We are thinking about investing in some Fizzbook Spin tablets but I wondered if anyone had any opinions (negative or positive) about them, any experience of them or any suggestions for alternatives. We liked the functionality of them and their rugged outer shells.
Ok ... so I just found a couple of threads on the Fizzbooks. If demand is as high as is seems to be then they must be pretty good! Bit concerned about the SmartSuite though. We have Promethean boards. Anyone know if they're compatible?
from what ive used / been told by others in company
if you want to do your own install drivers are a pain to find and forget x64 the pcs sompatible but the tilt sensor and a few others as far as im aware dont have x64 drivers
one had a broken screen and zoostorm thinks waiting months for replacements is acceptable
wouldnt recommend but struggling to think of alternatives
We have 24 Spins for the past year:
rugged exterior casing with carry handle
heavy for little hands
screen orientation when used as tablets is hit and miss - about half of ours get it wrong and turn the screen upside down
webcam casing is unprotected - quick pencil and they have been quickly ruined
they are very slow to start up and prepare desktop after logon - we find there is difference between certain books, even with the same software loaded but cannot track down why some take 2 minutes, others take 4 minutes to load
Support is dire. We have another problem where Windows licence keys are deregistering - as the licence keys are flashed into recovery partititions there is obviously a problem with that, but support keep passing me from one person to the next, and up and down the support levels, each one repeating the same basic troubleshooting, and each one telling me eventually to restore, even though the fizzbook is unusable within days of restoring and has been for nearly a year. I tried asking for a swapout as product is not fit for purpose and was pretty much advised that they would find nothing wrong and would charge me for it so don't bother!!
I would never ever recommend Fizzbooks to a school - the support and slow internal hardware just lets them down, no matter what they promise at the BETT fairs!! :D
Stone computers make one similar IT manufacturer and solutions provider to the Public Sector | Stone Group believe their new version is out in time for summer orders. Were looking at buying some after a fairly successful trial.
The Fizzbook Spin was updated over the summer to the Classmate 2S - with all of the same features as before but with an improved spec and at a lower price.
Info is here - Classmate 2S
The new product has Atom N2600 1.6GHz dual core, 2GB RAM, 320GB protected HDD and a 10 hour battery.
Prices start from around £299 (Win7 Starter) or £359 (Pro) with different warranty options available.
SMART Classroom Suite software is provided for the netbooks, allowing them to use Notebook, teachers then need a £49 licence to connect them all up. Other software includes Labcam, Evernote, ArtRage and McAfee. It looks a good unit for the price
We had 10 of the earlier Fizzbook bangs and they were the worst PCs ever. Zoostorm were utterly uninterested but were being acquired at the time however I have certainly not heard that their service has improved and two other schools have reported issues with wifi and battery after the warranty had run out. One issue we had was that looking kid friendly and rugged encouraged treatment like a toy and lots of damage as a result. We bought Samsung N130 and all are still ok after two years. They look like a proper PC and get treated better as a result. Netbook seemed to be available from around the £170 mark last time I looked....
the above matches my experince having to wait months for replacement screens. Drivers nearly impossible to find the old version was awful
We had 30 of these supplied by Smarter Solutions and have had nothing but problems with them. Similar issues to above, both with the product itself and with the poor service received from the supplier and the 'manufacturer' Zoostorm/CMS. 4 weeks to get a motheboard replaced just isn't good enough.
As for being tough, well nothing is tough enough when it comes to primary school children. One of ours had the lid closed with a pencil sharpener inside which cracked the screen. No-one is able to supply a replacement touchscreen. Zoostorm aren't interested.
The tips of the stylus come off too easily and end up wedged inside the unit.
The touchscreen surface is very difficult to clean, as is the textured rubber coating of the case so after a few months use they all look old and scruffy.
The touchscreen is not very responsive and this quickly frustrates the children and staff using them - the only program its usable with is the supplied ArtRage.
Because they take so long to start up and shut down, children never wait long enough and close them mid shutdown. This just confuses the fizzbook so the next person to use it either can't because the battery has drained or the screen will be rotated 180 degrees. This can only be corrected once you have logged into Windows - not easy to do upside down.
MS Office 2010 Starter came pre-installed but this invariably stops working and requires removing and re-installing. But its supplied pre-installed and you can't get an official copy to install from anywhere. Zoostorms advice is to buy the Pro version - not very helpful.
The version of Smart Classroom Suite installed on ours was a 'special' 2009, even though they were supplied in 2011. This is so old and just doesn't work with ANYTHING so we aren't using it.
The spec of these units just isn't up to the job of running Windows 7 Pro on a domain in a school environment.
The battery life was initially OK at 4 to 5 hours contiuous use. After 12 months this was down to 2 hours at best.
Conclusion: Get a decent spec laptop with features you need and that work - don't waste money or time on these.
Support is very poor and spare parts are very hard to come by - Need a new new keyboard for an NL2 and no-one has them in stock, nor are interested in sourcing one. Very slow to start up. Sound quality is very poor (NL1), although slightly better on the NL2. I'd rather have a Samsung or Toshiba or a decent spec laptop.
i did manage to find this once and have it knocking round somewhere
Originally Posted by hallb15
I have just installed windows 7 32bit on one of our fizzbooks for a deployment image I am making. I have finally found all drivers but for some reason the screen won't rotate. Anyone else had this issue and if so did you find a fix for it?
thanks in advance.
I too have a Windows 7 Pro image. I never did get the screen to rotate, even with the drivers supplied by Zoostorm technical support. It just refuses to move. However, I find this is actually an advantage as I don't get called to sort out upside down screens all the time. If you really want to rotate the screen when in tablet mode, you can use the CTRL-ALT-DOWN shortcut. Just remember to turn it back again before shutting it down.
I just put Win 7 Pro, Office 2010 starter and ArtRage on our image to keep the size down. I also upgraded the RAM to 2GB which has improved them no-end, however they still aren't as reliable and I frequently have to re-image them when the Office 2010 installation corrupts itself.
I just managed to fix this if anyone is interested. Go into device manager go down to system devices and expand the menu. Locate the accelerometer driver right click and uninstall. Reboot the machine. I then reinstalled the platform abstraction package (intel learning series drivers). After that had finished I rebooted the fizzbook and worked fine. Mine are only 1Gb of ram but seem to run ok. Trying to put as little software as possible on them though as you say.