JooJoo Web tablet early review: Twelve inches of fun

The JooJoo is a sleek, stylish, 12.1-inch tablet that's only good for one thing -- feeding your raging Web addiction

Flora Graham
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We Britons will have to wait until 10 May to pre-order the iPad. But, by that time, you could already have your own Web-surfing tablet winging its way to you -- the JooJoo, an iPad on steroids, is available for pre-order today, with an expected delivery date of 12 May.

The JooJoo is a tablet computer with a browser-based operating system à la Google Chrome OS. It also has a frighteningly huge, 12.1-inch capacitive touchscreen.

Unlike the iPad, the JooJoo doesn't have apps that can run when you're offline. Instead, think of it as a big window onto the Web. It supports Flash, which the iPad doesn't, so you can watch embedded videos and even play Flash games.

We took a pre-production sample of the JooJoo for a spin, and were pleasantly surprised -- especially since it's the first version of a new product from a new company, Fusion Garage. 

At first glance, it looks like Apple could have had a hand in the JooJoo's design, what with its aluminium back and thrillingly sleek screen. It takes just a few seconds to boot up the battery-chomping 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, and the on/off button on the side is the only button there is. There's also an Nvidia Ion graphics card to jazz up online video, and a YouTube player that optionally handles clips outside the browser.

The home screen features a list of pre-loaded shortcuts to various Web sites, a large blank area that we were told will be filled with features in the future, and that's pretty much it. Tap a shortcut or bookmark, or type in a URL or search term, and away you go. 

The size of the JooJoo means you won't be holding it in one hand like a PADD from Star Trek, but, with a hand on each side, it feels well-balanced and comfortable. You'll need to use the JooJoo on your lap or a table to do much typing with the on-screen keyboard. 

You can't put music or videos onto the JooJoo's internal storage, but we were told that you'll be able to access media on storage devices via the tablet's USB port. 

Fusion Garage tells us that it's aiming to release a JooJoo with 3G connectivity this summer, with the help of a network subsidy. Until then, it's Wi-Fi-only -- and this is a device that needs the Web to live. Without a signal, it's the world's biggest make-up mirror. 

The JooJoo is strictly for Web addicts, but there are plenty of us around, and we think it's likely that the iPad will cost more once it comes to the UK. 

You can pre-order the JooJoo from the Fusion Garage Web site, where it'll cost you £319, plus £15 shipping and £56 VAT.

Click 'Continue' to experience more of the JooJoo's mojo. 

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The pre-production version that we saw did a solid job of rendering everything from CNET UK to iPlayer, happily spitting out the same Flash video that you'd see in a PC's Web browser. Fusion Garage insists that frequent updates will add new features and sharpen up the operating system.
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Compared to the iPad, the JooJoo looks vast -- this is a two-handed device.
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The back of the JooJoo is made of aluminium, and the whole thing feels solid and well-made, as well as looking beautiful.
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A microphone jack and headphone socket grace the top of the JooJoo, and there's a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front that should bode well for Web-based video-calling purposes.

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