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FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review

FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The FIC Aqua Pad is mobile internet access device connected by a wireless PCMCIA card.
 83% Rating:   
Filed under: Notebooks Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: FIC Feb 05 2002   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Notebooks > FIC AquaPad

Features of the AquaPad

FIC AquaPad
Left Side Features

1. Internal Speaker: This small speaker supports audio from the web, and can be used to listen in to movie trailers, for example. Sound quality is relative to the 1" size of this speaker, so in other words it's pretty poor.

2. Volume Control: Press the top button to increase the volume of the speaker, and press the lower button to decrease the volume. The volume buttons control the sound level to both the speaker and the headphones. There is no visual representation of what the volume level is on the screen however.

3. Brightness Controls: Sometimes it's better to lower the brightness of the LCD panel to improve battery life and these are the buttons that will allow you adjust brightness settings, either up or down.

Right Side Features

4. Stylus Pen: This the stylus pen needed to use the touch panel. The pen is stored in an integrated compartment in the side of the AquaPad, much like a Palm might have, and clips securely into place. FIC only recommend using this stylus as it is undoubtedly designed to not damage the touch sensitive covering over the LCD panel.

5. Power: Slide the power up to turn the unit on, and slide it up and hold it for a while to turn the unit off. The delay to turn the unit off protects the AquaPad from inadvertently being shut down if the button is bumped by accident.

6. Microphone: Like most notebooks, there is a small built-in mono condenser microphone on the front of the unit.

Side Ports

1. DC Power: DC input for the AC-Adapter powerpack. The adapter is 100V-240V, 50-60Hz compatible so it can be used just about anywhere in the world provided the appropriate plug adapters are on hand. The AC-adaptor supplies the AquaPad with 12V, 3A so you can run the unit all day long without worrying about the battery running out. Battery life is roughly 3 hours, and charge time about 2 hours.

2. USB Ports: The two USB 1.1 ports are really useful if you want to plug in a keyboard and mouse. This is best done when the unit is not being held as a small door folds down to reveal all of these ports. We tested the unit with Mac USB keyboard and a Logitech USB mouse and had no problems.

3. Headphone Jack: The audio jack is ideally suited for small ear bud type headphones with minijacks. As the jack is located quite close to the top of the port bay, not all headphone jacks will fit. we first tried to connect a pair of Grado SR80's to the AquaPad, but the port was just too close to the side and they would not fit in.

When you have headphones that do fit, the AquaPad automatically cuts the sound to the built in speaker (whose quality is rather poor). The audio quality to headphones is really good, but the only controls you have are the two small buttons which control sound level. Since there is no hard drive in the AquaPad, your best chance to listen to a lot of music on the go is to stream it from the web using the Real Audio player that ships with Mozilla.

4. Stylus Pen: The stylus pen clips into this integrated bay when you don't need it so you don't loose it. The stylus is basically the same as what you would use with a Palm or Handspring. Since the screen is touch sensitive, you can use your finger tips if all else fails, but I wouldn't recommend using any other pointers which might damage the thin plastic sheet which lies over the screen.

Front Side

1. Stylus Pen: Yes this is the Stylus pen once more...

2. Expansion Socket: This expansion slot is used to plug in a Compact Flash Card Type II. Other than this card there is no other way to store data or files you may want to download from the internet. We tested the AquaPad with a card from a digital camera and were able to open up the images and view them on the AquaPad. A Compact Flash card will also come in handy when upgrading the OS/BIOS (CF cards range in size from 32MB-256MB). The OS runs off of a 32MB flash card on the inside of the unit, but it would be interesting to use an IBM micro drive inside, or in this expansion port for true storage.

3. PCMCIA Expansion Socket: Since this PCMCIA Type II slot is so central to the connectivity of the AquaPad we show it here with a Cisco Aironet 350 series 802.11b WLAN card. We had some problems with the little flap that protects the port coming off on one of the sides.

4. Infrared Port: The IrDA port provides another means to transfer data from the AquaPad. The IrDA port is capable of 4Mbps transfer rates.

5. Battery Compartment: Inside this bump which doubles as a hand hold, is the AquaPad's 3200mAH 7.4V 4-cell Lithium battery. The recharger is integrated into the AquaPad, so to recharge the battery which lasts about 3 hours in normal conditions, you simply plug in the AC-Adpator. We have no information at this time on how much replacement batteries cost.

Rear Side

1. Cradle Connector: The cradle connector is only used if you happen to have the optional cradle for the AquaPad. A small sliding door protects the connector when you don't need it (and 99% of the time you won't need it). The cradle quickly recharges the unit, while keeping it in a nice upright position if you want to connect a USB keyboard and mouse for example.

Note the trap door for the USB ports is open in this picture, illustrating how it gets in the way when open. For example if you wanted to listen to some streaming audio while walking around you would have to pull the flap down first. The AquaPad is 25mm thick at the screen, and just over 30mm thick at the battery. The unit is 274mm long.

Bottom Side

1. Ports Cover: This flap folds down to give you access to all the ports and power connectors on the AquaPad.

2. Battery Compartment: The battery flat folds open to reveal the Lithium battery below that powers the FIC AquaPad. The battery lasts about 3 hours while surfing the web, and takes about 2 hours to fully recharge.

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Contents of Article: FIC AquaPad
 Pg 1.  FIC Midori Linux AquaPad - Extensive Review
 Pg 2.  — Features of the AquaPad
 Pg 3.  Inside the FIC AquaPad
 Pg 4.  Getting the Internet into the AquaPad
 Pg 5.  Online Midori Linux Updates
 Pg 6.  Onscreen Menus and Features
 Pg 7.  Internet Compatibility Tests & Conclusions

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