The BenQ S6 was made by, BenQ, a company that is actually still around. They just now make boring things like projectors and monitors. But back in the early 2000s, they were at their apex. They were making innovations that pushed the envelope.
The UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) crazy preceded both tablets and netbooks. It ultimately became the prototype platform that Intel coalesced around to create the netbook, in such a low-cost format. The UMPC was the first tablet that made people recognize tablets. It was the platform Steve Jobs saw, and had Apple start creating what would be come the iPhone (and later, its prototype, the iPad) to rival.
At its end, it got renamed to MID (Mobile Internet Device) for some horrible reason. Not that we don’t know all the horrible reasons, we’re just not sure which was the worst reason.
But there were problems. They were slow, and horribly expensive. Only the final UMPCs were actually powerful, armed with first-generation Intel Core Solo CPUs. Those still fetch high prices, because they largely haven’t been replaced in the PC sector. Many envelope-pushers, like OQO, lost their shirts, literally. By the time these powerful UMPCs shipped, netbooks were providing eighty-five percent of the versatility for twenty-five percent of the price.
This is not one of those final UMPCs. This deal is for one of the first.
The BenQ S6 is armed with an 800 MHz Intel CPU.
Daily Steals calls it an Atom, we suspect it may be the older Pentium-M that powered most UMPCs of that era. The Pentium-M was used to craft the Atom (and actually, was based on the Pentium III, and was used to kick Pentium 4 to the curb — it’s an interesting chip in CPU history, it even powered the original Apple TV). We confirmed the S6 runs an Atom Z500 with a GMA500. It actually was one of the final UMPCs produced, aimed at crafting a lower-cost UMPC market.
But here’s the kicker, it only has 2 GB of SSD. That’s right 2 GB. It used a custom Windows XP image, but is indeed running Windows XP. It can’t run Windows 7. If you managed to upgrade the Parallel ATA (yes, PATA) drive, you might be able to get it to meet Vista’s minimum requirements… maybe. Vista SP2 might actually make that an improvement, also, maybe.
It does have a microSD slot though, so all is not lost in the storage department. Some unconfirmed reports are it even supports microSDHC.
In the end, this is a cool device to pick up if you’re either nostalgic, or want to run Windows XP apps for a single-purpose use play. Around the office, we figured out it could be used with iTunes Home Sharing to stream iTunes directly from another device.
We’re already in for three around the office. One that we can break just to figure out how we upgrade the hard drive on the other two.
Article corrected to remove references to the item being refurbished. According to Daily Steals, these are new units. As we avoid modifying URLs for articles, disregard the URL mention that this deal is refurbished.
Update, 8:15 AM: Daily Steals has removed the references to Windows XP. Since this model was shipped with both Linux and Windows XP options, it is unclear if they have run out of Windows XP units… or their supply never had Windows XP to begin with. We will try to get a clarification from Daily Steals, but clearly units being sold as of this hour are now the Linux supply.
Update, 12:45 PM: Daily Steals has responded to our request for information. They acknowledge that the item erroneously shipped with Windows XP, and actually includes Linux instead. If you wish to cancel your order, you should contact Daily Steals as soon as possible. Below is their response to our inquiry:
Thanks for contacting us.
Unfortunately when this product first went up, it did so with incorrect information that listed it as having Windows XP. We have since fixed the listing to display the correct information, and apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this may have resulted in.
Because of this error, we are accepting cancellations for any buyers interested in doing so. They just need to e-mail us with their order numbers and we will cancel their shipments with a full refund applied.
I apologize again for the situation, and we are certainly willing to resolve it for any customer who wish to do so.