The FlipStart

The FlipStart is the groundbreaking mini PC, backed by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, that gadget lovers and mobile technology aficionados have been eagerly anticipating. 

 As one of the smallest clamshell-chassis ultramobile PC on the market, the FlipStart literally adds a new dimension to this genre. Consequently, it feels just like a miniaturized PC, save two aspects. First, its power is full-sized enough to run Windows Vista (or XP). Second, the FlipStart features myriad thoughtful and innovative features that make computing on the go as effortless as possible.  

The device measures 5.9″ x 4.5″ x 1.35″/1.6″ (standard/enhanced battery), and weighs 1.5/1.75 pounds. It feels robust and durable. With a 1.1 GHz Intel Pentium M CPU, 30 GB shock mounted HDD, and 512 MB of RAM, it comfortably runs Windows XP Professional or Vista. Utilize the port replicator to have a desktop PC experience at home/office, and enjoy the FlipStart’s 6-hour (3-hour real world) run time using the enhanced battery (included) while you’re on the go.  

Connectivity options include WiFi, Bluetooth, and an integrated Sprint EVDO module so that you can utilize their nationwide broadband service (requires monthly subscription from Sprint). Ubiquitous connectivity greatly enhances productivity — not to mention that since the FlipStart has an integrated VGA camera, you can Skype videoconference with your friends and family from almost anywhere.

Its 5.6 inch wide SVGA TFT (1024 x 600) is extremely crisp, and one of the device’s highlights. In lieu of a touchscreen, there are two additional pointer options: a small trackpad, as well as a pointing stick, lie above the keyboard to the right, with mouse click buttons above the keyboard to the left. This enables you to use the FlipStart on a flat surface or while standing. 

 The FlipStart benefits from a user-centric design philosophy. In addition to the backlit QWERTY keyboard, there are a number of useful dedicated-function keys. Media control keys make it easy to start/stop/navigate through music. Arrow keys are smartly handled by a rounded navigation button above the keyboard. 

There is a dedicated “Control-Alt-Delete” button for those times when you need it, as well as a dedicated “show desktop” button for when you have too many windows open and want to reduce clutter. There is a zoom button that is smart enough to remember which applications are zoomed to which magnitudes. And even when the device is closed and in standby, you can use the jogdial controls on the side to review your latest e-mails (or contacts) on the external 1.8″ display.

 

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