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Too Good to be True? $99 Sylvania Netbook Review

The CVS drugstore chain has gotten the jump on the winter shopping season by introducing its Sylvania netbook at a price of just $99.  This netbook weighs just two pounds and is small enough to carry in a medium sized handbag or briefcase easily. The display is crisp and clear, even though it is only seven inches. It has 128 MB of internal memory and runs on Windows CE operating system, and has YouTube and Facebook installed already, similar to smart phones.
sylvania netbook
First offered for sale on September 9th via the Sunday circular in most large city newspapers, the little netbooks flew off the shelves over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Since new tech gadgets are almost always the hottest holiday gifts, this new netbook offering should drive the price of netbooks down at other retailers.

Some users reported problems connecting: connecting to the internet, or to tech support, for that matter!  This writer actually has had those difficulties. After three emails and two telephone calls to the tech support number on the sticker attached to this oh-so-cute little red netbook, I still cannot get online, despite excellent signal strength in our house.

Tech savvy people criticize the use of the CE operating system, saying that it is not user friendly, and the programs that will run on it are limited. Still, depending on what your intentions are with this little laptop, it might serve your needs.

Now, if they could just hire a few dozen more tech support people……

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Sathish @ TechieMania

    September 17, 2010, 1:12 pm

    Hi Denise,

    Thanks for writing a review about this $99 netbook.

    Sathish

    Reply
  • MZDETROIT313

    November 29, 2010, 12:11 pm

    I purchased 2 of these units and could not connect to the internet. I took the units to BestBuy, so the Geek Squad could assist. An agent advise that the “motherboard” was not working properly. He also connected the unit to a modem directly and still wasn’t able to connect to the interet. Prior to taking the netbook to BestBuy, I attempt to contact their “technical support”, but I could never get through. I also attempt to email, but no response…… THIS NETBOOK IS PURE JUNK!!! WASTE OF MONEY!!! TO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!!!!

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard

    November 29, 2010, 1:58 pm

    Hi MZDETROIT;
    I ended up with two of these, because I had purchased one for a friend as well, and neither of them would work. I tried wireless, I tried plugging them into the modem directly– nothing! When I returned them to CVS, the lady said they’d had ‘several’ returned. I see that they’ve lowered the price even more now– would be great if the darn things actually did what they were supposed to do.
    I’m going to write to CVS and complain– will follow up if I get a response.

    Reply
  • Usman

    November 29, 2010, 7:12 pm

    This is an affordable Netbooks. i think we should have more Netbooks below $100

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard

    November 30, 2010, 6:02 pm

    Usman– you are absolutely right! Now that we know the technology’s affordability has gotten to this point, we should look to other manufacturers to offer similar deals.
    By the way, I shot off a complaint letter to CVS Corporate Headquarters in Woonsocket, Rhode Island yesterday. Would you believe they have no facility to make an online complaint, comment, or compliment? That is really poor customer care in today’s world. Anyway, I will definitely update when I hear back from someone there.

    Reply
  • Ferron s

    December 5, 2010, 1:23 am

    I brought 1 and it works just fine

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard

    December 5, 2010, 3:48 pm

    Thanks, Ferron for taking the time to comment. I had hoped that some other users of the netbooks would speak up- glad to know that some of them work properly, and I’m still hopeful that CVS will try and get the bugs worked out.

    Reply
  • Bob S

    December 15, 2010, 4:27 pm

    I like my Sylvania netbook. I have wirelessly connected to many routers with no issues. Everything works as advertised including the ability to add a mouse. However, you must realize you will be at the mobile web sites and not the full web sites mostly.
    Its a good deal if you start from the bottom and compare it to under $100 devices. Its a toy, but a nice toy. I also like the fact that its even smaller than other net books, so it fits in my coat pocket.
    I wish it had more software, not sure where to get software that will work on it. But I try to remember that it just an internet connection device, and that does work.

    Reply
    • Denise Gabbard

      February 26, 2011, 8:57 pm

      Thanks, Bob– I am glad that some people are having good luck with them…and yes, the size of the little netbook is what intrigued me in the first place as I knew I could toss it in my purse and go.

      I’m hoping that some other manufacturers might come up with a small, inexpensive one like this, or that Sylvania will get the problems worked out…. The other netbooks available are priced closer to laptops.

      Reply
  • mike

    December 31, 2010, 5:11 pm

    You need to update the operating system on the netbook. This will resolve internet connection issues.

    Reply
    • Denise Gabbard

      February 26, 2011, 8:58 pm

      Hey Mike—How can you update the OS? Where can you get the updated information from? Cannot get through to customer service….

      Reply
  • Sly

    February 25, 2011, 7:16 pm

    ~
    My netbook was great for 3 weeks now it’s stuck on the “OS Loading” page. I get no help from agents & I only know English & a little Spanish, they have no English speaking agents, & even to speak to someone you can’t understand you have to go through MANY RECORDINGS & being put on hold!!!

    I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND sylvania netbook

    Sly
    ~

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard

    February 26, 2011, 9:00 pm

    Sly– Sounds like the *ahem* customer service is getting better than it was when I wrote this….it was impossible to get a real person online at that time. See the above post from Mike about updating the OS? It’s possible that could help in your case–maybe he will reply to my post.

    Reply
  • maria

    March 22, 2011, 8:47 am

    i was just about to go and buy this netbook but after reading all of this its liek a waste of 99.99 dollars in my eyes thanks

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard

    March 24, 2011, 9:14 am

    Hi Maria– You would probably do much better to check out TigerDirect’s website and for just a touch more than $100, you can now pick up an Android OS tablet. The price has come done considerably in just the past few months, and there are lots of apps out there for Android now.

    Reply
  • Caleb

    March 25, 2011, 11:30 am

    My dad just bought a Sylvania Netbook for my mom to use on her trip out here to visit me and my wife…

    The Netbook is a joke. I’m a very tech savvy person (I’m an electronics technician in the Navy) and I have had no luck connecting to my very standard wireless router. It is a software insufficiency, with no immediate or available solution. To those you got it to work – props! I assume you must have a router that is compatible with the preloaded software.

    Save your money! just buy a smart phone.

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard

    April 8, 2011, 12:08 am

    I see in this week’s CVS circular they are still selling these… uggghhh!

    You are right about buying a smart phone instead, the functionality is much better. But, for those of us who are a touch *ahem* past 40, those little tiny keys can be a problem.

    I have opted for purchasing an Android based tablet PC this week, and I’m waiting for it’s arrival. I also found a leather case on Ebay for it that has a USB-corded keyboard, which should make it easier to type when needed, but I can still pull it out to take to the beach and read a good book. Should be good, light, and portable, and an ample alternative to the netbook, for about $170 total.

    Reply
  • monty

    October 10, 2011, 6:32 am

    Can you run citrix on this machine?

    Reply
  • Denise Gabbard@WriteandGetPaid

    October 13, 2011, 2:51 am

    Have not heard about Citrix being a possibility, but there is information out there about updating the software with Windows CE or flashing with Android to fix the issues. You might check out Youtube for some laughs, but also some instructions that might really work.

    Again– I have to recommend picking up an Android tablet…

    Reply
  • Edith Duke

    September 9, 2012, 6:22 am

    I bought one of these pieces of crap. Tried to get help, and couldn’t and these Indian’s (people IN India, that’s right, outsourced!) told me I was stuck with it. What a rip off. Hope they go out of business for cheating people!!

    Reply
  • nicole v

    December 22, 2012, 9:44 am

    I was plan on giving my mom one for Xmas it came yesterday. and the darn things can not load it is stuck on the home page. what a waste.

    Reply

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