Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Review - CnM Lifestyle miniBOOK 7”

CnM are better known for their excellent USB flash memory devices, however they have also jumped onto the ‘netbook’ bandwagon that other more well known manufactures have been rolling along on for a fair few months now. The device that started it all, the ASUS EeePC is still the market leader in this area, while other manufacturers have also been jumping on such as Acer with the AspireONE and MSI with the Wind.

The CnM Lifestyle miniBOOK 7” though caught my eye more so than any of the others due to its extremely low price. At just £169 from retailers such as Maplin, the price is nothing to baulk at considering how the ASUS netbooks tend to be retailing at around £249.

As the name implies, this model has a 7 inch screen across its diagonal, which is the same as that offered by the original EeePC. However, unlike the EeePC, CnM does not offer a 9” or 10” version at this time.

At just 650 grams the miniBOOK weighs in at less than your average bag of sugar, which is several times less than most average notebook computers today, which usually weigh in at around the 3.5kg mark (3500g).

The keyboard sports 80 keys, some of which carry additional functions accessed through combing a special ‘Fn’ key. Unlike most keyboards, that of the miniBOOK has just 10 Function keys (F1 through to F10) however F11 and F12 can still be used though combing the ‘Fn’ key and the F1 or F2 keys respectively. The keys are mostly only a little smaller than your usual laptop keys, however some are about half as small again. This may pose a problem for many users as they can be difficult to accurately press without pressing the neighbouring keys at the same time. However, since the miniBOOK comes with 3 USB ports it is more than feasible to use an external USB keyboard for extended periods of typing.

Most laptop users today are quite comfortable with the use of track pad's in place of the usual mouse. The miniBOOK has a responsive track pad, which although about half the size of the average laptop track pad, is perfectly serviceable. Should the end user feel the track pad to be too small for long periods of use though, you can, as with the keyboard, plug in a USB mouse.

My only significant issue with the track pad though, is the placement of the left and right buttons. Unlike most track pads, which have the buttons placed below, the buttons of the miniBOOK are on either side. I have found this difficult to get used to, but I am sure that with practice I could.

With a built-in Wi-Fi card, accessing the internet should be no problem, however I have been unable to test this since I currently have no internet access at home due to recently moving house. I hope to test this in the near future though.

The specifications of the miniBOOK include a 400MHz (MIPS based) XBURST CPU, 128MB RAM and 2GB Nand Flash storage. While by today’s standards this specification is almost joke worthy, it fits the miniBOOK perfectly since its intended purpose is for use as an internet and email device, which has low memory or processing requirement.

Also, the low specification means that it is light, does not get hot, has a good 3 hour battery life between charges, and has no moving parts. Having no moving parts extended the battery life, but more importantly to me, means that dust does not build up inside the unit, which would cause extra heat, and ultimately decreases the devices life expectancy.

The operating system has been designed to be simple and fast.

The miniBOOK comes running a small and light version of Linux, which has been designed to be user friendly, to both adults and especially children. After starting the miniBOOK up you are greeted (after 40 seconds) by the desktop which is divided into four areas. These are:

1. Menu – This runs along the top of the screen and has headers for Internet, Work, Play, Settings and Others. These divide the application shortcuts into groups to make navigation simpler.

2. Application Area – where shortcuts to applications are presented. These change as you select headings from the Menu.

3. Taskbar – where you will find the Power-Off button, Task Manager, battery info and minimised applications.

4. Clock – This does as you would expect.

Preinstalled applications include a web browser, email client, messaging program, eBook reader, Word processor, Spreadsheet program (both office compatible), PDF viewer, Dictionary, Calendar, Calculator, Media Player, Flash player, Image Gallery, and Paint Brush.

The web browser is a simplified version of the excellent Firefox known as Bon Echo. It is a pretty fast browser, and incorporates all the essential features you would expect from a Firefox derivative.

The email client is Sylpheed 2.4.1, a program I have no previous experience of, however it seems to look and operate in much the same way as Outlook Express. It handles POP3 email with ease and has a basic Address Book built in. It is all I would expect, but comes with none of the bells and whistles as those found in Outlook 2007.

The messaging program is Pidgin, which is a very popular client in Linux circles, but one I again have no previous experience with. I will not be testing this program though, since as I mentioned before, I currently have no internet access at home.

FBReader, the eBook reader is a competent program which handles most popular eBook formats.

The word processing and spreadsheet programs, Xip Word and Xip Table are based on the very popular freeware OpenOffice program, and as such carry the all important Microsoft Office compatibility you need. The features of these two programs are quite full. Full text formatting, and image insertion is provided in Xip Word, as is the creation of tables. Xip Table allows for complex equations and charts.

The PDF Viewer application is a simple affair but quite capable.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Dictionary program. As I typed a word, suggestions are made instantly, and definitions appeared instantly in the right hand pane. I’ve never found a use for a dictionary application before, but now I have used this one, I can certainly see a use for it.

The calendar is another excellent application. It allows you to create many calendars from which all appointments are pooled together in the same window, with different colours to help you recognise your work appointments from your home, sport, or other appointments. You can also deselect the calendars to be displayed, in this way you can view appointments just for work for example.

The calculator is very basic in appearance; much like the one you may have created yourself if you have ever learned to program in Java. It does however allow you to enter formulas too, which might interest some people, just not me.

The Media Player, while basic, offers the ability to play MP3 and WMA files out of the box. This is not the norm for Linux distributions since MP3 and WMA are not open source formats, however it is great to see this compatibility included as most people tend to expect the files to be playable on everything today. You can also watch movies on in the Media Player; however the small 2GB storage of the device would hamper the viability of storing many of these.

Xip Flash player allows for the playback of Flash animations, programs and movies (such as those found on YouTube) which you may have downloaded, however it does not integrate with the browser and therefore does not offer playback via the web. It offers three modes, Normal, Low Quality and Half Size to reduce stuttering and enhance the experience.

Image Gallery is the installed image viewing application, which does a pretty good job. You are able to select folders from the tree in the upper left hand pane, and files from the lower left where you’ll find thumbnails of the images. The right hand pane displays the image, F11 (‘Fn’ + F1) displays the select image in fullscreen mode while alt-clicking the containing folder brings up the option of a slideshow which can again be displayed fullscreen using the key combo above.

Paint Brush is the image editing program of choice. This is very much like Microsoft Paint, very basic and not of a great deal of use. I would have like to have used it to save some screen grabs, however I could not paste into the program after pressing the ‘PrtSc’ key. This is a big shame.

Xip Tar is a file compression program, able to open and save in many standard compression formats such as .zip, .rar and .tar.

Also installed are a few other applications which I have not mentioned since I do not consider them worth noting, not because they are bad, but because they are the usual bits and pieces you would expect to find.

You can tell that this device is not intended for power users but instead for those who simply want internet, email and other web-centric programs, and occasional office applications, such as teenagers. Personally I would consider this to be the most perfect PDA ever.

Having used PDA’s for many years, I have always been put off by the small screen, lack of keyboard and having to use a stylus, and in recent years have opted to using my laptop more and more despite its weight and size. The miniBOOK is a great replacement for a PDA.

The main problem, other than the few gripes I have already outlines above, is the lack of storage capacity. 2GB is not enough, and will quickly be filled by images, music and movies. Since the majority of users are likely to be teenagers (in my mind at least) it is likely that the device could quickly be discarded as a fad, luckily though the storage memory is expandable through the use of SD memory cards. The manual quotes up to 4GB cards can be used, however I was only able to test with the 2GB card I have in my Dell Axim x51v PDA. Unlike a lot of laptops, the card inserts almost completely into the chassis, and is therefore unlikely to become damaged if the card remained inserted at all times, since there is no part left exposed and likely to be snapped off.

The speakers are not fantastic; in fact they lack bass and definition, producing a horribly tinny sound that is far from easy on the ears. However, since teenagers seem to be happy to listen to the din produced by the playback of music through their mobile phones, I doubt this would pose much of an issue. Playback though my Sony ear phones though produced a much better sound, although not as high quality as that provided by my iPod Nano. The volume through my headphones had to be turned down to almost the minimum available through the Media Player software, as it was far too loud at full volume.

Playback of a 199MB avi file from a 4GB USB flash drive was slow and stuttering, it produced no sound whatsoever. As such I copied the file over to the built in storage. File copying was very slow, taking around 2 minutes 30 seconds. I’d imagine it would take a great deal longer if I were attempting to carry out other file operations at the same time.

Playback of the same avi file from the built in storage still produced no sound (I didn’t think it would, but hoped otherwise) and although playback was faster, it still stuttered badly and was unwatchable. I had a greater degree of success with playback of the following video formats though;

  • .mov – no stuttering, sound was fine
  • .3GP – no stuttering, no sound
  • .mpg – no stuttering, fantastic sound

Since the File Manager did not recognise the .wmv file type, the Media Player would not play it and while the File Manager did recognise the .mp4 extension as a video file, I could not get Media Player to play the video. Selecting it via the File Manager caused the application to hang, while opening it via the Media Player software cause the program to exit immediately.

I decided after successfully using my 2GB SD card, and my 4GB USB flash drive, to attempt using my 8GB flash drive with the miniBOOK. The manual states that you can use up to 4GB SD cards and USB flash drives. However I hoped that an 8GB drive would work none-the-less. It didn’t. That is a real shame.

The manufacturers’ website also states that it is not possible to use the device with external USB hard disk drives, so I felt the need to try one of these too. I selected one of my 2.5” 80GB USB drives, since these do not require an additional power source and plugged it in to the miniBOOK but just as expected the drive did not appear in the File Manager at all, even though the drive was clearly being interrogated by the operating system, which was indicated by the activity LED flashing on the drive.

I find it curious that a device such as this cannot access storage capacities exceeding 4GB; however I do not see this as being reason enough to not purchase the miniBOOK given its excellent price.

Conclusion

While this review has not been nearly as in-depth as I would have liked, given the limitation of review time (one night) and my current lack of internet access at home, I believe I have outlined the key points to be considered if looking to buy this device.

With its limited storage capacity another storage medium is a necessity. Since you are limited to using 4GB SD cards or USB flash drives, this is not going to be an expensive additional purchase. SD cards would be the medium of choice if considering semi-permanent storage since the card can be inserted at all times without fear of damage, while a USB flash drive could be used for transferring documents between computers.

The weight and size of the device is perfect, especially when accounting for the fast boot up time as this makes for a device which is portable enough to be used as and when required, at a moment’s notice.

The screen is large enough for most purposes, but may pose a problem on wide web pages, where the user would need to make use of the horizontal scroll bar to view all a pages content.

I would happily buy this device for my 9 year old son to use occasionally, while my fiancé would make good use of it for accessing her email and browsing the internet (Facebook in particular). At the same time, it would be perfect for me for the same reason, as well as for making notes, keeping track of my schedule and for writing up articles for my blog.

I would like to see another model with more RAM, a slightly faster 600MHz CPU and 8GB storage. This would make for me an almost perfect netbook, particularly if it were sold at the same price point.

The review model was gratefully provided by Microtest Ltd. who sell the CnM miniBOOK with a complimentary 2GB SD Card. Microtest Ltd. are a UK company based in Bodmin, Cornwall and can be contacted on 01208 261600 or sales@microtest.co.uk.

If you have encountered any problems with the CnM netbook please check the comments for this article where you will find some good assistance from other miniBOOK users.

Also there is a follow up series to this article, starting here

65 comments:

  1. 40 seconds to boot up? On my old computer - that would be fast. However, with a purpose built operating system, surely that is quite slow... Or am I just being nick-picky. The price does sound very attractive.

    As one of these "teenagers" that you speak of, then a cheap laptop does sound great. Also, I trust it has headphone ports for those who do not listen to music on phones.

    One last question, the word processor, is it (or compatible with) Open Office?

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  2. Compared to the likes of the ASUS EeePC, yes, 40 seconds is quite slow. However, what I failed to mention is that 40 seconds was the longest time it took to boot, as at the time it was quite cold. After an hour or so a reboot took closer to 25 seconds which is far more acceptable.
    However, given the ASUS offerings boast a 5 second boot time, then yes this is quite slow.
    However, the miniBOOK has just a 400MHz CPU and 128MB RAM, plus the OS is stored on the 2GB Nand storage which has quite slow read/write timings. The ASUS offers up a 1.6GHx Intel Atom CPU, 1GB RAM and a 'proper' SSD.

    A cheap laptop does sound great, but considering you can buy a much more powerful PDA that oes all the miniBOOK does and much more, as well as synchronising with M$ Office, in a smaller package, offering a better media player then you might be better off with a Dell Axim x51v.

    The Office package is based on AbiWord, which is indeed OpenOffice, and M$ Office compatable, providing you save documents in the relative file format.

    Thank you for taking time to read this article, and for your comments.

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  3. I have just bought the CNM book and find it good for the purpose i bought it. But if i want to relax for a big an say watch you tube clips, i am unable to view them, i cant seem to make them work through the cnm program provide.
    Could you be of assistance.

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  4. There are a great deal of limitations with the CnM, which is unfortunate.
    I feel quite dissapointed with the lack of ability to playback embedded flash video (that used on youtube.com), which as it is so popular you can even view youtube content on mobile phones today, it is a big shame that CnM did not see fit to enable this by default.
    However, this is the case across the board with all Linux distro's i have seen. Due to the open source nature of the OS, Linux does not include playback of the propriatory Adobe format, and requires a plug in to be installed.
    However I did not have the review sample long enough to explore this fully.
    Look here http://www.littlelinuxlaptop.com/faq.htm for info. It doesn't look good just yet, but hope is on the horizon. You could also have a look around this forum http://linuxlaptopforum.ark2webdesign.co.uk/
    I hope this helps.

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  5. Hello, yeah found a site now that can play you tube videos.
    All you do is copy and paste the URL address and download.
    Not as simple as just pressing play, but can still watch them and if they r good, they r automatically saved on your comp, so can be watched again in a flash.
    the site is www.catchvideo.net so enjoy your you tibe viewing.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your excellent find Anon!
    It just goes to show that if you look hard enough you will usually find an answer.
    Did you find that link through either of the two I posted to your last comment?

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  7. I went through the CNMlifestyle.com webshite. clicked on the CNMbook, went to "links". Then clicked on "little laptops forum" and a dude posted the site, so just click the link and off i went.

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  8. Apologies for above language should be WEBSITE not WEBSHITE.
    An names Baz, not create own login yet.

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  9. To be honest Anon/Baz, I hadn't noticed the spelling error, but I will leave it in anyway, people make mistakes.

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  10. Can anyone help? I couldn't get the kernel upgrade to work, nor the soud function or video playback.

    Steve

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  11. will you be able to use msn on it

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  12. @ Steve
    If the kernal update did not work, i would suggest either returning it to the point of purchase (retailer) or going along to the CnM miniBook website and grabbing an image file to reinstall the original OS and settings
    http://www.cnmlifestyle.com

    @Anonymous
    You cannot install MSN on the miniBook, however it does come preinstalled with a messaging client - Xchat, which is a derivitive of Pidgin - and as such is compatble with your MSN login.

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  13. Hello everyone.

    Some comments:

    cnmbook boots less than 15 seconds

    can add up to 32gb HD. check http://www.cnmlifestyle.com

    have msn,yahoo,irc etc

    good for less 12 years

    wi-fi very fast.

    Problem with youtube and skype

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  14. @Anon
    Thanks for your comment.

    You are quite correct, with an update from the site you mention it does indeed now have support for additional storage up to 32GB, I noticed this myself just yeasterday while looking at the latest and greatest updates ontheir site.

    At the time of review howver, only SD and USB memory up to 4GB were supported, with no support for usb hard drives.

    This just shows how well the CnM miniBook is catching on and gainig in popularity.

    Also I have noticed that the price is dropping, and now Microtest Ltd, the company that provided me with the review sample, is selling them for just £145, thats a saving of £24 on the original price of £169, not bad eh?

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  15. Have you tried the Maplin site? £139 for the basic unit minus £7 if you subscribe to their website and download discount vouchers - net cost £132.
    If you want USB cards try CCL computers in Bradford - approx £1 per GB!

    Steve

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  16. Hi Steve, thanks for your comment.
    No, I haven't looked in on the Maplin site, but that price is good, and so it should be since Maplin sell the mini as their own brand netbook. They have purchased massive quantities of these from the manufacturer, who I believe to be Elonex (I could be wrong) and are the cheif retailer in the UK for them.

    Shamefully, this means that other retailers in the UK cannot get such a good purchase price and cannot match Maplins price, unless they are able to shift massive quantities as Maplin do.

    Since the retailers purchase price is only a little less than Maplins current discounted price, you can appreciated that to turn any kind of profit other retailers would have to make a big gamble on the amount they purchase.

    However, in defense of Microtest, and other independant IT high street retailers, the service and support you are likely to receive from Maplin is not nearly as close to that of the IT companies.

    Similarly, you can buy a laptop computer from ASDA, but if it goes wrong, rather than help, advise or fix, ASDA would simply replace or refund if something were to go wrong, which is the same kind of service you can expect from Maplin (correct me if I am wrong though, please).

    This is why I like companies such as Microtest Ltd, you may pay a few quid more, but they appreciate you pennies more,and generally will go that extra mile to help you in any way than can further down the road.

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  17. To Steve and anyone else unable to get the kernel upgrade procedure to work. Hold down Shift + FN + F1 before you turn your CnMBook on and don’t release the keys until the GUI starts.

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  18. Thanks for that great tip Gerald, i'm sure that many miniBook users will find that tip helpful.
    It's looking like I may have to type up a list of all the tips to make them easier to find for other people!

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  19. Can some kind sole relieve me from misery and tell me exactly (in very basic form, from the beginning) how to watch You Tube videos, copy photo's off the internet and paste them onto Word Processor, delete documents saved onto Word Processor and play music from Myspace?

    I'd appreciate any help.

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  20. russell.stevens112 January 2009 at 21:24

    I am trying to find out about the version of Linux that is on this machine.

    Can anyone help.

    Also any information on info and xap files would be interesting.

    Hats off to open source!

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  21. Hello, I have read your wonderful review on the CnM book which I am using at the moment. However you mentioned that you were disappointed with the memory, and I can by visiting the cnm book website you will find a download that allows you to add devices up to 32Gb, not alot, but more than enough for me.

    And all you people who have had trouble with the youtube client, well, there is a solution! Just visit the CnM website visit the software section, or thats what I think it is, anyway, click on the youtube client and download the new .info file and the patch file, install it using your software installer and hey presto! Happy to help and good review.

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  22. Thanks for the comment Anonymous (you could register for an OpenID - then you wouldn't be Anonymous anymore, and get emailed replies to your comments!!)

    The YouTube issues have been discussed in these comments by a previous Anonymouse reader, and the solution he offered was to visit www.catchvideo.net

    As for the storage (or lack of it) this has again been discussed in the comments by another Anonymous reader.

    At the time the review was written, the CnM was still new on the market, and had very limited support in the way of downloadable patches and/or software. However, as with any new hardware or software, if enough people encounter problems or issues then somebody will listen and address them.

    This seems to be the case with the CnM, it has a small but loyal fanbase, and the manufacturer is listening.

    I hope to see support in the near future for even larger storage capacities than the maximum 32GB.

    I'd also like to see a model with built in 3G. Unlike some other netbooks, which are undeniably larger than the CnM (most are) I think the CnM is the best suited device for 3G connectivity.

    It will be interesting to see where the CnM is taken over the following months. I have a feeling that a new model is in the making, and will possibly be announced any day now that CES is out of the way.

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  23. anon

    I have problems sending emails on my cnm book. It keeps sending me an error message 501.

    Any suggestions would be welcomed to resolve this problem.

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  24. Hi Diesel. Grateful if you could re-post the video file types that you found gave the combo of no stuttering and good sound. The extensions are cut off on your original posting and I can't make them out. Many thanks!

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  25. Hey Anon, no need to be Anonymous, OpenID is aquick and simple registration process and will allow you an email update when you get replies!

    Here is the list you asked for:
    · .mov – no stuttering, sound was fine.

    · .3GP – no stuttering, no sound.

    · .mpg – no stuttering, fantastic sound

    I'm not sure why they don't display properly! But thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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  26. I got this notebook for christmas and immediately had problems with it. First of all i had problems with setting up the internet. After a few days i eventually got it working (i don't know how i did it). The application to allow youtube to work doesn't work and many websites do not allow me to use as they need flashplayer. Although there is a flashplayer feature it doesn't seem to work. Even with researching on the internet i have not found a solution. I have tried to download the adobe flashplayer for linux on various occassions but it does not allow me to work. Recently, the notebook completely stopped working when i took it into maplins they told me it was a problem with the battery. It has now been sent off to replace the battery thus resulting in me having to wait 2 weeks for it to return. This is an annoyance as it has some of my college work on it. I have not even had the notebook for 3 months and it has already faulted. I think that if this has happened once already will it happen again? and will my warranty still be available.

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  27. @ Anonymouse
    The CnM miniBook does not support flash, this seems to be down to its CPU which is based on the MIPS processor (not x86 compatible). The Linux installed is not your common-or-garden type either, it has been designed with the low power hardware in mind. It was never meant to be a 'normal computer', but instead a small internet ready device, for checking mail and light browsing.
    Basically it is a PDA with a keyboard in the form factor of a netbook.

    As for your problems with the battery, I spoke to the guys at Microtest Ltd. who leant me the CnM for review. They say that they have had a few miniBooks returned with battery problems, and this is a known fault in manufacturing.

    I cannot speak for Maplin, but two weeks to get the battery replaced seems excessive, and in my mind they should just swap out the unit for a replacement.

    The battery that it will be replaced with will be fine, don't worry about that, and your warrenty should not be affected.

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  28. I purchased this mini laptop yesterday, and already am running into problems. Cannot get connected wirelessly to internet. I find the instruction book very unhelpful. It seems to assume users have detailed knowledge, whereas I don't. I am waiting for the techies to ring me back, if they ever do, but I am already wishing I had spent a bit more and gone to Comet and bought an Acer with Windows. Get the feeling that once Maplins have got your money, thats it!

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  29. Here is the FAQ's page for the miniBook http://194.150.201.35/cnmlifestyle/cnmbookfaqs.htm
    If you take a look at the 6th and 7th questions, these are about wifi and should hopefully help you out a bit.

    I can sympathise with you, I was lucky enough to have access to a review sample of the miniBook, which helped me to decide on the Acer Aspire One instead, although I still want a couple of CnM's for my two elder boys (9 and 7 years old).

    I have mentioned previously in these comments my opinion of larger stores selling these items (at a lower price than independent retailers) and I also get the feeling they want your money and nothing more.

    Have you ever purchased a PC from PC World? They will promise you the Earth when trying to get a sale, however they usually deliver nothing more than mud.

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  30. Hi, I was once going to buy from PC World, but when we had asked for help, and waited - and waited, we then left.
    I am wondering where I stand on Maplins giving me my money back.
    I am so frustrated now, don't know how to cope. Surely they can't be that busy that they can't ring me SOON!

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  31. Exactly, PC World are more useless than average, while Maplin do not specialise in computer/IT retail and therefore do not (in my opinion) have the knowledge to sell and support new-wave devices such as the CnM.
    I hope that you can get your money back... when did you buy the miniBook? If it was within the last 14-16 days I believe you have a right to return it for a full refund with no questions asked - but I could be wrong.

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  32. Just bought a CnMbook for my daughter, did not come with instructions manual, hence £20 discount, downloaded manual from website using another computer, but it was very basic and didn't have much explanation to it, I viewed it on PDF viewwe but kept freezing. My daughter would like to be able to play on-line games but I need adobe flash player to enable this, after reading your comments am I to assume this is not possible? The notebook doesn't to allow us to install any programs, maybe were are overlooking something? I saved downloads to USB driver and wasn't able to even open it. I would be very grateful for any advice at all

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  33. Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for taking time to leave a comment.

    You would be right to assume, so far as I can tell, that your daughter will not be able to use the miniBook to play Flash games.

    As for the manual, which is indeed in PDF format, it is basic, however on Pages 63 through to 65 you will find all the info you need regarding installation.
    If you cannot view this on the miniBook i'd suggest using a different computer to view the document.

    I am sorry that I cannot be of much more help in this respect - hopefully another reader can suggest something?

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  34. I bought the miniBook some time ago when I spilled wine on my laptop.Now I use it only to take it around due to the light weight.
    I am annoyed with not being able to play videos on news websites while the support page insist the online video is available.
    I have downloaded youtube feeature but it is asking for a key and is not playing videos.
    Has anyone played with root access and linux installs available? Is it possible to add any new interesting features?
    Is is possible to install skype on linux and would it be possible anyhow to install it on miniBook?
    I am only quite happy with its weight and battery life.
    Has anyone tried mobile internet on it and how does it work?
    I am also not able to update the kernel version to v70, my version is v49 and I assume there should be a version in between and this is why I am failing, I tried many times and tried holding the keys until the GUI starts.
    I would be grateful for any advice and also for a further discussion on how to enrich the miniBook features

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  35. I recently brought a 2nd hand cnm minibook, but I cannot get it to connect to our wifi connection. Our location comes up and I select and hit connect but nothing happens. I have checked the official website and anywhere else I can find without luck. Could you give any advice in simple simple term?

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  36. since we are gonna be on the internet, how do we install antivirus softwares? i realised that when i was trying to do that the laptop wont read my previously downloaded antivirus softwares from another computer. another problem, i emailed cnm lifestyle regarding contrast and they said you cant adjust it. how ridiculous.

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  37. hello,

    ok is there anything we can download from cnmlifestyle web which is sinilar to flash adobe?

    also a serious major prob... antivirus softwares, how do we download it??

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  38. @LIZ
    Try this link
    http://194.150.201.35/cnmlifestyle/downloads/kernel.htm
    to download and install the latest Kernel (latest version of the linux software. Hopefully this should resolve your issues.

    @Seyna
    There is no need to install and run antivrus software on the CnM miniBook since it is running a specialised version of Linux and is not susceptable to any known virus. (the majority of virus writers tend to stick to Windows viruses since Windows is the most commen OS in the world)
    Software from Windows PC's does not run on Linux, and certainly not on the miniBook. Sorry.
    Ridiculous but true... you have to keep in mind that the miniBook is not intended to be used as a fully fledged computer, just a companion for quick access to a few documents and more importantly, the internet and email.

    This is interesting, CnM have added a new software package, LinVideo:Video Online which promises to be able to search and stream YouTube and other online video... nice!
    The flash video bit - not that I am aware.

    ReplyDelete
  39. its seryna...hello thanks for replying. Im not sure if youve got this message before, my internet got cut off when i was posting.. so here it is again.

    another problem i am having is the update of the kernel to version v70. i have followed the instructions carefully: dl files, unzip and copy into SD card and switch off etc etc.

    it just wont work at all. ive tried my San Disk card 2 gb and the laptop wont recognise it all, it just appears white on the task bar. so i tried formatting it to FAT and nope. Then i bought a kingston 2 gb SD card today, luckily it did recognise and all software installation was fine. But when it comes to doing recoveries and upgrades where rebooting is required, nothing happens. can you tell me which SD card you are using? ive formatted both cards to FAT..and its hopeless...

    Oh btw...ive installed the video online software from cmn and it requires the registration no. OR CLICK TO BUY. ive emailed cmn about this and lets see what they say...

    ReplyDelete
  40. @ Seryna
    Hi Seryna, I am sorry to say that I don't actually own the CnM Minibook, I only had a review sample for a night or two and cannot confirm, deny or elaborate on any of the problems you are having. The best I can do is ask you to keep checking on this post since it does have quite a strong following and if anyone else has experienced similar difficulties I am sure it will not be long before a reply is posted that answers your questions.
    Thanks for coming back again!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Just bought a secondhand CnMbook which appears to work fine, and connects via WiFi to my network in the house. However, I cannot find a way of making it remember the preferred network so that it connects automatically when I next switch the Netbook on. Any clues on how to do this, or if indeed it's possible?

    After having downloaded the Large Drive Support software from the CnMLifestyle website, provided your hard drive is formatted FAT32, hard drives bigger that 32Gb are definitely possible. I currently have a 2.5" Hitachi 60Gb hooked up ok.

    Thanks for the review Diesel.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Error 501 invalid domain name, when sending mail via mobile broadband

    Sending and receiving mail via wifi is no problem. Receiving via mobile broadband works fine.

    Any ideas on this??

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  43. Another little problem from me.
    Can't seem to get the time setting correct. The correct time shows on the screen, but e-mails received do not show the correct time, they are 1 hour behind (meaning an e-mail sent to me at 18.00 should appear in my e-mail list showing 18.00, but actually shows as 17.00)
    My timezone is correct as Europe/London.

    Apart from 2 little niggles found so far, I'm finding it really useful, receiving e-mails & browsing the internet whilst on the train.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Error 501 invalid domain name

    Solved my own problem!!!!!!

    In "advanced" account settings for email, check box "specify domain name" then added mydomainname.co.uk

    Works now for wifi AND mobilr broadband.

    Excellent little machine this, now just need to solve the time/clock problem on e-mails.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hello,

    I have just bought the CnM Book but cant get it to connect correctly with the Wifi, I have visited the website to look for updates but have no idea what I am ment to try as there is nothing I can see that might help, (sorry I am blonde) I can get it to connect to my wireless connection but every time I get Invalid IP address, I followed the mega limited help instruction by changing the cannel to 1 , 6, and 11 but every time I get the same it tries to connect, but after a while I get the same message invalid IP address, I dont know a hell of alot about computers so if any one has any ideas please please help me:( I have set up my security info correctly I think, but I am at a loss! Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  46. What sort of wireless router are you trying to connect to?

    To clarify that the router is working ok, are any other computers connected to it, either wireless or by wire?

    Can you temporarily try a wired (Ethernet) connection? That at least might help to eliminate problems.

    Is the wireless router set to DHCP = ON ? In other words, is it set to issue IP Address? Maybe there's only a limited range of IPs which are all taken?

    Sorry about all the questions, but it'll help to get you nearer to an answer.

    G0AOZ.

    ReplyDelete
  47. The wireless router is linksys provided as part of AOL package.

    Any windows based laptop simply requires key to connect, and there are no problems.

    Having hard wired the minibook to the modem there is no problem getting on line. Just will no sign via wireless.

    The router is set to issue IP address between .1 and .253 so there are plenty of address available as only one other wireless connection in use.

    Have tried to manually add location of Minibook to router but can't find location name/nbr in Minibook.

    Have finally managed to install firmware upgrade so now runs V70.

    Hope this answers the questions you asked.

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
  48. Liz, thanks for the info. Netgear routers are usually pretty versatile in that they'll allow virtually any WiFi device to connect ok. However, sometimes they can be pernickety!

    Some Netgears have a section where you have to add the device name or MAC address in order get a connection. I don't have a Netgear here, so can't help you further with that.

    What about trying it with router security temporarily turned off. Will the CnMbook connect and get an IP then?

    How about assigning a static IP to the Netgear? Say, 192.168.0.240 and see if that makes it fly...

    G0AOZ.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I have been reading your comments and find all of them most interesting. I have this little laptop and find it fulfils its intended purpose very well. I have been to the lifestyle.com website and see that there are many updates available there to take care of your needs. I needed to install my 3G USB broadband dongle and I was able to do that easy enough with the help I found there. The only problem I have not been able to resolve it how to install and use Skype. I anyone has been able to do that I would appreciate knowing about it. Thank you. Sanjio stm007@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  50. Maplin ad today (13/7/09) has the book with Windows CE, no mention of Linux.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Excuse the bump, but Maplin are knocking "B-Grade" cnmBooks for a shade under 90 quid at the mo. From reading this review I can tell it's a very limited machine, but at that price it was rude not to order one immediately, if only to tinker with. Hell, it costs less than my old mobile phone, lol.

    B-Grade items are normally returns or have a bit of minor damage etc, but from reading the comments here I'm gonna assume that these are just surplus stock.

    Incidentally, I've had it an hour and haven't managed to get it to connect to the network yet, either over wifi or ethernet, so I'm off to do a little digging at the cnm website.

    ReplyDelete
  52. got a CnMBook yesterday. only way I can get it online is wired. looked online for help, but am a novice and all suggestions have failed or i've failed???

    any Detailed help would be great.
    other than that all seems good :)

    ReplyDelete
  53. 1. Bought mine from Maplin. Advised Maplin to cease stocking it. Although it does what it says on the tin, there are 'issues' with it:

    a: power lead tends to fall out
    b: Keyboard generates strings of gibberish when 'pushed,
    c: Ethernet cable doesn't latch in due to design fault of socket
    d! battery failed to charge for some time (weeks) but is working again now ? - or at least it was last time I looked.

    Yeah it's a poor substitute for a computer and definitely not recommended for a beginner - yet it does jst about do what it's supposed to.
    Biggest annoyance for me atm is no obvious ability to work with a network - file transferring or 'sharing'. I,d also like to try Skype on it but what's the OS version ?

    ReplyDelete
  54. this is the very informative blog and i agree that if som body is using the lap top or pda then he desire that the speed must be more than the others.
    people never secrefice on the quality and on the other hand if the quality of the pda or personal computer is well then every person enjoys a lot when he/she plays game on that system العاب offers their customers that they can enjoy the games online as well as by purchasing the games cds from the nearer seller

    ReplyDelete
  55. this is the very informative blog and i agree that if som body is using the lap top or pda then he desire that the speed must be more than the others.
    people never secrefice on the quality and on the other hand if the quality of the pda or personal computer is well then every person enjoys a lot when he/she plays game on that system العاب offers their customers that they can enjoy the games online as well as by purchasing the games cds from the nearer seller

    ReplyDelete
  56. Theres a website here for software for the CE version of the cnm minibook.

    ReplyDelete
  57. You tube problems???

    Just found out on the you tube website that their mobile site should work on the cnm.

    Tried it out and works perfectly

    YAY!

    ReplyDelete
  58. my cnm netbook is shut down. normally is not like this. One day whe n i open it its all black and i plug it in the power is on then suddenly its turn off. when i push the power button its definitely nothing just blink of the three green light then off. i suspect maybe it will need a new battery or i dont know? could you help me please. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  59. It would appear to either require the battery to be replaced, or possibly the CnM is overheating. Check the vents for dust and brush them out with a coarse-hair brush. Please let us know your results

    ReplyDelete
  60. C_washington201025 August 2010 at 01:30

    i bought a cnmbook from mycablebox via ebay and it doesnt turn on what should i do as i need this for my holiday in 2 days time....?

    ReplyDelete
  61. we just purchase one of these minibooks and it has not worked since we got it today....not worth the money and we want our money back...NO GOOD...

    ReplyDelete
  62. where do I get an sd card. There was not one with the unit I purchased?

    ReplyDelete
  63. hi i have a cnm mini laptop 4gb storage can i use a dongle with this to access the internet??? i have tried to put one in the usb hole but nothing comes up like it does on my home computer add new device then it kicks in.

    PLEASE HELP LOL its driving me crazy??

    ReplyDelete
  64. Very informative.
    Would you know where to buy replacement batteries for these?

    ReplyDelete
  65. how do i remove the casing of a cnm book

    ReplyDelete

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