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I have the European version of this netbook (called Compaq 700 here). The hardware differences with the reviewed one are:
- It does have a 1024x600 screen. In fact, the early US versions also had it. It was later that was changed for worse.
- It has a 60GB @4200 HDD. Rather small and slow, but much better than the 16GB SSD.
- It has Bluetooth.
I basically agree about the good things hardware wise. The machine is very well made for a sub 300 euro thing, and the keyboard is very good.
Mine came with Windows XP and I run Arch Linux very happily (with KDE4). It is the only distro/OS (Windows XP included) that can run the machine cool (at least while on battery). Everything else makes it hot rather quickly. All hardware is perfectly supported, with the only problem of needing a closed source (well, hybrid they cal it) wireless driver.
I didn't experience any wireless problems. In fact, forgetting about its closed source nature, it works really good here and with all routers I connected to.
The webcam is rather bad, I agree, but it seems that the unit tested had the problem that some units suffered: they forgot to remove a dark plastic protection that makes it almost unusable. The fix is easy, but it involves opening the lid a bit. Here a video that shows how to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc4rZUcUkIc
Battery life with Arch is 3 hours (normal usage), or around 2h40min of movie playback. Similar with XP it seems (didn't test much). With Ubuntu I doubt it reaches 2.5 hours for what I've seen when testing it.
Overall it is a nice machine and quite Linux friendly (things like mic, webcam, s2ram, s2disk, fn keys, etc... work fine out of the box). If only it had a bigger battery (instead of the 3 cell, 24w/h one) and a matte screen...
EDIT: My two ethernet cables worked here. Not sure if the connector is different to the tested one. Probably yes). Edited 2009-08-21 11:26 UTC