More Impressions and Final ThoughtsI used the Neutrino on a regular basis for a few weeks, installing several commonly used programs like Winamp, AIM and Firefox. Everything worked as anticipated and with the Apex SSD installed, the unit proved to be the zippiest netbook I have used to date. You are, however, still limited by the lack of horsepower from the Atom processor, so tasks like watching HD video or doing any kind of moderate gaming are out of the question. But as far as surfing the web, watching SD videos, listening to music, chatting and e-mailing, the Neutrino performed exceptionally well.
The keyboard proved to be easy and enjoyable to type on, with the exception of the small Comma and Period keys that I mentioned earlier.
The screen quality on the Neutrino reminded me of that found on the Asus Eee PC 904HA. Colors, sharpness and brightness are good, but the quality of the screen itself seems to be lacking. Not to say it is bad, but it certainly isn’t the best I have seen on a netbook.
The 4-cell battery that shipped with the Neutrino was good for 2 hours and 21 minutes with half monitor brightness, Wi-Fi disabled and all other power saving features disabled while sitting idle at the Windows desktop. I expected more out of the 4-cell battery, as these results fall into the category of 3-cell units that I have looked at previously. Rumor has it that OCZ will be releasing a 6-cell battery soon, although it is unclear how much this will increase the price of the DIY kit.
Depending on your circumstances the Neutrino 10" could be a good value. If you already own a 2.5” HDD/SSD or notebook memory, you can use those and end up saving some money. It's a similar situation if you have an extra license for Windows XP or Vista, you can recycle that as well. Or if you plan to use Linux or Windows 7 RC, this won’t even be an issue.
If neither of the above is your case, you will have to spend additional funds for this. The Neutrino package sells for $280, Windows XP or Vista will set you back no less than $80, a 80GB HDD sells for $60 and a 2GB stick of memory is about $20. This means the Neutrino doesn't get an A for value.
At the end of the day, the Neutrino 10" netbook offers a good starter package and interesting proposition. You gain an extra degree of flexibility under OCZ's DIY scheme, but it's not quite there yet if you wish to pick the kind of screen, GPU or motherboard chipset you want to run.
|Pros: Ideal for when you have spare RAM or a hard drive. Good keyboard layout. 10” matte screen. Bluetooth / Wi-Fi / WiMAX connectivity. 34mm ExpressCard Slot.||Cons: Only 2 USB ports. Not quite DIY as we'd like to. Screen quality could be better. Value is on par or worse than OEM netbook.|