This weekend I established a new personal record – that of returning a machine within mere hours of purchasing it.
It has a pretty decent Portuguese keyboard (with disappointingly small cursor keys), comes with a 160GB HD, and there are a bazillion hackintosh enthusiasts that swear by it, so I thought “what the hell” and brought one home1 only to discover that the touchpad on it is absolutely atrocious.
For some reason, the thing is shipped with a Sentellic touchpad and Synaptics drivers pre-loaded, which doesn’t work out very well. To worsen things, the importer/integrator sticks a “made in Portugal” sticker onto it, which makes me wonder why they haven’t fixed this before the machines reached the stores.
But even if you dig around and find and install the Sentellic drivers (a feat unto itself) to tweak the touchpad settings, you’ll soon find that there is no drag scroll – the thing scrolls by tapping the corners of the touchpad, not by dragging your finger – like pretty much ever single touchpad I ever used on a laptop.
The UK forums are crawling with complaints regarding the Advent 4211 (same machine, different name), so it wasn’t hard to confirm that there were other issues with the touchpad.
Which was a shame. The machine is small and light (only a couple of centimeters larger than the Acer Aspire One) and there were a few nice touches (for instance, the restore software is shipped in an SD card instead of on a CD), but there was no way I was going to use a machine with such a poor touchpad.
I ended up exchanging it for another Eee 901. Despite my extensive criticism of its rather shameful keyboard, I have been using a 701 for months now, and with my previous gifts of a couple to family, will surely be able to find a home for it if something better comes along.
Like, say, those new Macs that are supposedly due in a few days or so.
And I will surely write up a review on it – my Dad brought me his on Thursday to have a look at (XP seems to be misbehaving), so I have two to fiddle with for a few days.
1 No, I haven’t quite gotten over netbooks yet. These things are getting insidiously popular, and no matter how much you think you don’t really need one, the truth is that there is entirely too much going on in this space for anyone related to tech to dismiss it out of hand…