The I-Buddie is no slouch when it comes to connectivity. The unit has just about every port you will need for connecting your devices to it.
The included ports are as follows.
- 1 x Parallel port
- 1 x external VGA port
- 1 x S-Video TV-out port
- 1 x RJ-11 jack for Modem
- 1 x RJ-45 for Ethernet
- 1 x SIR port
- 1 x 1394 port
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x MIC-in jack
- 1 x headphone jack
- 1 x 3-pin DC-in jack for AC adapter / external battery pack / Car Adapter
(ed. Note - What, no cigarette lighter?!)
As you can see from the above specs and photo, there is just about all you need. While PS2 ports and COM ports are missing, you hardly need them in this day and age with laptops - everything you need is Firewire or USB, and both are provided onboard.
One of the best parts of the I-Buddie 4 is its screen. While today, it costs you a near fortune to get a good laptop with a 15" screen, ECS have added such a monster to the I-Buddie 4 without raising the price too much. Since the size of the unit is rather large for a portable unit, a 15" screen is not such a tall order to fill. The quality of the graphics places out is outstanding and fully what you would expect from a laptop style display.
Keyboard, Trackpad and Speakers
The keyboard on the I-Buddie 4 is a rather large and spacious keyboard for a portable solution since the Desknote is slightly larger than most notebooks sold today. The keys were light and very responsive, so it only requires a feather touch. While being very responsive, they do tend to make a loud "clicking" sound, so when using it, you tend to draw attention to yourself.
The key layout is a standard 108 key US style layout. Windows access keys are included (like a normal desktop keyboard) as well as laptop specific keys that control the onboard speakers sound level, screen brightness and which video source the image is displayed to (TV or LCD or both).
The I-Buddie 4 uses a two button Trackpad with scroll clicker that does the work of the normal mouse wheel. This unit plugs into the PS/2 port connection inside the Desknote. You can use a mouse with this unit but you need to have a USB version as there are no PS/2 ports, or at least a PS/2 to USB converter.
The speakers on the Desknote are pretty much what you would expect from a portable solution. The speakers that are used are commonly found on 99% of laptops available today. The system uses a SiS 7012 Audio codec for sound decoding, so you get entry level sound. While not being up to full desktop standards, you are able to listen to your music with reasonable clarity. As for DVD's, no worries, the onboard codec handles them easily.