I had always just used the family computer to do any homework, essays etc. But eventually I did need one of my own since I was starting at university and so would need a computer to complete assignments. I wanted a laptop so I could sit with it on my bed and wouldn't be restricted to my desk whenever I wanted to use it. Also one that was small enough to carry around in my bag, as well as not being too expensive in case it broke or whatever. I bought this one for just £200 from Argos, and I must say for such a cheap price it has served me well so far. It's small and lightweight so is very easy to carry around, it came with windows 7 and Microsoft Office, although I didn't have a product key to use office for more than 30 uses. I didn't find that to be too much of a problem though, as I just used Open Office instead. In my opinion it also has quite a lot of memory for storing all my work, important documents I've downloaded, as well as numerous films, songs and program software. Browsing the internet is mostly quick and simple through the use of an ethernet cable or wireless network.
The battery lasts about 2-3 hours after being fully charged, before needing to be plugged back in. This netbook also has an inbuilt camera above the screen and an inbuilt microphone just below the screen. It has all the buttons of a normal-sized keyboard minus the numerical pad on the right-hand side. However I personally never really used them as all the numbers are at the top of the keyboard anyway. It still has the arrow buttons, but again are something I don't use often unless I'm too lazy to scroll down a page using the touchpad. On the sides of the netbook it has an extra microphone hole, one for your headphones and two USB ports at either side. On the back, a space to plug your netbook charger into, an SD memory card slot, an ethernet cable port, another hole which I presume would be for a wire to lock-up your netbook and another larger wire port, although I'm not sure what it's for as I've never used it.
The screen, although rather small, is big enough for you to be able to view the full width of internet pages or watch films either alone or with one or two others. Plus has a pretty good volume level. The netbook itself is easy to use and navigate your way around on, plus you can create more accounts if there is more than one person using it.
Overall it is a good little netbook, I've had mine for almost two years now and it is still working perfectly well as when I bought it. Really good for a first laptop, those on a budget, and for people who need to carry it with them. It might not be for the more advanced computer users, but for a Netbook, I'm very pleased with it.
UPDATE: I've now learned that the other space at the back is a VGA output. Shows how much I know!
I thought the internal memory on this net book to be quite sufficient and probably would be for a lot of people. Then again my memory is mainly taken up by files and documents. I don't have a very big music collection compared to most, just short of a 1000. I do have films stored on my net book, around 25 altogether. I'm not much of a game-playing person so only have a few of those. Even so I still have 178 GB out of 225 GB left on the windows 7 hard disk drive (so it says). I'm also not a very careful person either. Since I've had it it's been dropped God knows how many times, drinks spilt under it, and just shoved into my bag on numerous occasions.
I also forgot to mention about the Microsoft Security Client the net book comes installed with. I actually find it to be really good considering it was free and pre-installed. I'm always having pop-ups appear when I'm watching TV shows on-line (I always miss them when they're on TV). Plus the amount of files I've downloaded since having it, to help with essays etc. or work I've sent via e-mail. Anyway, I must admit I was slightly amused when my Dad's newer and double the price laptop with Norton or whatever he paid for installed, suddenly developed a virus, and he had to pay £40 for a new hard drive. Then there's my little net book two years later, still using a pre-installed security and in good working order!
I just thought I would add those last bits in that I forgot about.
=== The product ===
This is a netbook which is designed to allow you to log on to the internet fast. It's smaller than a standard laptop and has less 'thrills' so can be purchased much cheaper than a standard laptop.
=== The packaging ===
When I purchased mine, brand new from Argos, back in September 2010 it came packaged in a box, within the box was some wrapping around the laptop and some polystyrene to keep it in place. I kept the box for the past year, with the receipt, just incase I needed to claim on the warranty but I've had no need for this, so far, and will be disposing of it next month once it's out of warranty.
=== The specification ===
This comes with a Windows 7 Home Starter which I thought meant that I'd get some basic programs, as I do, but I didn't realise it meant I only had a trial. After using word 20 times it asks for a registration key and when I use the one on the back of the netbook it doesn't register as being for anything more than a trial, however, as this comes with the 'Works' package also I've still got a spreadsheet builder, a 'word' style program and others.
The screen is a 10.1" 1024 x 600 TFT Screen, not that I really understand that..! The screen is a small size, not as small as the previous 8.9" I was using and it displays everything I want well enough. If I want to see things without the toolbar at the bottom I can just press F11 which turns on 'full screen' mode.
This netbook has a 0.3m pixels webcam, this isn't particularly high but then I'm not taking high quality images I'm just sending little snaps, videos or having live video chats with my nieces who live 200 miles away. The quality is good enough for them to see me and identify things that I might be showing them and that's good enough for me. While I am on video chat I can use the stereo speakers to hear them and the internal microphone to have conversations with them. I think the microphone must be built in at the bottom of the netbook as I often have to shuffle it around just so they can hear me well enough. There are also additional headphone and microphone ports so I can just external equipment if I want to to improve the quality of conversation which I do sometimes.
The battery can last for up to 4 hours but I find I get around 2 - 2 1/2 hours before I need to spend a similar amount of time charging it up again. I have found that my charger has broken for this netbook but I just used one from my husbands Toshiba laptop and that was no problem, I think it broke because of my kitten rather than being shoddy!
Some of the other items included on this laptop that I don't have much to say about are:
· Intel Atom n270 1.6Ghz Processor
· 1GB DDR2 533Mhz Memory (Option of 1GB upgrade to 2GB)
· 250GB Hard Drive
· Wireless 802.11b/g/n
· SD Card Reader
· 10/100 Wired LAN
· UK 80 Key Keyboard
· Touch Pad pointing device
· 2 x USB2.0 Ports
· VGA Out Port
· Intel 945 GSE Chipset & ICH-7M
· Microsoft Security Essentials Anti Virus Protection
All I can say on the above is that the laptop works fast enough for me to browse the internet, which was the sole reason for the purchase, it holds everything I want to (just reviews, other word documents and some photographs) without slowing down. I like the SD card reader as I can just plug my SD card in to the back and get my photographs from my camera with ease. The touch pad pointing device took a little getting used to for me and while there is a full 80 key UK keyboard this is obviously more compact because of the overall size of the device. This works fine for me but for the first few weeks I would regularly make the same spelling mistakes over and over because I was hitting the wrong keys. I haven't suffered any viruses on this computer (so far!) but then I only visit a few websites on it anyway and never open e-mails from someone I don't know.
=== Where can I buy this and for how much? ===
When I purchased this last year it was available, brand new, from Argos for £179.99. I can see that this is no longer on sale in Argos so your main option to purchase one would be second hand and/or refurbished from eBay, Amazon and the like. They seem to retail from around £100 upwards on these sites and for this machine I'd say that's a pretty reasonable price!
=== My overall opinion ===
I like this netbook... A lot! It's the perfect size for me, it's light, compact and I can fit it in almost any laptop bag. It has everything I need to surf the internet, play some online games (pogo.co.uk mainly), type documents and send e-mails. When I am using the wireless it's fast and it seldom suffers any sort of problem at all. There is no CD Drive, because this is so small, which is obviously a negative point for most people, however, as we have a larger Toshiba laptop it's not really a problem at all as I just use that for playing games and loading photographs from disc.
This netbook allows me to do everything I want to do and the price tag was within my budget at the time of purchase. I have used this, almost daily, for a year and have seen no change in the time it takes to turn on & load up (30 seconds or less), also, even though I have been running down and charging the battery several times a day it doesn't seem to have decreased in quality and still holds a charge almost as well as the day I first used it.
I like the look of this netbook, it's black with a little silver trim around the edge of the screen and the only downside I can say about the appearance is that my kitten came along and broke off the corner of the silver trim. This didn't affect the screen though and I was very surprised that no damage occurred to the screen.
Overall this netbook has served me well, I like the features of it, I can live without the CD Drive to save space and money on the original purchase. I would happily buy this again, second hand now I guess, if something was to happen to this one. I did own a Zoostorm netbook before that inadvertently got broke and I was happy to replace it with this one almost straight away. I'd definitely recommend it, particularly if you just want to surf the internet and maybe send some e-mails, visit Facebook and just generally plod around online, it's perfect for that!
Why I Bought The Zoostorm Freedom 10-270
For my son's birthday last year we decided to buy him a net book, since he was turning 13, we thought it would be a good idea for him to have something on which to keep his school work etc. It's slim and compact, black with a silver trim, comes with battery pack, adapter and charger, complete with a useful user guide and 12 months warranty and help desk support.
Do only fools rush in?
Now I rushed in and bought this net book without doing any research on it, which was silly of me as I don't know a great deal about computers, I saw this one on the Argos website and decided the price was right so I just went ahead and bought it. Argos are no longer selling them, I guess I should look at this as a bad thing, but to be fair it's not a bad little net book, but I will leave you to decide what you think once you've read my review.
What does It Comes With?
This little net book comes complete with Windows 7 home starter operating system installed. I thought this would be appropriate for my sons needs, with 1 GB of memory and the option to upgrade to 2 GB if required. I don't really know that much about GB and the like, but I do know that 2 is obviously more than 1 and so opting to upgrade seems the sensible thing to do to ensure plenty of memory. However I have not done this but only because I don't know how, I have no idea about processors either, but this little net book has a Intel Atom n270 1.6Ghz Processor and a 250 GB hard drive. The system itself is not mega fast but it's not slow either I'd say it's about average.
It has wireless capabilities built in, (Wireless 802.11b/g/n) which can be switched on and off as required, now I will just mention that the way in which to do this is by pressing Fn and F2 at the same time, the reason I've felt the need to mention this is because just recently my son was having problems connecting to the internet, none of us could work out why the message we kept getting said "no networks available", when both my laptop and desktop computer were connected with no problem. My husbands response to this was "Don't ask me I don't know anything about computers" so I had to try and sort it out myself, I was baffled and didn't for one minute think the wireless had been switched off, when I eventually realized what the problem was I thought, great I can just switch it back on, but I didn't know how to do this and I was getting extremely annoyed with the net book by this time. I did find out how to do it, obviously, that is why I decided to mention exactly how to switch the wireless on and off, I wouldn't like anyone to go through what we did.
What else has it got?
Now the actual net book itself has a 10.1 inch LCD screen, which is made of glass, so it is advisable to not drop or throw against a hard surface, this made me laugh when I read this as I know some games can get you to the point of throwing your PC across the room, but I doubt anyone really would. Anyway like I was saying the screen is plenty big enough for what my son needs. it has a 0.3 mega pixels web cam built in, which he hasn't actually used but it's a handy feature to have should he need it. There is an internal microphone and stereo speakers, the usual keyboard and touch pad, which my son can't get on with, so I got him a mouse that he has been using and seems to manage just fine with that.
The net book has 2 USB ports and a VGA out port, headphone and microphone ports. There is a graphics card installed and a 7 in 1 card reader. No disk drive but then net books aren't designed to have one of these anyway, so I wasn't expecting it to have one, this is no problem though as the external drive (previously reviewed) I bought works perfectly fine with the net book.
I'm not going to go into every little detail of where everything is situated on the net book as I don't think this is necessary. I will mention the security that is already installed though, as it has proved excellent, the security installed is Microsoft Security Essentials Anti Virus Protection, this just needs to be activated and that's it. We got the net book in September last year and activated the security straight away, it has continued to protect the net book all this time, however I have on occasion had to scan and reactivate it, I'm not sure why it decides to deactivate but this seems to have only happened when my son hasn't used the net book for a period of time. So this isn't a problem, he always checks the protection is activated before he proceeds onto the internet anyway. Our internet connection is pretty strong and the net book has no problems staying connected to the internet.
The battery life is very good in my opinion, around 4 hours from fully charged and this can be increased by switching off the wireless if you are not using it. I'm not exactly sure how long it takes to charge from dead, my son usually keeps it plugged in anyway if he's using it for any length of time and it always seems to be charged up and ready should he need to use it unplugged for any reason. Unfortunately the reason to which we had bought him the net book is not what he uses it for, at present anyway. I'm hoping over the next year or so once he reaches year 9, he will realize he has a lot more important things to focus on rather than face book. While I'm on the subject of the internet, I will mention that browsing and playing online games is very good as is everything you may need to do whilst connected to the internet.
Bought With Good Intention....
My purpose for purchasing the net book was purely with school in mind. Josh on the other hand had different ideas and so was somewhat disappointed with the net book, He wanted to be able to play his PC games on the net book, however with such a small amount of memory he wasn't able to do this. So in all he has been quite disappointed with this little net book, but I think or more like hope that in a few months time, he will see the benefit of having it, when his work load from school starts piling in and because this net book comes with a trial version of Microsoft Office Home and Student edition, it should set him off nicely. There is 25 evaluations to use, then if I decide I would like the full version I can fully activate it by purchasing a license key. Alternatively there is an unlimited version of Microsoft Works already included on the Freedom 10-270 Net book as standard.
The user guide is a very handy little book, which explains in great detail, what everything is, and if your a total novice when it comes to computers etc. like me, then this user guide will prove very useful. I have learnt quite a lot about laptops/net books over the past few years with thanks to user manuals. I know people don't want to sit reading when they have their shiny new device sat in front of them, you just want to dive straight in and play. But should you get stuck, the guide is there and should help you out if you should so need.
So Was I Right Or Wrong To Make This Purchase?
The actual weight of the net book with battery included is 1.1 kg for a little thing, there is a fair weight to it. but it does look nice with an 83 key keyboard with keys that are all compact and snugly fit together, personally I really like the net book and would quite happily like to use it for writing my reviews etc. Windows 7 starter however is not my first choice for an operating system. my son was somewhat disappointed that he couldn't change the desktop picture, as it doesn't give you the option to do so. It is a very basic operating system to which I have since downloaded a program which enables him to customize, that cheered him up a bit. In a way I regret buying this net book, not because it's no good but because over all my son is not really happy with it, I'm hoping he will change his mind as £198 may not seem a lot of money to some people, but to me it's a lot to waste when I could have bought a different one. I just thought it was good for the price, it does everything my laptop does, well ok not quite everything. But when alls said and done I did buy it, it works very well, I've not had to pay for any security for it in all the time we've had it. It didn't take my son long to find his way around it, as it is very basic, nothing fancy just what I thought he would need to start him off. It seems pretty durable, it's had it's fair share of being banged about and I believe my son has in fact dropped it, although not from a great height. It's still in good working order despite it's knocks and bangs.
If You Think I Was Right To Purchase And Are Interested Yourself.....
I hope this has been of some use to you, should you be considering purchasing a little net book, this Zoo storm Freedom 10-270 can be currently purchased used from Amazon for £139.99 or refurbished for £125.00 I don't know if you still, can in actual fact buy new but maybe if you were to do a Google search you may get lucky.
I'm giving the Zoostorm Freedom 10-270 Net Book only 3 stars because although it is a good little net book, my son wasn't too impressed with it so for me it loses a couple of stars.
Thank you for reading my review which may also be posted on other sites