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[Canada Computers] [Canada Computers]/$200/13.3 IPS FHD(1920x1080)/Fanless/N3450/4GB RAM/32GB SSD+m.2/12.9mm metal chassis/Poorman's XPS 13

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Deal Addict
User avatar
Apr 6, 2003
2108 posts
39 upvotes
-OY- wrote: I honestly think that most of these panels all suffer either dead pixels or stuck pixels or some other defect, since they won’t be using grade A panels for this price and you are talking 1920x1080. Two of the units I have had my hands on have stuck pixels. Though I would rather get a dead pixel than a bright one.
oh yah? that's too bad. i'll just see if it goes away if another unit could be worse...
Newbie
Jan 12, 2008
15 posts
4 upvotes
Thornhill, Ontario
So I picked one up yesterday and got the chance to mess around a bit. Some thoughts on the brief time I had with it last night:

tl;dr: It's objectively fine. Disregarding anything to do with value, I would use this machine for basic tasks without much issue. Including the value proposition, the fact that I feel this way about it and only paid $200 is mindblowing. This is a great buy but watch out for quality control.

Build: The construction is amazing; sturdy as hell. I own a 2013 Macbook Air and the overall construction is similar. The iSmart is more "speckled" and shiny in its texture, and the front edge of the casing near the trackpad is uncomfortably sharp. That aside, it looks like a straight up Air rip off, and that's not a bad thing. The webcam has a bump which kind of annoys me, and the m.2 slot has its own accessible compartment at the bottom of the laptop under one of the feet.

Touchpad/Keyboard: Small touchpad, slightly cheap feeling keyboard. Key travel is pretty short, but serviceable. The touchpad does not click, which I've gotten used to now on a number of laptops; going back to using the two buttons at the bottom of the touchpad for some tasks is annoying. It's also pretty small... not quite as small as early 2000s laptops but close.

Screen: Acceptably bright for indoor use at max brightness. Viewing angles look good, colour reproduction looks a little below average.

Speakers: Kinda quiet. Enabling loudness equalization in Windows sound settings is a general pro-tip that everyone should know; it raises the speaker volume on most laptops from kind of crappy to acceptable. In this case it did exactly that, with it enabled the speakers sound loud enough. Bass is nearly non-existent and highs are shrill at max volume; can't win em all.

Windows performance: Windows updates maxed out my CPU usage pretty much the entire time it was using it, so performance was a mess. Towards the end of the night when things settled down a bit it seemed to be quite smooth. The odd stutter at times, but mostly indistinguishable from any other ultrabook in basic web browsing/windows tasks.

Battery/Power: Seems fine, but this will become more apparent in a few days. Drain during light tasks seemed to indicate about 5-6 hours of battery life which is expected. I am concerned about a few things here though: First, I lost about 40% battery while the computer was in sleep mode and I was away from it for several hours. Second, the provided 30w charger is so slow that when plugged in and performing updates the laptop did not charge but only maintained its current % charge. Lastly, when I first opened the box and went to set up the machine it had 0% charge; this is absolutely awful for batteries. I left it charging overnight, so I'll report back on how that goes if anyone cares. I'm considering picking up a 70w universal charger to make charge times acceptable. Oh, and the cable on the stock charger is so very very short. Too short.

Storage: Only 10gb of usable space out of the box. I'm torn between spending ~$45 on a cheapo m.2 drive or just sticking a 64gb microSD card I have lying around in there permanently. We'll see if it becomes bothersome.The TDP of this machine is so low that I wonder if installing an m.2 will noticeably lower battery life.
Jr. Member
Aug 23, 2014
181 posts
61 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
-OY- wrote: I installed a vinyl skin on mine.
schmoey wrote: Whoa, did you cut it yourself or does another laptop's skin fit this one?
I want to know this too - the skin looks great!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 18, 2013
1567 posts
7650 upvotes
xphile wrote: Has anyone tried to remove (chemically or otherwise;) the ismart logo? How'd that go?

Edit: or I'll go the sticker route;)
That sticker... you certainly live up to being from Langley. Face With Tears Of Joy
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 11, 2006
1651 posts
227 upvotes
Clyzm wrote: So I picked one up yesterday and got the chance to mess around a bit. Some thoughts on the brief time I had with it last night:

tl;dr: It's objectively fine. Disregarding anything to do with value, I would use this machine for basic tasks without much issue. Including the value proposition, the fact that I feel this way about it and only paid $200 is mindblowing. This is a great buy but watch out for quality control.

Build: The construction is amazing; sturdy as hell. I own a 2013 Macbook Air and the overall construction is similar. The iSmart is more "speckled" and shiny in its texture, and the front edge of the casing near the trackpad is uncomfortably sharp. That aside, it looks like a straight up Air rip off, and that's not a bad thing. The webcam has a bump which kind of annoys me, and the m.2 slot has its own accessible compartment at the bottom of the laptop under one of the feet.

Touchpad/Keyboard: Small touchpad, slightly cheap feeling keyboard. Key travel is pretty short, but serviceable. The touchpad does not click, which I've gotten used to now on a number of laptops; going back to using the two buttons at the bottom of the touchpad for some tasks is annoying. It's also pretty small... not quite as small as early 2000s laptops but close.

Screen: Acceptably bright for indoor use at max brightness. Viewing angles look good, colour reproduction looks a little below average.

Speakers: Kinda quiet. Enabling loudness equalization in Windows sound settings is a general pro-tip that everyone should know; it raises the speaker volume on most laptops from kind of crappy to acceptable. In this case it did exactly that, with it enabled the speakers sound loud enough. Bass is nearly non-existent and highs are shrill at max volume; can't win em all.

Windows performance: Windows updates maxed out my CPU usage pretty much the entire time it was using it, so performance was a mess. Towards the end of the night when things settled down a bit it seemed to be quite smooth. The odd stutter at times, but mostly indistinguishable from any other ultrabook in basic web browsing/windows tasks.

Battery/Power: Seems fine, but this will become more apparent in a few days. Drain during light tasks seemed to indicate about 5-6 hours of battery life which is expected. I am concerned about a few things here though: First, I lost about 40% battery while the computer was in sleep mode and I was away from it for several hours. Second, the provided 30w charger is so slow that when plugged in and performing updates the laptop did not charge but only maintained its current % charge. Lastly, when I first opened the box and went to set up the machine it had 0% charge; this is absolutely awful for batteries. I left it charging overnight, so I'll report back on how that goes if anyone cares. I'm considering picking up a 70w universal charger to make charge times acceptable. Oh, and the cable on the stock charger is so very very short. Too short.

Storage: Only 10gb of usable space out of the box. I'm torn between spending ~$45 on a cheapo m.2 drive or just sticking a 64gb microSD card I have lying around in there permanently. We'll see if it becomes bothersome.The TDP of this machine is so low that I wonder if installing an m.2 will noticeably lower battery life.
i wonder what size of the charger head should be
Member
Dec 19, 2013
351 posts
307 upvotes
Price now is $299.
Deal is kinda cold now.
OP change title please.
Sr. Member
Jul 30, 2007
977 posts
332 upvotes
BC
Clyzm wrote:
I'm considering picking up a 70w universal charger to make charge times acceptable.
Would that work though? Correct me if I'm wrong, but my limited understanding is that the charging speed is dictated by the device (since it's "pulling" from the charger rather than the charger "pushing" to the device). I don't have my laptop in front of me, but thought I saw that it has the 12v 2.5A input spec etched on the back.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 11, 2006
1651 posts
227 upvotes
schmoey wrote: Would that work though? Correct me if I'm wrong, but my limited understanding is that the charging speed is dictated by the device (since it's "pulling" from the charger rather than the charger "pushing" to the device). I don't have my laptop in front of me, but thought I saw that it has the 12v 2.5A input spec etched on the back.
i think it depends on ampere, higher ampere push more current thru so 70w with 12v steady technically charge faster
i could be wrong though Face With Tears Of Joy
Deal Addict
Aug 31, 2006
2802 posts
451 upvotes
I second techiedog... pretty much any of the light versions of Linux will save you another $200+tx. ;)

Curious how the iSmart does under Linux...
techiedog wrote: Slap on Q4OS and you will have a speedy laptop. Night and day compared to Windows.
Newbie
Jan 12, 2008
15 posts
4 upvotes
Thornhill, Ontario
schmoey wrote: Would that work though? Correct me if I'm wrong, but my limited understanding is that the charging speed is dictated by the device (since it's "pulling" from the charger rather than the charger "pushing" to the device). I don't have my laptop in front of me, but thought I saw that it has the 12v 2.5A input spec etched on the back.
It'll work so long as the cells can handle more current and the charging circuit doesn't have a hard cut off. Worst case scenario is that the circuit allows for it, the batteries can't handle it, and I set my laptop on fire ;D. We'll see.
Member
User avatar
Feb 27, 2003
480 posts
176 upvotes
Langley
Leverage wrote: That sticker... you certainly live up to being from Langley. Face With Tears Of Joy
My girlfriend had a bunch of them and it's the right size..

That said, she's been riding sportbikes exclusively since she got her license 28 years ago (until she got a huge dog 8 years ago and needed a car to get it from place to place)
I've seen her track, and let me tell you: Ho-lee shiat, that girl can *ride* (and really, I can only dream of being able to ride as well as her..)

(ridelikeagirlracing.com does fundraising every year for breast cancer research and other causes too, so I don't mind showing a little support)
Xphile. (as in 'X-files aficionado'..so yeah, I guess I am old..)
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 2, 2010
3432 posts
2973 upvotes
Markham
I can get to the BIOS screen to change booting sequence. But I cannot find CSM (Legacy Mode) to boot Ubuntu. Please help.
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2004
3057 posts
616 upvotes
Toronto
drdtyc wrote: I can get to the BIOS screen to change booting sequence. But I cannot find CSM (Legacy Mode) to boot Ubuntu. Please help.
From message 310: (in firmware setup) Advanced: CSM Configuration: CSM Support: enabled
I haven't checked if this is accurate (I'm using the machine).

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