Notebook Review: The Zonbu Zonbook

Zonbu Zonbook

The name conjures up (at least to us) images of some kind of evil galactic overlord, but fortunately Zonbu is not here to enslave us, but to offer freedom from much of the hassle associated with owning and maintaining a conventional (read: Windows) notebook PC.

Zonbu’s notebook — also known as the Zonbook — runs Linux rather than Windows and is sold with an accompanying subscription service. The pricing model is similar to that of the cellular phone industry. In other words, the longer you commit to maintaining your subscription, the less you have to pay up front for the hardware (the company also offers a desktop model under a similar arrangement).

A Zonbu subscription costs $14.95 monthly and gets you automatic and transparent updates (for operating system, applications and drivers), automatic data backup to online storage and remote access to your data from Zonbu’s Web site. Zonbu also offers subscribers e-mail and phone support, and should your Zonbu hardware go south on you, the company says it will ship a replacement unit the same day.

The Zonbook can be had for a mere $279 when you commit to a two-year subscription commitment, but the price rises to $379 with just a one-year commitment. If you’d rather go month-to-month, you pay the full notebook price of $479. (Subscription fees are always paid monthly, even under the one- and two-year plans.)

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