£159 netbook with free 'net access. Interesting indeed.
You couldn’t find much better proof that mobile Internet access is drawing close to cheap ubiquity than Datawind’s UbiSufer. Costing only £160 and offering a year’s free Internet access for that price it may not look like much, and there are a few shortcomings; but there’s definitely a niche into which it’s ready to fit.
Specs are uninspiring, though for the price that’s hardly surprising. The 7in screen has an 800 x 480 pixel resolution the CPU used is unspecified – never a good sign – and there’s a mere 128MB of RAM and 1GB of local flash memory. 25GB of online storage is provided and there’s an SDHC card slot to augment the internal capacity, though, so the UbiSurfer is only bordering on bad.
Three USB ports Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity aren’t all that impressive. However, built-in HSDPA is more interesting especially when for the first year of use Datawind is offering UbiSurfer buyers 30 hours a month of internet use; with an unlimited usage plan available for £5.99 a month. Following years’ 30 hours-per-month subscriptions will cost £29.99 at most – with the same £5.99 a month unlimited use upgrade available. The UbiSurfer uses Vodafone’s 3G/HSDPA network; so bear in mind that network’s coverage before splashing out.
Weighing 700 grams I’ve no qualms agreeing the UbiSurfer should prove as portable as it’s claimed to be. And £159 is almost bordering on impulse-buy money if you’re in the market for a cheap and (potentially) cheerful mobile internet access solution.