The Neo brand isn’t as popular as say, more established brands such as Lenovo, Dell, or Asus. However, they have brought good products for a great price. This time around, they have a new Vivid netbook with Intel’s latest Atom processor, Cedar Trail. With Cedar Trail, Intel has finally released an Atom part that works decently with hardly any slowdowns.
Unfortunately, as with every other netbooks, the screen resolution (1024×600) is still too low for power users, it is adequate for web surfing, word processing, and video watching. Scrolling vertically, and even horizontally will become a common occurrence though. The Vivid also comes with 2GB RAM as standard.
While the resolution and RAM have stayed the same, the hard drive has had a significant increase. The first netbooks had a paltry 16GB using pre-SSD flash drives and subsequent netbooks have increased the storage capacity somewhat but the Neo Vivid comes with a whopping 500GB hard drive that will store all your media.
Speaking of media, the new Vivid, with its Cedar Trail processor is able to playback 1080p videos without any stutter unlike previous netbooks. You may ask though, “Why would I want to watch a 1080p video on a display that is less than 1080p?” It may be true that Full HD video maybe too much for the display of the Vivid but the netbook does have an HDMI port that will connect to a HD TV so you can essentially use the Vivid as a portable HTPC. While you may notice that the speed of the Atom CPU hasn’t changed, Intel has tweaked the CPU to be more power efficient thus giving slightly more processing power while still using the same amount of energy.
The new Atom is also dual-core. This means that you get you get 2 physical cores and with Hyper-Threading, Windows will see one physical core as two cores which essentially give you 4 CPUs that will share the processing.
Unfortunately, a portable gaming machine, it is not. While the Vivid will play HD content, it will struggle with 3D gaming.
The Neo Vivid comes with 3 USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, Audio In and Out, VGA Out, SD card slot, and Ethernet Port. Unfortunately, the Vivid does not have any USB 3.0 ports but this isn’t that much of an issue except when transferring large files to an external drive. Wireless connections include WiFi-N and Bluetooth 3.0.
One of my biggest pet peeves with netbooks is the battery life. In combination with pre-Cedar Trail Atom processors and most companies’ tendency to supply 3-cell batteries (to cut costs) lend to poor battery life. While we tend to see other notebooks lasting for at least 4 hours, netbooks usually lasts 3-3.5 hours at most. With the Neo Vivid’s 6-cell battery and the power efficiency of the CPU, I was regularly getting more than 6 hours of use away from the charger with 60% screen brightness with just word processing and web surfing with the occasional video watching.
Netbooks were created to be a cheap, “usable”, alternative for a laptop. I put “usable” in quotes because it did work. It might not have worked great but it did work nonetheless. There were good netbooks then but they tended to cost just a tad below regular notebooks.
Today’s netbooks, while still retaining the low price point, has been upgraded with better parts thus making them better performing as well as longer battery life. It may not be good enough as a gaming machine, but for everything else, netbooks have finally hit their stride. It may have taken a while but with the new Neo Vivid netbook, you get a good performing portable computer for an affordable price.
Neo Vivid VC2EWP-114 Specs:
- Intel Atom Ceder Trail N2600 (1.66GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)
- 2GB RAM
- 500GB HDD
- 10.1” LED 1024×600
- Intel GMA 3600
- LAN, WiFi-N, Bluetooth 3.0, 3xUSB 2.0, SD card slot
- MS Windows 7 Starter
Plus: Long battery life; Full HD playback
Minus: Low resolution; No USB 3.0 ports
Bottomline: The Neo Vivid is a good sign that good netbooks have arrived to provide good performance at an affordable price point.