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Joojoo review

Verdict

Flash support and multitasking are great, but this iPad wannabe is awkward and clunky in comparison

Review Date: 16 Jun 2010

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £319 (£375 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

Even by Apple’s lofty standards, the number of iPads it has sold since launch is quite amazing. With sales outstripping that of all Mac computers as early as 31 May, it seems the concept of tablet computing (at least as Apple sees it) has caught on big time, and it was only a matter of time before rivals started appearing. Indeed, the first is already here: the rather oddly named joojoo.

Conceived by a small company in Singapore called Fusion Garage, at first glance the joojoo looks a straightforward copycat device. It has a black, glossy front bearing a large, capacitive touchscreen, a shaped silver rear and very few buttons or other physical features. There’s a USB port on one end next to the power button, and a pair of 3.5mm audio jacks on the other alongside the power port. It has an accelerometer to rotate the screen automatically and connects to the web using 802.11bg WiFi.

The hardware

Take a closer look, however, and differences begin to emerge. In fact, on raw specifications, the joojoo looks to have the edge on the iPad. Its screen is both larger at 12.1in, and has a higher resolution of 1,366 x 768. It also has a more useful 16:9 aspect ratio, enabling more of a web page to be viewed onscreen at once than on the iPad’s awkward 4:3, 1,024 x 768 panel. Set into the top left corner is a webcam too

Joojoo home screen

Under its skin, the joojoo is powered by a 1.6GHz Atom processor, has 1GB of RAM and a 4GB SSD. And this isn’t just plain old Atom, either: it’s boosted in the graphics department by an Nvidia Ion chip, promising the ability to decode HD video streams smoothly.

When you switch it on, the differences become even more obvious. Instead of a grid of icons to launch apps, most of the joojoo’s home screen is blank, with a scrolling panel of icons linking to a series of preselected websites on the left-hand side. Swipe your finger from left to right and your browsing history hoves into view, complete with a calendar to narrow your search, link list and text search box.

Swipe your finger the other way from the home screen and your bookmarks appear, accompanied by an accompanying keyword tag cloud and, again, a text search box. Tap this, and up pops a highly usable onscreen keyboard, which can be dragged around the screen for optimal positioning.

Just the web

If you hadn’t figured it out already, the joojoo is an internet tablet, plain and simple – there’s nothing to compare with the Apple App Store or the Android Market, and there are no apps included as standard, not even an email client. The OS is Linux-based and proprietary, so there’s no hope of adding to it or expanding it, beyond what Fusion Garage offers in its over-the-air updates. Where the joojoo aims to outdo the iPad, therefore, is in the only way it can: by delivering the full richness of the internet, including Flash.

The joojoo’s WebKit-based browser is not only able to render the BBC website in all its glory, but will also let you play all the embedded video content on its various pages and listen to its radio output, too. While your chosen radio stream is playing in the background, you can launch another instance of the browser and divert yourself with a Flash game or two, because the joojoo can multitask as well. Simply swipe your finger down on any screen, tap the small circular icon in the thin menu bar at the top and up pops a carousel of open web pages, navigating between which is a simple matter of swiping a finger left and right.

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User comments

Is 16:9 more useful

When Apple launched the iPad as a 4:3 device, I thought they were making a backward step -but it obviously works. 4:3 is far better for real computing -I simply never wach a wide screen movie on my PC.

By milliganp on 16 Jun 2010

Concieved?

It was originally concieved by TechCrunch and Michael Arrington... They worked in conjunction with Chandra Rathakrishnan at Fusion Garage to bring the CrunchPad to reality.

The week of the public launch, Fusion Garage pulled out of the agreement with TechCrunch and released the project as the JooJoo Pad...

http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/30/crunchpad-end/

For $300, it sounded like it might be a runner, but the new price and its now, tainted image mean I'll be staying clear.

By big_D on 16 Jun 2010

Nasty

The fall out from deals like this will probably wreck the product. Good luck in finding tech. support in 6 months time!

By S_Elwell on 18 Jun 2010

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