Review: Tadpole/RDI UltraBook


Vendor: Tadpole/RDI

Review Date:8/2000



I started out by wiping the copy of Solaris 2.6 that was installed,

hooking up an external CD-ROM, and installing Solaris 8 (which is

not officially certified for the UltraBook so far, but works

just fine as far as I can tell).

The Ultrabook is based around an Ultra AX (Sun OEM) motherboard, and

my review unit contained a 4.5gig IDE HD, a Sun Creator 3D framebuffer,

and 128mb of RAM. CPU speed was 167Mhz, making this basically a portable

Ultra 170E.

I’ve been using the Ultrabook as my main desktop machine for the past 2-3

days, and I havent noticed any shortcomings (other than the 3 fans (two

in the unit, one in the power supply “brick”) to write about. Video

performance (1024×768 resolution, 24bit) was great – I was able to watch

some MPEG-format movies at 800×600 resolution on the desktop using

ShowMeTv without a problem or slowdown. I wish the audio was a little

louder – even at full volume, it could have been a little louder. This

wouldnt have been an issue if I’d had headphones or external speakers

to plug in (jacks are provided).


Awesome piece of hardware; one of the nicest laptops I’ve used. However,

size and weight (as well as heat output) might discourage some buyers. If

you need a portable high-performance SPARC, though – this is definitely

the way to go.


Four and a half stars – the plastic case seems a little flimsy and easily

breakable for a piece of hardware of this value. For the price, I’d wish

for a metal case of some kind (titanium alloy, etc, or even magnesium like

the SPARCbook series).