Monday, January 24, 2011

Vye Jolibook

We don’t often see a lot of variety when reviewing netbooks, as they all have similar components and near identical performance. The Vye Jolibook is a welcome change of pace; the hardware might be fairly standard but its Linux-based operating system stands out from the competition - and not just for its fun cartoon-adorned lid.

Vye Jolibook

Based on Ubuntu, arguably the most user-friendly version of linux, the Jolicloud OS uses an incredibly minimal custom interface centred on multiple home screens. Each one looks more like a smartphone than a computer desktop, with each large shortcut icon linking to one of the built-in applications.

OpenOffice, VLC media player and the Chromium web browser are all pre-installed, or you can add other software using the free app store. Many of the pre-installed apps are actually web shortcuts that link to popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter. There’s also a refreshing lack of bloatware that’s usually pre-installed on Windows-based machines. An anti-virus suite isn’t included, but as the Jolibook uses Linux there’s very little chance of picking up malware while browsing. The entire operating system syncs to online storage, so you can access your shortcuts and settings from any Jolibook, or any PC using Google Chrome.

Jolicloud OS desktop

The Jolicloud interface is ideally suited to use with a touchscreen, but the Jolibook is limited to keyboard and touchpad inputs. Larger hands will find it difficult to type on the keyboard as each key is very small and they are grouped closely together. The tiny touchpad is also difficult to use and flexes dramatically when applying pressure. The typing position is surprisingly comfortable, due to the way the cylindrical six-cell battery protrudes from the back of the otherwise slim netbook body.

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