Elonex Onetwo3 review

Price when reviewed

The mini-laptop bandwagon rolls on. After the Eee PC moved to a 9in display and got updated, we’ve seen gradually larger models appearing, culminating in the 10in MSI Wind with its great blend of affordability and usability.

This new model from Elonex also features a 10in screen, but it takes the theme of affordability to a whole new level: it’s available for absolutely nothing if you’re willing to sign up to a mobile web contract, with Orange, from the Carphone Warehouse.

While that may look tempting, the two-year, £25-a-month contract will cost you a whopping £600 in total, so we’ll stick to reviewing the Onetwo3 “webbook” based on purchase price. And unfortunately, even at just £224 we reckon you’re getting less for your cash than its rivals currently offer.

The processor, for instance, is a single-core VIA C7-M running at 1.6GHz. Our review sample came with Ubuntu pre-installed so we couldn’t run our 2D benchmarks, but it’s fair to expect a minimal level of performance – a recent 2GHz VIA C7-D managed 0.36 so the Elonex will fall short of that, and most likely short of the Atom-based MSI and Eee, too.

The rest of the specification is enough to handle less demanding applications, but still falls behind what we’ve come to expect from recent mini-laptops. Half a gigabyte of RAM, for instance, looks mean when the MSI Wind and several other models are packaged with twice that. There’s an 80GB hard disk, too, which is enough to store plenty of work, but may not appeal as much as the SSDs of others.

Elonex’s Onetwo3 does offer 802.11bg wireless connectivity, though, which is what we’ve come to expect from these machines – the Wind, Acer Aspire One and HP 2133 Mini Note offered the same specification.

Ergonomically, the Elonex does little to differentiate itself from the host of other recent releases. It’s quite a sturdy machine but still feels cheap compared to the svelte metallic style of the HP 2133 Mini Note. The trackpad is slightly smaller than what we’ve come to expect, too, although there’s still more than enough space to comfortably navigate the 10.2in TFT.

The screen itself is adequate for working or surfing, but can’t match up to the quality offered by some of its rivals. While it shares some of the Wind’s grainier attributes, and its 1,024 x 600 resolution, it doesn’t offer the same brightness as the MSI.

The keyboard is an area where the Elonex falls behind the majority of its rivals. The full-sized Enter key is an unexpected touch, but the Function key is located to the left of the Ctrl button, which is awkward until you get used to it, and the buttons themselves are slightly smaller and less tapered than their counterparts on the Wind and Eee. It’s a minor change but it makes a huge difference, and we were forced to spend plenty of time going back to correct our typing errors.

The chassis is reasonably well-appointed with ports but, again, offers little to differentiate it from its mini-laptop rivals. Three USB ports are divided between the left and right sides of the Elonex, and there’s an Ethernet port, jacks for headphones and microphones, and a card reader. A VGA output for connecting an external monitor completes the set.

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