Joojoo review

16 Jun 2010

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

Price when reviewed: 
375inc VAT
3

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £319
Price inc VAT £375
Overall rating 3
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 3
Performance 3

Physical specifications

Dimensions 199 x 19 x 325mm (WDH)
Weight 2.400kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Atom N270
RAM capacity 1.00GB
SODIMM sockets free N/A

Screen and video

Screen size 12.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Nvidia ION
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support no
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 1
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader no
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Multitouch capacitive touchscreen
Speaker location Rear panel
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Operating system and software

Operating system Linux-based
OS family Linux
Recovery method N/A
Software supplied None