Battle of the featherweight notebooks: Everex CloudBook vs. Asus Eee

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Taipei-based Asustek Computer Inc. proved that less can be more with its 2-lb., $400 Eee PC. Since then, other subnotebooks have followed (or are soon to follow) in the Eee's wake. However, only the Everex CloudBook has dared to take the Eee head-on, matching its weight, screen and keyboard size, as well as its reliance on the Linux operating system, open-source applications and a $400 price tag.

The excitement around the CloudBook's public unveiling at CES two months ago has deflated -- hurt by, among other things, a delayed release -- originally due to ship in January, it finally became available in mid-February.

When I first reviewed the Asus Eee, I was rather critical of its shortcomings, including the difficult keyboard, small display and mediocre battery life. Time has since mellowed my feelings -- and I've learned to work around the system's limitations, which were dictated by the machine's small size and low cost. The question is: Can I similarly forgive the CloudBook's faults and limitations?
Stats

The CloudBook comes equipped with a 1.2-GHz VIA C7-M processor and 512MB, DDR2, 533-MHz SDRAM. Unlike the Eee, which uses solid-state memory, the CloudBook offers a 30GB hard drive. Like the Eee, it offers a 7-in., 800- by 480-pixel display. Connections include an Ethernet port, a DVI port, two USB ports, audio line-out/line-in ports and a four-in-one media card reader. There's also 802.11g/b Wi-Fi and a 300KB pixel webcam. It operates on a four-cell Lithium-ion battery that is rated to offer 2.5 to 3 hours of use.

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