Hands-On with the ECS G10IL: The Sexiest Netbook Yet

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With this week's announcement of Lenovo entering the mini-notebook space, there were lots of oohs and ahhs over its S10's design. I haven't yet gotten an in-person look at the S10 (like our bud at notebooks.com) but today the ECS G10IL arrived in my hands. The G10IL is one damn good looking 10-inch mini-notebook that may very well give Lenovo's beauty a run for its money.

I have a pre-production ECS G10IL and the company has not yet made public what brand the notebook will come to the U.S. market under. We just know it won't be branded as ECS. Nevertheless, here are my first thoughts on the potential MSI Wind and Eee PC 1000H killer.

Stunning Lid and All-Around Design
As I said before, the ECS G10IL is one nice looking netbook both from the inside and out. The lid is covered in a white glossy finish but is inlaid with thin silver stripes. The unit we have is not like the one that we saw  at Computex; it has a glossier lid and a different hinge.

When we put the ECS G10IL next to an MSI Wind, the G10IL looks shinner and more attractive. Also of note is the ECS' circular and sturdy hinge (check it out in the video), which looks very similar to that of the Sony VAIO FW Series.

The beauty extends under the cover. The white matte inside has a minimalist look and its rounded edges remind me of a Apple MacBook. As for the size of the mini-notebook, it weighed 3.0- pounds which is a tad heavier that the Wind. When put on top of the Wind it appears that the systems are the same exact size, though our G10IL is a bit smaller, perhaps because our Wind has a thicker, 6-cell battery.

A Keyboard With Lots of Breathing Room
The keyboard is nothing but pleasant. It is very similar to the keyboard found on the MSI Wind, however the keys are wider and have a flat shape, reminiscent of recent Macbooks. Our one peeve about the keyboard is the odd placement of the small sized shift key to the right of the up arrow button.

The touchpad is wider than that of the MSI Wind. However, there is the single mouse button, that clicks left or right, below it. The button is also inlaid with blue LED status lights. It's interesting that ECS didn't just put the lights on the side of the pad.

Wide 10-Inch Screen
The 10-inch sunken screen on the system is roomy and bright. When I watched Paris Hilton's campaign video on Hulu.com, colors looked bright and vibrant. I could easily see small details, like her blond strands of hair. Because you cannot push the screen back any further than to about a 75-degree angle there was no noticeable glare.

Early Performance Thoughts
We have a pre-production unit of the ECS G10IL. However, we have no anecdotal performance complaints (we will run some benchmarks on it later on). Its 1.6GHz Intel Atom Processor and 1GB of RAM have no problem pushing Windows XP Professional (with Service Pack 3) along. I made a few calls over Skype while surfing around in Firefox 3 and there was no hold up. Its 120GB Samsung HM121HI hard drive booted the system in 50 seconds.

Very Early Verdict
My few hours alone with the ECS G10IL have me thinking that we could have an MSI Wind and Eee PC 1000H killer on our hands. Sure we don't know when it will come to market or how much it will actually cost (ECS's Henry Kwan told us around $499 a few months back), but that doesn't mean it won't be one of the best 10-inchers around.

 

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16 comments
  • paul Says:

    any new updates on this ???

  • Pappi Says:

    The ECS G10IL does have a built in HSDPA/HSUPA-SIM-Modem & 6 cell battery which runs over 4hours working with office apps!

  • MTL Says:

    Nice looking netbook. Does anyone know if the 8.9" version is actually smaller? Or will it have the same footprint with just a larger bezel?

  • JLG Says:

    So, it weighs more than the Wind. It's keyboard is obviously smaller (from the comparison pictures), plus it has the goofy right-shift placement.

    What is it exactly that would make this a Wind "killer" (or Asus 1000H for that matter).

    It's looks? The fact that it is shinier? A better hinge? For something to be a "killer" it must be night/day better. This looks like it's debatable whether it's even up to par, particularly since there is no firm pricing.

  • steph Says:

    First off, thanks for giving some much needed info on this, you always do a good job. I've wondered about the g10il since it was announced in the spring.

    and... i completely missed the live broadcast... is there anyway you could put it (or parts of it) on youtube? battery life info would be especially appreciated.

  • Jackson Says:

    Not to sound pushy, but is there a reason there is no full review yet. ECS not allow it because of the 'pre-production' status perhaps?

    Don't suppose you could tease with just a few performance numbers or benchmarks!?

    Thanks for all the great work these past few months, you coverage on netbooks has been by far the most thorough and consistently accurate.

  • Jo Minn Says:

    any info about battery life and weight?

  • DougC-3 Says:

    prad said:
    "I think you guys should have a picture of a person holding the netbook (closed) in their hands at least 6 feet away from the camera. This gives us an impression of the actual size of the netbook."

    Well said. Size comparison is usually impossible because of close-up and/or wide angle lens effects. Many of us live in places where there are no 9- or 10-inch PCs to see. I recently drove 60 miles to see my first Eee PC, when a Best Buy store finally got in a few (the 900 16G XP), just so I could get a idea of the hands-on size and feel. (Holding a 9" ruler in your hands is just not the same :)

    arocee said:
    "What’s with the fascination with shiny surfaces? Nothing but grease galleries and glare reflectors."

    I couldn't agree more. Is this to appeal to children, or is it perhaps an Asian fashion thing (~Asus S101)? To me, it is reminiscent of toys, cheap plastic soap or toothbrush holders and such. This is spreading to large gaming laptops, some of which now look like glossy hard candy.

  • Cahya Says:

    Dears Joanna..,
    Looks good a Laptop.

  • arocee Says:

    What's with the fascination with shiny surfaces? Nothing but grease galleries and glare reflectors. I have come up with a word to describe all these disgusting gadgets: smudgets

  • narikin Says:

    does ANY netbook have a firewire port ?? (mini or full)
    I need it for my pro cameras, that dont work with USB

  • arit Says:

    Still standard 1024x600 resolution?

  • prad Says:

    All these close-up pictures do not do complete justice to these machines. I think you guys should have a picture of a person holding the netbook (closed) in their hands at least 6 feet away from the camera. This gives us an impression of the actual size of the netbook.

  • Speedmaster Says:

    Sharp looking machine.

  • uncola Says:

    wow, they're really going for the macbook look with this one.. very nice looking.. this and the lenovo are the nicest looking netbooks yet, imo

  • tnkgrl Says:

    Sorry Joanna... Sure it beats the MSI Wind, but in pictures so far the Lenovo S10 is way sexier!

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