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Michelle Mastin

Netbook Navigator Nav 7

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
Netbook Navigator was one of the first to actually get a Windows slate to market after CES 2010, and they're back in 2011 (although in rather harder to find, out of the way booth) with two new slates and an upgrade to their current Nav 9.

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The Nav 7 will be the first of their new slates to make it to the market. It's got a 7" (1024x600) capacitive multitouch display with an accelerometer for rotation. Like their other slates, it will be powered by an Atom processor (Z515 or Z530) with 1 or 2GB of RAM. Storage will be 16 or 32 GB SSD options. Wifi and bluetooth are standard, and 3G will be optional. There is also a front-facing 1.3MP camera for videoconferencing.

Windows on 7" capacitive screens can be more difficult to control, as UI elements start to get very small for the less accurate capacitive screens. The Nav 7 adds a touchpad to the back of the device, under where your right hand fingers will grip, to give greater control over the cursor. Then, there are mouse buttons on the other side that sit comfortably under left hand fingers.

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The Nav 7 is lightweight, and I love the 7" form factor for one handed holding. However, Viliv has raised the bar on thinness with their new x70, which leaves the Nav 7 feeling a little chunky and bezelly.

The highlight of the Navigator series is their Windows 7 overlay, the Nav UI. I've seen many attempts at creating a more "touch friendly" overlay to windows 7, but they generally amount to little more than a fancy launcher with laggy animations.

It does have a nice app launcher, but with easy access to all the application on the machine, not just the few shortcuts that can take a while to configure.

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I really liked the notification center as a one stop overview of incoming communications and news feeds.

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There are also widget options and a fast way to switch between currently running applications.

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Orientation switching via the built in accelerometer was medium fast.

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While it's not as solidly built and svelte as the Viliv x70, it's coming up for pre-order in just two weeks, and should ship a month later, much sooner than the Viliv will hit the market. Also, it should come in at a much friendlier price point than the Korean import.

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