Someone on another thread asked for a review of my Panp4. Since that thread had already devolved from a "yay, I just ordered my laptop" thread to a long tech support discussion, I thought I'd start a new one to discuss the computer itself.
Ordered just before Thanksgiving, the machine is:
As you can see from the other thread, I've had an ongoing problem with the machine acting really weird on shutdown, which the S76 support team has been great in helping me figure out. It seems that it's finally been isolated as an issue with sharing files via Samba, and hasn't been totally figured out yet. Aside from that glitch it's been fantastic. (edit: as indicated on the other thread I think I solved that problem by using NFS to share files instead of Samba).
Pangolin Performance (PAN-P4) = $1,079.00
Operating System Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) 64 Bit Linux
Display Resolution 15.4" WXGA Super Clear Glossy LCD (1280 x 800)
Processor Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26 GHz 1066 MHz FSB 3 MB L2 (25 Watt)
Memory 4 GB - DDR2 800 MHz - 2 DIMMs
Hard Drive 320 GB 5400 RPM SATA II
Optical Drive CD-RW / DVD-RW
Wireless 802.11 agn
Extra Battery no extra battery
Extra AC Adapter no extra AC adapter
Car AC Adapter no car AC adapter
Laptop Bag no bag Hardware Warranty 1 Yr. Ltd. Warranty and Technical Support
It's very fast and works well. The keyboard is very good and plenty big. The track pad works well; one nice touch is that along the right side is a line of bumps to help find the spot where you can use the track pad to scroll up and down. My one gripe with the mouse buttons is that they are separated, with the fingerprint scanner between them, and require a fair bit of force to push. This makes it hard to click both buttons at the same time, simulating a middle-click. But I'm getting used to it.
Hardware all seems to work quite well. I'm not totally thrilled w/the camera, but it certainly works, and Cheese handles it appropriately.
Power management works well-but-not-quite-perfectly. Most of the time it suspends just fine when I close the lid, but about 10% of the time the suspend just doesn't happen. I've never had a problem coming back from suspension, though about 2/3 of the time there is no sound when I do (edit: it's now fine, see below).
Speaking of sound, the speakers suck. Cranked to 11, you can hardly hear the sound if there is any ambient noise at all (edit: was just a preset issue; the volume is adequate; perfectly fine for a laptop). Played through headphones, the sound quality is just fine. The wireless card is nice and strong, gets a much better signal from across the house than my old laptop.
The machine is definitely nice looking. I do like the glossy black lid, though it 's a total fingerprint magnet. To say the least I'm not accustomed to cleaning the outside of my laptop, but I find myself wiping off fingerprints with the included soft cloth regularly.
This probably isn't pertinent to S76 pe se, but I've been amazed at how well World of Warcraft runs through Wine. It feels just like a native application, with no bugs that I've come across.
It's a robust spec, runs great, and I expect it to be solid for me for a long time.
As alluded to above, the personalized support has been fantastic. Tom has carried on a looooooonnnnggggg troubleshooting thread with me about a very peculiar problem, and has been very responsive.
So overall I am quite happy with my purchase. If you want a Linux OEM laptop, I think this would be a very good choice.