The Dreamnovia Dreambook Netbook

At a mere seven inches, the Dreamnovia Dreambook barely qualifies as a netbook. But, what a qualification! The size and specs put it close to the category of PDA, but one that is definitely at the high end, both in size and functionality. Think of it as a baby laptop, a laptot.

The Dreambook runs either a version of Linux or Windows CE on an Xburst 400MHz, 32-bit processor. At first blush, those figures won't seem impressive to buyers used to Intel Dual Core CPUs running at 3GHz. Even compared to other minibooks, like the Dell Mini 9 that utilize Intel's Atom 1.6GHz processor, it's modest. But for a truly hand-holdable unit, the Dreambook delivers all the power you could need.

The story repeats itself when you examine the RAM (128MB) or the storage (2GB NAND flash). But with the ability to connect to external storage, such as an SD card (up to 32GB) or an external hard drive (up to 160GB), you won't have to worry about being constrained.

It features a near-standard keyboard and attaching a mouse is straightforward. With 3 USB ports you have plenty of options. Among the other standard features are a 10/100MB Ethernet port so you can get wired Internet access if you prefer. Most users will want to take advantage of the Wi-Fi support, however.

The screen is on the small size, as you would expect from an overgrown PDA (or undersized netbook). But it's plenty bright enough and the clarity is just fine at 800 x 480 resolution. At 7" it offers more than adequate screen real estate to work on documents, email, view web pages, and more. Just think, for example, how much you get done with an iPhone, Blackberry, and even smaller cell phone screens.

Working on those documents is no effort, either, thanks to the software that the Dreambook will run. You can use Excel CE or Word CE or any of the Linux equivalents you favor. It can run any of several browsers, so you have a choice there, too. And any web-based email application will present no problem.

Many users see the Dreamnovia Dreambook as an alternative e-Book reader and it performs just fine in that area. It's no Kindle, to be sure. But downloading e-Books from Fictionwise is a snap using the built-in wireless Internet connectivity. The screen is not quite so clear as Amazon's product, but nothing else is, not even an iPhone, when it comes to reading books on the go.

You won't be watching a lot of YouTube videos on this device. It's a little underpowered for that, but downloading and sharing photos is a breeze. Here again, comparison to a mobile phone or PDA is relevant and useful. The Dreambook surpasses those platforms because it really is a full-function personal computer, though on the low-end of the power and capacity scale.

Check out the Dreamnovia Dreambook in whichever operating system flavor suits your style. You'll find it easy to use, inexpensive, and a superb, portable platform for those larger tasks you can't tackle with a PDA or cell phone. You also won't get tired lugging it around like you would a laptop. This baby weighs less than 2lbs.

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