Fidelity’s new netbook keeps it simple

Saturday, February 28th, 2009


Netbook VPC, Fidelity

Inspiron Mini 10, Dell

SideWinder X8 Mouse, Microsoft

G-Pen F509, Genius

Netbook VPC, Fidelity, $250

While most manufacturers are adding features and upping the size of their netbooks — and their prices — Fidelity Electronics is going the other direction. Its newly launched Fidelity Netbook VPC (for “Very Personal Computer”) is true to the mini-notebook origins, but it includes a spreadsheet, word processor, a media player for movies, music and photos, an e-book reader, dictionary, calendar, and other useful items. The display screen is among the smallest in netbooks, at seven inches (17.7 cm) and internal storage is only 2 GB. Its rechargeable battery has a three-hour life, and it has USB, SD and Ethernet ports. At a featherweight 1.5 pounds, it’s among the lightest netbooks out there. The new VPC is scheduled to start arriving on store shelves in March.

Inspiron Mini 10, Dell, $480

Dell’s Inspiron Mini 10 fills the niche between the company’s Mini 9 and Mini 12. On its arrival, it has most of the standard netbook features, but Dell is planning to add options later this year that could make the latest Mini an entertainment machine. Slightly heftier than its junior sibling, at 1.3 kilograms (or 2.86 pounds), it also comes with a larger keyboard at 92 per cent of a full-size one. Including features that are pretty much standard on the growing netbook lineups being rolled out by computer makers, it has built-in WiFi, Webcam, 1 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive, with Windows XP. It also comes with HDMI output, to be followed up with entertainment options for the Mini 10 later this year that include an internal digital TV tuner, HD resolution, and external USB DVD player options. You can also find out more by following Dell’s Canadian Dell sales on Twitter at

SideWinder X8 Mouse, Microsoft, $120

For gamers, Microsoft bills its latest in the SideWinder line as having the best frame rate, speed and acceleration on the market, with a tracking range from 250 dots per inch (dpi) to 4,000 dpi. It adds the BlueTrack technology of the Microsoft Explorer mouse and the Microsoft Explorer mini mouse that lets it work on virtually any surface. Combine that with 2.4 GHz wireless and up to 30 hours of game-playing time on a single charge, or use the play-and-charge cable.

G-Pen F509, Genius, $110 US

The latest in Genius’ digital tablets, the G-Pen comes with both Windows Vista and Mac software. Meant to make it easy to carry around, with a 13 cm-by-22 cm (5.25 inch-by-8.75 inch) working area, this makes a paperless solution for artists, sketchers, bloggers and others who want to use a digital pen.

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