Fizzbook Spin Intel’s Convertible Classmate PC review

We review the latest educational PC on the block, the Fizzbook Spin.

It's an extremely good tablet PC and one that we can see coming into its own in the classroom especially in conjunction with the bundled Art Rage drawing and painting software. In fact, we can see the Convertible spending most of its life in tablet mode. There are times, however, when you will need to use it in normal netbook mode and this is where the Classmate comes up short. The main issue is the keyboard: it just isn't very good, with a soft, spongy action and cramped layout that we thought devices such as Samsung's NC10 had banished for good.

Fortunately, other than this there is little to complain about the second-generation Classmate PC. It performs exactly as you'd expect a netbook to the choice of Windows XP as the principal operating system means it's quick and responsive as long as you don't push it too hard. And battery life, though thoroughly unremarkable, is acceptable at a few minutes shy of four hours; that's enough for at least four lessons of use before a recharge is needed. It's absolutely stuffed full of preinstalled software too, from the aforementioned Art Rage package, through Ability Office to SMART Classroom Suite.

All-in-all, the Convertible Classmate is a success. It's a much better-suited machine to the classroom than the original and though the price is higher than the average nine-inch netbook at 300 exc VAT, it's not too much to ask when you consider how much extra you're getting for your money.

Verdict

This Convertible Classmate, the Fizzbook Spin, is a much better match for the classroom than the original Classmate PC. It comes packed with clever features and software and it doesn't cost the earth either. Warmly recommended.

Processor: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor Memory: 1GB RAM Storage: 60GB hard disk Graphics: Intel GMA 950 graphics Connectivity: 2 x USB, D-SUB out, 1 x Ethernet OS: Windows XP Home Dimensions: 241 x 215 x 39mm (WDH) Warranty: 1yr RTB warranty

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