the reviews say the same thing, but it's worth reiterating because of the unique form factor. I have absolutely zero concerns about busting the rotating mechanism.
The keyboard is exactly what I expected. Having never used a netbook extensively before, I wasn't sure if I would have trouble typing on a scaled down keyboard, but my worrying was for naught. I'm still making little adjustments but all in all it's been a smooth transition.
It does not have a billion ports. Personally, every computer I've ever had has had HDMI, SD reader, four or five USBs, a microphone jack (who uses such a thing anymore on a laptop??), etc. This has none of that. I don't need it, I never used anything but the headphone jack and the USBs on anything else, and I won't need it on this. I don't see why anyone would want to bulk up such an adorable little device with such things when, if you need them, they're almost all available as USB devices.
Part of why I bought this netbook instead of something else is that it's impossible to get the 2GB of memory in the price range, size and screen resolution this came in at. And with 280 some GB of storage it is not strictly a peripheral device, either, though it could be.
This is not a workhorse computer. It is not an iPad.
The only accessory I've purchased for it is an external optical drive. I could have done without-- the optical drive on my last laptop was broken for about 18 months and it only caused a problem for me maybe three times-- but I got a good deal on a nice slim LG drive and couldn't pass it up.
Video playback-- I watched some Netflix Streaming on it-- is a lot jumpy at first, but cleared up nicely.
The speakers on the unit are pretty lame. You can't have much ambient noise around you while you're listening to something. I haven't plugged in headphones yet, I'm sure that'll be just fine.
DuoStage is pretty lame. I've heard you can re-layer the icons to link to whatever program you choose rather than the stock programs, but I haven't gotten too deep into that yet. Here's hoping, because I will never use the stock programs.
I'm a casual user. I internet, I use documents, I play a couple of games, I stream a few videos, I listen to music. I don't code, or play intense games like WoW or whatever, I don't have a huge library of music, video and photos (my iTunes library comes in at under 40GB). If any of these things applied to me-- or if I were under the impression that the Duo was an iPad killer-- I'd be disappointed, I suspect. But for me, it's perfect, and I love the form factor.
I have two complaints about the build itself: one is that there's no dent in the clamshell to put your thumb in to make opening it easier. And two is that the cover on the back hiding the manufacturers stickers and the SIM card slot is positioned in such a fashion that I've accidentally opened it a number of times when moving around my closed Duo. That really needs to be in a different spot, or harder to take off. But those complaints are minor, and overall I'm pleased. I would recommend this unit to any casual user who wants a higly portable netbook that's got more kick and flash than most in it's class.