1 Malaysia Netbook

1 Malaysia Netbook - 01

Intro

A laptop is a mobile computer which integrates all the basic input and output into a single unit. The term “mobile” clearly states that the user can use their computer on the move.

Then netbook is introduced as a light weight, low power and wallet friendly laptop which focuses on web-based activities. Until the tablet uproar (iPad) that clearly kills off netbook’s market. Even Dell is retracting from the netbook market. [source] Although netbook had lost this cruel war, but they still remain popular as low price PC for developing countries.

Today, what we have here is 1 Malaysia Netbook, branded as Great Wall, sourced from StarWorth Manufacturing Co.,Ltd. This netbook is given to students who in need through 1 Malaysia free netbook program by our government. By the way, the model number is SW-I10-04-1. One thing I have to make clear of is, there are more than one brand that is providing the netbook for our government, Great Wall is one of them.

I know, what is that cheesy “Great Wall” brand… Our beloved government even claim this poorly built netbook costs RM1000 (USD325) each. *facepalm* Let’s move on to the review to know why.

PS* The photos are taken in a rush, hence, sorry for low quality images.

PS** The netbook was sent to me as a review unit. Please refrain from asking me how to apply for getting the netbook.

Tech Specs

Intel Atom D425 1.80GHz 512K Cache
1GB DDR2 RAM (unknown brand)
160GB HDD (unknown brand)
Integrated graphics
6-cell Battery
Bluetooth & WiFi

Packaging

1 Malaysia Netbook - 01

The box looks normal, just like any other laptop or netbook boxes, except that obvious “1 Malaysia” logo to insist on 1 Malaysia’s Free Netbook program.

*Update* I’ve received some reader responding that they just got a plain brown box instead of what I got. I guess that’s how media and public exposure works. This netbook was distributed along with the presence of news media.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 02

Open box. My dad actually did the unboxing when I was away, so I have no idea how everything was put together.

Anyhow, here’s what included in box:

  • Netbook
  • Battery
  • AC adapter
  • User manuals & warranty card
  • Driver CD (not found in box – user manual stated driver CD is included)

Look, Feel, Usability

1 Malaysia Netbook - 03

First, we’ll have a look at the AC adapter, or “power brick” I usually call. I rarely put any focus on regular accessories because they’re too typical. Unlike this AC adapter, it literally caught my attention when I pick it up. It feels almost as light as empty plastic case. It makes hollow sound when you knock the power brick. This is ridiculous.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 05

The battery seems fine though, it works as well as any regular laptop batteries. The 6 cell battery life is great, it clocked 5 hours with “Balanced” power setting at idle.

So far I’ve never encountered any irregularities with it.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 04

The netbook – the back cover is printed with a humongous 1 Malaysia logo at the center and Great Wall logo at the corner. What’s more, it’s gloss finish. Expect endless fingerprints and scratches stick to the cover in a week.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 06

Under the netbook – some stickers here and there. There are two compartments with removable covers which houses the RAM and HDD.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 07

Audio jacks and card reader at the front.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 08

Left – Power button, air vent, and Kensington lock slot. There’s a few activity LEDs just above the air vent.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 09

Right – Two USB ports, ethernet port, VGA port and power port.

You might not notice this, but the USB port is upside down, check how it differs from your laptop or netbook.

Although it didn’t affect the performance, just weird and unique…

1 Malaysia Netbook - 10

Sorry, the photos are taken in a rush, so the factory screen protector is still on the screen.

1 Malaysia Netbook - 11

The keyboard’s build quality is horrible. When you type on it, the whole keyboard wobbles, as if all the keys would jump off any second.

The layout used is Americanized-ISO layout. Leave aside that mess at the right shift area, I don’t even want to talk about it. Worst of all, the placement of FN key at the leftmost bottom corner is brilliantly stupid. Imagine when you want use the copy, cut, paste shortcut function which you would accidentally press on FN key instead of CTRL key.

I generally don’t have any complain on touchpads even though they sucks, because it is an essential part for a laptop. However, my experience with this netbook’s touchpad is just plain horrible.

From the photo, clearly that the touch area shares the same piece of plastic as the netbook body. Is that you call a border of the touchpad area? It is so blended in that sometimes I accidentally swipe my fingers outside the border. Oh wait, it has gloss surface, hmm what does that mean? No more smooth swiping, what not, did you see all those fingerprints on it?

That’s not the end, the left and right click buttons are so stiff that I have to press with extra force and precision to have it work. Holding down the button are even worst.

Conclusion

Pros:

  • Decent processor for a netbook
  • 64-bit instruction set
  • Supports up to 4GB DDR3 memory
  • Long battery life (6-cell battery)

Cons:

  • Low build quality
  • Low quality components (HDD, RAM, AC adapter)
  • Unreliable HDD
  • Bad driver support
  • Incomplete packaging
  • Lack of USB ports (only 2 available)
  • Upside down USB port
  • Low quality ethernet port
  • Low quality keyboard with funny key layout
  • Glossy & slippery touchpad

Good thing that this netbook comes with a decent set of chipset and processor, which allows the user to upgrade the RAM up to 4GB of DDR3!! This is a good news as previously, netbook mostly comes with DDR2 memory support only. But what matter the most is, DDR3 memory is cheaper than DDR2 memory. The battery life is excellent as well, comes with a extended 6-cell battery which serves you for around 5 hours depends on what you’re doing on it.

All those strengths easily beats up other netbooks, if you don’t know, netbook market is decreasing thanks to tablets. Hence, most of the PC makers out there stop introducing new netbook models. Well, this certainly is a bad news for those who really need netbooks, although netbook price plummets.

Now, the bad thing of this netbook. Out of the box, it couldn’t boot properly. It went into a non-stop boot loop frenzy. I thought it was just a problem with the OS, thus I decided to format and re-install the OS. To my horror, they don’t even provide any driver disc despite the user manual states the disc is included in the box *uberfail*. Good news that Windows 7 update comes to rescue, it manage to get all the devices working except the Ethernet controller. Another fail –  there isn’t any proper documentation for the hardware specifications, whether the user manual or Internet. You have no idea what are those hardware installed in the netbook unless you use certain tools like CPUID or equivalent. In the end I have to check the hardware ID of the chip to find out the Ethernet controller model. Installing the correct version of driver solved the problem.

This issue doesn’t happen to this unit only, after I consult Mr. Google, apparently it happens on other units as well. We’re lucky that ours just the OS problem, some had dead HDD out of the box. Yeah, you guess it right, the HDD is another almighty China clone product.

*UPDATE 29/4/2012* The HDD of this netbook is dead, after 1 month’s usage. Sent the netbook for warranty.

*UPDATE 28/5/2012* Got back the netbook, everything is running fine!!

*UPDATE 2/7/2012* HDD failed again! Average daily usage is around 1++ hour, parent user for facebook and email.

Some say, “You’re too picky on it”, “not everyone have RM3000 to spend on a laptop” and so on. I’m sorry if I criticizes a lot but I don’t expect anyone to spend RM1000 on a piece of crap that possibly worth only RM500+-. How would you feel if you’re quoted RM100,000 for a regular Perodua Kancil just because Perodua claim it costs that much? Think of it.

I don’t wanna comment on how our government publicized to spend RM1000 on each netbook despite the costs should be around RM500+-. Those matters are out of a product review’s coverage and I have no intention to write politics.

My 2 cents for 1 Malaysia Netbook owners –

Don’t keep any critical data on this netbook, the stock HDD will definitely fail you, in time. Switch the HDD with a decent 2.5inch internal HDD (Seagate or Western Digital), then this netbook would work the way it intended to.

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100 thoughts on “1 Malaysia Netbook”

    1. I do product reviews often and I conclude everything based on what it really worth of.

      In fact this netbook supports up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM which is great. Unlike older models (HP, Dell, Acer) which only supports 2GB DDR2. The worst part is the HDD, if you swap the HDD with other reputable brands’, IMO this netbook would serve you well.

      1. Atom systems should not support more the 2GB of RAM DDR2. So its entirely wrong that these netbook supports up to 4GB of DDR3 and so on. Ya one thing that i noticed in these netbooks are them live camera picture quality and battery backup is awesome.
        If we talk about the heat-age, this netbook generate a lot of heat, so you unable to take it in hand during work. Keyboard is just ok..when u type on it…its look like you are rubbing your fingers on paper (so ruff). Sound quality just acceptable.

        1. not all Atom systems cannot support more than 2GB or DDR2 RAM, check the specs of the Atom D425, it supports DDR3-800 up to 4GB.

          I’m sure of it because the 1M netbook is currently running on a 4GB DDR3 ram.

  1. At first I also thought that I don’t care how it is as long as free. The reality is I got the netbook but cannot switch on since day 1. Check with local PC shop”s” and confirm that the HDD is dead. Sent back on 10/3/2012 and waited 2 months still not fixed yet (still in China pending warrenty claim woh).

    What the hack, the government claim to spend RM1000 on it and this is what we got? Faulty HDD right out of the box also cannot get instant replacement, now I wondering the actual cost bought from factory should be < RM500 (as a lot of China wholesale website indicated)

    I have no complaint if it works with poor quality, but unluckily me and few of my friends have encountered this problem, and still waiting…..waiting…..waiting….

    1. today is 22/8/2012 I still haven’t received the repair netbook. no reply from them except they ask me return power cable 2 months ago, the reception told me that someone returned in January also not received the repaired netbook yet.

      Tried called the MCMC and several department also no help.

      keep waiting (until warrenty expired).

      KB BOY

  2. whoa, the box we got was just plain brown and no colour at all…
    they didn’t have the Great Wall thing either… and the netbook doesn’t have the glossy plastic thing<lol

    They gave us a usb hub along with the netbook, which is great cause there's only 2 usb ports
    but I haven't tested it out/just got it today

    the touch pad is the only thing i hate the most!

  3. Hey, thanks for the insights and review on the one malaysia netbook,
    overall I would say that the comments are pretty unbiased (should have seen other technology websites that review thousands of gadgets)

    but I’m just wondering, if Malaysian government insist on buying a laptop for every student, why not just buy in bulk those low end laptops that are already in the market??
    for 1k you can definitely get better laptops than this right?

    1. They could get something better with the allocated budget… But we have no idea how they spent the money.

      I’m not sure if you’re Malaysian or not, else you’ll understand what I mean.

  4. Why my laptop 1 malaysia is not changing and batteries is very low?I want my laptop is recover changing.Thank to the goverment for give laptop 1 malaysia.

  5. why i cant get it… i realy hopes to get it to use for my assigment stpm this year 2012.. i have a lots of homework and need do by laptop! but i dont have own laptop.. i need go to cyber cafe.. and i can focus coz the places was so noisy! so .. how to get it.. can u help me?

    1. I’m sorry that I couldn’t help you in getting one of the offered netbooks, as I’m not really sure with the procedure and so-on.

      Anyhow, I’m willing to help you in buying a computer if you plan to do so.

  6. Hi . can you tell me the what HDD brand can be change for this notebook. because I will receive this notebook at 18.07.2012 . because i just lucky to be selected in the recipient list to get this notebook . I just want to ask and I guess i will change the HDD . like you said at the TOP the HDD is suck. other than HDDs problem what else component have similar problem like this. Can you tell me , I need your answer ASAP :)

    #sorry bad for my bad English writing , My age is 12 years old :D

    1. Regarding the HDD, any major brand like Seagate, Western Digital or Hitachi will do fine. Just remember to buy the 2.5 inch internal hard disk.

      I’d recommend you to inquire from the company who’s responsible with the netbook’s warranty because you may void the warranty by doing all those stuff by yourself.

      So far, there isn’t any problem I’ve encountered with the netbook. I might not be helpful in this matter.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Ohh . i see . thank you for the information :) About the HDD , I have already preparing the money for it.

        How about RAM ? . I still have the old type of 2G DDR3 RAM . Can input this to this notebook ? . as you say before, this computer can accept 4GB ram of DDR3. How about this 2GB ? . Can this notebook support it ? Sorry for many asking :D

        1. As I mentioned above, my review unit is Great Wall SW-I10-04-1, and do keep in mind that 1 Malaysia Netbook program source the netbooks from different computer manufacturers, such as Asus and Samsung. Hence, different unit has different specs.. please check your system’s specification before upgrade the RAM.

          Theoretically, if it accepts 4GB RAM, it should be able to support 2GB as well. By the way, desktop RAM is different from laptop RAM.

          1. nevermind . I already tried the 2GB . I know what difference about RAM . I not a newbie for this. sorry for saying this . I wonder why cant restart if i use the 2GB . and when i chge back to original ram . it can restart. haiz . somehow , i got new version and not like this post. HDD 250 GB , 1 GBRAM . 1.83 Ghz processor. Bluetooth . keypad “FN” at bottom left have return to the it should be place .

  7. I Malaysia netbook it ok if you really used it with care,but my netbook I used to play game seems to got problem recently . The keyboard some how got problem where its start typing bbbbb without end.

  8. Hi, my 1 M’sia note book’s battery is spoiled. Can I know it can warranty or not? If can warranty, can i know where can i go for warranty?

    1. Contact your netbook distributor to check for warranty.

      *I’m just product reviewer, not distributor or any personnel related with the 1Malaysia Netbook Programme.

  9. hi, my 1m netbook is unable to boot. my friend accidently compress my hdd. “tfght is compressed press ctrl-alt-del to restart”. can i do clean format on the 1Malaysia netbook and install a new copy of win 7? and where can i find the driver?

    spec:
    -product name :Aexis Netbook
    -model number : Aexis 455
    -cpu : Intel n455
    -hdd : 160gb
    -memor : 1gb
    -os : *microsoft student innovation suite 2.5

    1. There’s no relationship between Adobe Flash and the RAM. If you’re using Chrome browser, you don’t have to install Adobe Flash. Otherwise, you can install from Adobe site.

  10. excuse me ,i want to know that where can i claim for the netbook(can’t open it but it is still under warranty till 10/2/2012)please reply me,thx~~~

  11. haha just got it a few month ago work excellent however all drivers like wifi card etc is all in partition D so check it…now i have upgrade it to window 8 but got problem as screen is not big enought…cannot open metro app but dekstop app can..OWH BY THE WAY U CAN INSTALL LIGHT GAMES TO NETBOOK…and indie games like Torchlight2

    i’m currently using window8
    LenovoS110
    Intel atom n2600
    Intel GMA3600

  12. may i ask… what model is their Ethernet controller… i can’t find any clue here since i’ve formatted it… although i find most of the drivers in HP website except this wireless card driver only… tq in advance.. :D

  13. I think this 1 MALAYSIA netbook supply few diff brand.Coz my 1 no blue tooth,n the out look diff from your’s..Processor only @1.67 ,32bit operating…Brand is RUVO ,company lacated Penang…It comes only with a netbook 1 chager battery,even don have user manual. I

  14. my ”same kind with in those photos” laptop been dead a month ago,cause by the dead ”hitachi” hdd,do anyone here have this laptop using other then hitachi hdd??

    1. I also receive response from other users stating their “hitachi” drive went dead on their 1Malaysia netbook. But some have no branding on the drive.

  15. What is the stock OS? The label says windows 7. Is it pro or home? 32 or 64? Someone sending this piece o s**t to me to format. Am having a hard time coz it won’t boot. BTW admin, im totally agree with you regarding this notebook.

    1. You reminded me about this..

      when I first boot up the netbook, it shows “Windows 7 Ultimate”. Of course I don’t think a netbook that cheap would have Genuine W7 Ultimate as OS.

      1. Hello Mr John Diew,

        do you have the wifi and LAN driver for this Greatwall 1-Malaysia Laptop? it said Ralink for wifi and Realtek for LAN when I run the hardware identifier, but I couldn’t find any specific driver… if you don’t mind sharing…

        Thank you…

        1. You can install one software “drivereasy”, which will scan through you computer and install or update your driver. It works which I format my Greatwall Net Book.

  16. How long does the warranty last? Suddenly my 1 malaysia laptop can’t start @@. I was checking my fb when suddenly it turned off. When i tried to start it back it won’t start. I think the adapter is dead and i want to get a new one from warranty if that’s possible.

  17. I was wondering if I installed 4gb ram can it play heavy game like need for speed undercover?And also do DDR2 have a 4gb ram because from what I know the highest is only 2gb ram..pls rply ASAP.TQ

    1. DDR2 have 4GB stick but depends on which netbook model you got, some can support max 2GB you have to check the chipset of the netbook, whether it supports 4GB stick or not.

      are you serious about playing NFS Undercover on that? it hardly runs NFS Underground..

  18. I have problem my laptop 1malaysia aerogate can’t complete Formatting??why?? after i install win7 hangs..why???somebody help pease

  19. Hi, I have a problem with my net book. Both the USB port is not fuctioning, Looks like there is insufficient current supply, using mouse is ok but not pen drive or DVD player.

  20. good review…but i think no prob with hdd. The hdd is Toshiba (branded) lol..
    i`m running window 8 and 2gb ram….my keyboard totally gone bcoz i open it to clear some dust…

  21. help, what is the password to enter the bios setup? how to boot it from a cd / dvd external? Click DEL to enter setup but it asks for password, I have no password

    1. Since the 1 Malaysia Netbook project sources the netbook from various suppliers, so the configuration differs.

      My review unit comes without any password on the BIOS.

  22. Haier
    Intel® Atom™ Processor D425 @ 1.80ghz
    can the rams be upgraded? to 4GB..
    Does it have any “side effect” to the notebook later on?
    cause its say here max 2GB DDr3 1333Mhz..

  23. I have lost my power brick..so do you know what brand of power brick that actually being used for this netbook? Since universal adapter with various head cannot fit to it. If you know where can i get it or someone here want to sell theirs, fill free to contact me..liszsa_11@yahoo.com..tq

  24. Hi Mr John, I forgot my windows password then how should I to reset the password? Because I tried to system recovery from command prompt but it’s need a password to run through also. So do you have another method to reset it. Thanks

    1. If still under warranty can try claim for it. Else you can bring your power adapter to any electrical shop to ask if they sell compatible type of adaptor.

  25. That’s a very appropriate review you made, I can’t agree more, but I would like to know the way you format and reinstall the OS. I found out that there’s a recovery partition in it, but I am not sure how to perform it. This netbook seems confusing to me (who isn’t an expert). With Acer I know the hotkey to be alt + F10, and it will direct me to Acer eRecovery management for me to restore it to factory system.

    1. Yes there’s a recovery partition in it, still I was unable to get it to recover the OS. Hence I have no choice but to totally for the drive and install from scratch.

  26. Recently on my Aerogate netbook Model H-S30 (1 Malaysia), due to slow browse and frequent system crash, I use Advance System Recovery
    to reinstall Windows 7 but the netbook shuts down whenever online and very slow to boot. How and where can I obtain the drivers and how to recover
    Windows 7 ?

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