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Old 11-30-2009, 02:33 AM   #1
ColdSun
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Review: W1060 7-inch MID by WireLession

Introduction

Welcome to my review of the WireLession W1060 7” MID. I’ve been looking forward to this review for some time now. As many of you can see, the mobile device market is literally exploding with new devices, and 2010 promises to be a year with at least double the number of new devices to be released. This of course is a double-edged sword, as many of us will be torn on which device to use. Some of you are aware of my quest to find the perfect multi-function device, so hopefully I can help people understand at least some of the devices being released.

W1060 Atop the Actual Retail Box


The WireLession W1060, also known to many as the Witstech A81, is a brand new MID (mobile internet device) using the Cortex A8 processor which is the same processor being used in the iPhone and the Archos 5 Android Tablet. WireLession is a distributor of the A81, and has re-branded it with their own designation (W1060) and logos. Last time I checked, the device was priced at $220 on WireLession’s site.

Specifications (see numbered notes below specs for some details)

Processor: ARM Cortex A8 600M, Dedicated DSP Graphic Core
Operating System: Windows CE 6.0 Embedded
Screen: 7-inch TFT Touch Screen, 800x480 Resolution
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth Built-in (1)
GPS (2) Built-In
Sound: Stereo High Fidelity Output 3D Surround, Adjustable Volume
Memory: 256MB RAM (3), T-Flash (microSD) slot supports up to 16GB
Video Formats Supported: AVI, MPEG4, MPEG2, WMV, H.264 and others (MKV support coming soon)
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Battery (3000mAH), 5 to 8 Hours Operation
Weight: 0.39kg battery included
Size: 18L×11W×1.5D CM

Specification Notes
1 – The review unit’s firmware did not have Bluetooth working.
2 – The review unit did not have the GPS Module – that is a different model of the W1060 which costs an extra $20
3 – The review unit seemed to only see 128MB of RAM. I’m not sure if that is a firmware issue or a hardware issue. The specs I was given say it is supposed to have 256MB of RAM. UPDATE: The unit does indeed have 256MB of RAM. It is a WinCE functionality that the other 128MB is set aside to be used by the Operating System.

Packaging and Build Quality

The device box is a solid black color, not something you would find on a store shelf and not much larger than the device itself. It was shipped inside another box (with the box containing the W1010 as well). Everything that was supposed to be included with the device was there (cables, battery, adapter, and the device).

The device casing felt very sturdy, but it appears to be of a high quality plastic and not metal as I had been previously informed. As the pictures show, the device is jet black and shiny. When I held the device it felt extremely solid and good to hold, noticeably lighter than the SmartQ7 I reviewed previously. There was no flexing and, as a whole, it was smaller than I thought it would be from the pictures. The build quality is impressive, and reminds me quite a bit of holding a bigger Archos 5 Android Tablet.

EDIT: In the original post I forgot to mention the very handy and sturdy stand built into the back of the device. The stand is made of metal and is one of my favorite features on this device. My apologies for missing this on the intital posting!

The W1060 and the Carry Case I purchased from Fry's Electronics for $12.99 - it fits perfectly


The Screen

After putting in the battery and charging the device for a while, I turned it on and was immediately impressed with the quality of the screen. It is clear and vibrant, and clearly responsive to touch. To the naked eye it seems brighter and clearer than my SmartQ7’s screen. See the pictures of the included in this post for a comparison. The interesting thing is that the screen on the JE-100 eBook Reader (see my review) seems a little better than this, but it is very close. There is one big problem with the screen though – there is no way to rotate it, except within certain applications. WitsTech has said they are working hard on screen rotation and I was told it would be about 12-15 days before we say an update for it. If they can’t get some type of screen rotation, that could be a deal-breaker for many users, especially ebook-reading users.

Picture 1: The SmartQ7 (Left), JE-100 (Top), and the W1060. Picture 2 (left to right): SmartQ7, W1060, JE-100


Battery Life and Charging

I tested the device for a couple weeks, during which time I watched video, read ebooks and comics, and browsed the internet. The battery life is as advertised, which is to say 5 to 8 hours depending on the task. Listening to music and reading can take you to the battery-life max of 7-8 hours. Video or web browsing and you won’t get more than 3-4 hours.

To charge the device, simply use the included adapter or plug it in to your computer via USB cable. It will charge faster via the adapter, but the USB can also be very convenient. When charging, the power button lights up, turning green and red. When fully charged, the power button light turns completely green. It actually looks pretty cool. You can also see it is charging by looking in the tray on the bottom right of the screen in WinCE.

The Snazzy Power Light


Operating System

Again, the device is running Windows CE 6 Embedded. The version included here is 100% English and has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a complete version of the OS. It was nice to know that I didn’t have to worry about converting it to English, and missing certain applications because they were only in Chinese. USB and Windows Mobile Device Center worked perfectly on the device without having to do anything like load drivers (at least on my Test PC, which is running Windows Vista).
Word from the Manufacturer (WitsTech) is that Android will be available for this device by the end of December. That would certainly make some people very happy and open up a whole group of customers who don’t like WinCE.

USB Modes

The device can be switched from ActiveSynch to Drive mode. This works exactly how it sounds. If you change it to ActiveSynch (in the settings application included with the device), the device will try to launch Windows Mobile Device Center or ActiveSynch 4.5 (depending on your OS) and allow you to synch up as usual. If you switch the device to Disk Drive mode, it will simply allow you to access the microSD contents on the device just as if you were using a card reader on your PC.

Someone asked me in a post at MobileRead if the device had a USB Host mode. I tried the device in both settings with a USB mouse and USB mini keyboard and I could not get the W1060 to host either USB device. I don’t believe the device has a USB Host capability. If someone from WitsTech or WireLession would like to respond and correct me that would be fantastic.

The W1060 Device Settings Screen


Performance – Overall

The device takes roughly 13-14 seconds to boot, which is pretty darn fast. I’ll be going over specific performance features in the topics below, but I was quite happy with performance on this device with the notable exception of Internet Explorer and browsing the web. Every screen rotation utility I have for WinCE crashed the device.

eBook Reading

I tried to load many different eBook applications on this device with varying degrees of success. My favorite, as it was with the JE-100, would have to be AlReader2. Below is a list of eBook Readers I tested:

AlReader 2 – successful
MobiPocket – successful, no screen rotation (crashes device)
KingReader – starts but won’t display file (only reads TXT files to begin with)
uBook – successful, but need to rotate screen to portrait to see complete configuration and settings screen.
HaaliReader – successful, but in Russian
Microsoft Reader – failure to run (I’m still trying though!)

AlReader2 Screen Capture Directly from W1060


At the end of the day I was very happy with this device as an eBook reader. A crisp and colorful screen that didn’t hurt my eyes, it is lightning fast for turning pages, and many of the applications I like to read with work on the device.

Viewing PDF Files

Once again, I used a demo version of Foxit PDF Viewer to view a PDF eBook. I also loaded “Ancestor” by Scott Sigler. Just like the SmartQ and the JE-100, this device is best for viewing PDF while in landscape mode. Going to portrait might make things a little too small for to read. Going from page to page was nearly instantaneous. I really like how fast the device loaded a PDF and performed while viewing it.

W1060 Running Foxit PDF Reader


Audio

Music on this device is a real treat. The sound that emits from the speaker is nothing to brag about, but putting a good set of headphones on it will really make you happy. It has a rich sound, much like your Zune or iPod, with good bass and treble. The two players I use most are Nitrogen and GSPlayer. Nitrogen even supports resume, which can be very handy when listening to audio books. The great battery life and clear music make this a very enjoyable device for reading or browsing while listening to music.

Nitrogen Audio Player screenshot captured directly from W1060


Video

The device arrived with Windows Media Player and an application called “WMPlayer” by WitsTech. I’ve tested AVI, MPEG4, and WMV files to good effect. It seems the best framerate came from the AVI file. The MKV file I tested did not function, and I was told that MKV support would be coming soon. Still, this device is great for watching video, and the power of the Cortex A8 shines through here. We finally have a MID that can read, watch movies, and listen to music. Unfortunately, the internet isn’t perfect. Read on my friends!

Video of Crash TV Show playing on the W1060


Reading Comics

Using MangaMeeyaCE English to view comics on this device is pretty much just like the SmartQ7 or the JE-100, with one noticeable difference. It is very fast to change pages. The bright and clear screen makes it easy to see the small text you usually find with a comic book. I’ve found the best way to view comics is in full screen portrait mode.

MangaMeeyaCE Comic Viewer Direct Screenshot from W1060


Web Browsing

This is where I spent most of my time with this device. Unfortunately, it was because this is where I had problems. I expected this device to perform very well for web browsing, as that is one of the claims of the Cortex A8 (hence Archos 5 Android being one of the fastest there is right now) is known for. It was to my great surprise that IE ran sluggishly on the device. It is slower than my SmartQ7, and closer to my old Nokia N770 Internet Tablet. The W1010 4.3 Slider also runs considerably faster! Not only do the pages load slower than they should, but the interface doesn’t respond well even after the page is loaded. Tapping the scrollbar up or down causes the scroll to jog too far or lag behind taps. Clicking the address bar to show history reacts slowly.

To solve this I looked into many things. I adjusted the amount of RAM available vs. Storage. I loaded a memory resource watcher into the try to watch what would happen when I did certain things. Another test I did was open several browser windows all the the MobileRead website open. I was able to do this more times than were necessary on the SmartQ7. On the W1060, after two browser windows I was up to 80% memory being used. After the 4th window the device froze up. When I loaded a Youtube page with a single video on it the memory would go up over 90% used. I managed to get a youtube video to play once, but it was pixilated and the framerate was pretty bad. I had the same mixed results with flash. It seems to me there is a firmware issue with Internet Explorer, some type of memory leak or memory problem. Until this is fixed, it seems a little frustrating to use the web browser. If you are spending more time trying to get the device working with your current page by changing memory or closing tasks than you are actually browsing the web, then you might feel a little challenged with this device.

W1060 Web Screenshot - Left: Look at the resources in the tray, Right: Notice the resource jump when a YouTube video page is loaded


The Device’s Future

Now that I have reached this part of the review I can say that I’m still excited about the device. First of all, I’ve been told Android would be available by the end of the year. Next, they are working on fixing screen rotation right away. Since the device is firmware based, and it is very new, you can expect to see many improvements to the firmware. If they can fix the memory problems I encountered with Internet Explorer, bring MKV to the device, and adjust a few other things, this will be a very nice device in the future.

Conclusion

There are many great things about this device. For everything except web browsing it is extremely fast and a pleasure to use. The form factor is just about perfect. Not too heavy and not too light. It feels good in your hands. The build quality is fantastic! On the other side, the lack of true screen rotation is a real problem. The issues with Internet Explorer and memory are frustrating. It doesn’t have USB Host mode, which many folks have come to expect in their multi-function devices these days.

I’ve heard that WitsTech is going to release a version of this device with a multi-touch capacitive screen in a few months. With that in mind, and considering some of the issues we are having right now, only the die-hard device enthusiasts should pick this device up before the firmware is updated or the capacitive version is released. I’ve been asked to hold on to this device and keep the community updated as the bugs are worked out. I’m happy to do so, and I hope they can fix these things soon, because it really is a beautiful machine.

Supplemental Links

WireLession
Electio-Divina
W1060 Device Video by WireLession
W1060 Running ColdSun Creations WinCE UI Video
ColdSun Creations UI Download
WitsTech

Review Unit Information

The Review unit was supplied by E-lectio-divina, a United States distributor of several MID and PDA devices. They also specialize in some of the best Bible Software on eBook and multifunction devices. If you are interested in purchasing one of his devices, just contact him and tell him ColdSun (Heath Brown) sent you. He also asked that I include a link to his free bible reading software.

E-LectioReader Bible Reader

Up Next – The WireLession W1010 4.3” Slider MID

The next review, as expected, will be the WireLession W1010 4.3” Slider Mid with Keyboard. After that, I will be reviewing the MIDnite Xpress 4.1 MID by MP4Nation. Stay tuned as I announce more devices to be reviewed!

Last edited by ColdSun; 03-26-2010 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:28 AM   #2
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No portrait mobipocket would be a huge dealbreaker for me...

Does it have external buttons you can use for paging?
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:33 AM   #3
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No it doesn't. The only button the device has is the Power button.
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:38 AM   #4
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Coldsun, nice job on the review!

I'm glad that your search for the perfect MID goes on because it would be tough to find reviews of these new devices otherwise.

By the way, Eletroworld appears to be selling the W1060/A81 under the A81 name for $200 ($209 with GPS) plus shipping. It's the cheapest price from a reputable dealer I've seen.

The e World A81 specs list 128MB of RAM. That's too bad. The SmartDevices V7 definitely benefitted from moving up to 256MB RAM and 2GB NANDFlash. Maybe Wirelession will upgrade the memory after they come out with some firmware revisions.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:09 AM   #5
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Thank you celtica96. I will defiantely keep the reviews coming. I had very good dealings with Eletroworld, and that is a great price. This is definately a competition for pricing and new devices. It will be a good year indeed!

I'm still not sure if the device has 128MB or 256MB. I have a firmware that I'm going to install today to see if that fixes the memory problems I spoke of in the review. Everyone other than Eletroworld tells me it is supposed to be 256MB. Hopefully I can get some clarity for all of us on this.

Last edited by ColdSun; 11-30-2009 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 01:57 PM   #6
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Looking for Advice

Hi there, good review.

My first post.

You seem like a well informed kind of guy so maybe you can help me with some advice.

I looking, this Xmas, to buy a new mobile device for that special person in my life (me).

I wonder if you can tell me whether any of the new MIDs you're reviewing or are aware of coming up might fit my needs?

I have a Nokia n800 which I've had for more than 2 years (replaced my treasured Dell Axim x50v) which I use as a web browser, RSS reader, ebook reader, pdf viewer, cbr reader, picture viewer and media player.
I'm getting to the point where I reckon an improved replacement must be possible, especially for video playback, so I've been looking but still not found the ideal.
(I also own an Onda VX545HD PMP which is better for video but pretty limited in other regards)

First off my budget is ~$350 (actually ~£220 as I'm in the UK).

This puts the Nokia n900 out as that's the equivalent of $700+ over here.

I have been actively considering the Archos 5 Internet tablet (Android) but I'm still unsure about it because of
- Need to pay extra for some codecs / GPS functionality
- AC3 audio doesn't work
- Not full android market access
- Unsure whether non-Archos GPS s/w will work.
- No hardware buttons (well 3: power, vol up and vol down but can't be mapped)
- Some reports it corrupts memory cards when they're removed

I've also being thinking about the Nationite Midnite Xpress (English ver. of Chuwi W3000) but that has
- No bluetooth
- no kickstand

Alternatively, there are some relatively cheap Benq S6 Mids turning up on ebay but I reckon they have poor battery life.

I'd propably go for a Pandora but there's no sign of those being available anytime soon.
Possibly a smartq v5 but they are also not avail yet.

Here's what I'm looking for
1. MUST-HAVES
- No bigger than n800/vx545HD (i.e. pocketable), so 5" max screen
- WVGA (800 * 480)
- Smooth video playback at above resolution (at least Xvid)
- Touchscreen
- D-pad or mappable Hardware buttons
- Wifi
- Bluetooth ADCP (because I like to listen on BT stereo headphone. Hate wired headphones)
- Removable storage
- Browser (faster than n800)
- Ebook reader supporting txt / html
- PDF reader
- Image viewer
- RSS Reader
- File Browser with cut and paste
- kickstand (or clamshell design). This is a dealbreaker for me as I like to prop a device on table to read/browse
- Some availability of 3rd party apps.

2. NICE-TO-HAVES
- MKV playback
- Flash playback, either in-browser or launched app
- Big storage
- USB Host
- Speakers

3. NOT NECESSARY (but would not say no)
- GPS
- Accelerometer
- 3G
- Hardware Keyboard

I was interested in the W1010 you are shortly going to review but like the Midnite Xpress this doesn't appear to have either Bluetooth or a kickstand.
Is that right?

So, any thoughts - wait for the SmartQ V5, do you think?
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Old 11-30-2009, 02:39 PM   #7
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Hello Kwisatz,

When I read your post and questions I can't help but smile. You see, you are describing the device I've been searching for (with the sole exception of the screen size). I will answer your questions as best I can, as I have used most of the devices you mention in your post.

Let me just say, out of all your requirements, the device that fits the closest is the Archos 5 Android Internet Tablet. It doesn't have all of the features you want, and if you need all of those features you might want to wait until next year's crop of new MIDs coming out. I know there have been some problems with it, but Chippy over at UMPCPortal says it really is a great device, especially with the latest firmware. Some folks have lost confidence in Archos, but it looks like they are doing a pretty good job releasing firmware for it. Chippy told me just yesterday he is about to post his full review of the Archos 5 Andoid, so keep an eye out at either CarryPad or UMPCPortal to learn more. I actually have two of them hidden in my closet in my bedroom for my sons for Christmas.

I've also read on ArchosFans that Archos plans on having support for the full Android Market very soon, and nearly any Android application can now be loaded manually on the device as it is now (something I'm eagerly waiting to test on my son's A5Android).

I might recommend the SmartV5 if I had a test unit to review how well Android worked on it. My SmartQ7 doesn't do too well with the Android implementation that works on it, and that is a concern for me.

The W1010 can run Android as well. The test unit I have now has WinCE 6.0 on it, but I'm working hard with the distributor to get the Android firmware for it so I can include tests with it in my review. I love this device, although its not as high quality as your Nokia (or mine for that matter), it has a lot of cool features and the keyboard is very nice. Unfortunately, the resolution is 480x272, so that may take it out of the running for you. It doesn't have bluetooth or a kickstand either.

Hope this helped!

Regards,
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for your quick feedback.

You're helping me lean towards the Archos now.

It always a source of amazement to me that manufacturers don't really seem to be paying much attention to what users want. The kit available hasn't really moved that far beyond the 5 year old Dell Axim x50v I mentioned above, despite the huge advances in hardware possibilities
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:09 PM   #9
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Hi Coldsun - great review.

I am, as we all are, on the hunt for the best MID and really cant chose which. I like the Archos 7 but your views on the web browsing worries me. do you have to pay a lot of extra money for applications or are they generally free?

being quite a poker fan i would love to play on the go, probably using one of the poker sites which use no-download tables. do you think this is possible? i believe they use Java or flash. are they able to run? Would the SmartQ V7 or W1060 be better?

sorry if you have already answered this somewhere else.

Cheers again for the reviews - really help to shed some light (im new to MID's)

Ndiddly
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:12 AM   #10
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I just came across this site the other day after learning about the Archos 5 Android tablet and in my search for info about the Archos, I came across other sites that led me to here.

I too am interested in finding a device that I could do most of the stuff I could on my laptop without having to carry my laptop around.

I am still leaning toward the archos 5, but devices like the W1060, and the Smart Qv7 are almost too good to ignore in terms of price an d functionality.

Coldsun, for an everyday device that is good for emailing, and web browsing from all the machines you have used which would u say is the best all around device?

i would like to thank you for this great review Coldsun!
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:15 AM   #11
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One other thing I forgot to ask if anyone could answer, is there anyway to get a bigger on screen keyboard without having to use the stylus all the time? thats another reaspon why I am leaning towards the Archos 5 android Tablet.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:49 AM   #12
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No way this garbage could be a reader for ebooks. 800 x 400 resolution on a 7 inch screen is horrible.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:51 AM   #13
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Hello,

@Ndiddly: If you look for a link in my review that talks about the ColdSun Creations UI (near the bottom of the review), there is a link on the UI page to a bunch of free applications that do just about everything you need on the device. There are quite a few free applications for WinCE, and there are some pay applications. I have yet to find a free poker game (I like Texas Hold'Em) for the device yet. There are quite a few poker games that I think will work, but they are all like $10-$30 price range. I'm going to buy one soon. Oh and I think you mean the W1060 not the Archos 7, correct?

I haven't tested the SmartV7, but I do have a SmartQ7. The SmartQ7 has a great community behind it and a lot of development going on right now. I never had flash working on my SmartQ7, but someone may have done that by now. On the other hand, I have had some flash (not all) working on the W1060. I need to test more flash games. It really is a tough choice between the two. The W1060 is faster for everything except web browsing (and that should be fixed with firmware, I HOPE). It also has a better build quality and smaller footprint than the SmartQ7. In the Q7's favor is you can run 4 (Mer, Linux, WinCE, Android) on the device - and that is amazingly cool. Also, it has buttons on the face which are great for paging in many different applications. It has been out longer than the W1060 and many bugs have been worked out. The V7, according to posts here, is also quite new and they are ironing out the bugs. This makes it a hard choice I know, but all I can do is try to educate you on each one and let you choose the one you feel the best about. You will hate me for this, but you should also look into the Archos 5 Android before you make a purchase. As I mentioned above, there will be a good review from Chippy at UMPCPortal very soon.

@AKD: The best all-around device. Boy is that a loaded question! I'm going to have to say the Archos 5 Android, at least for now. News released just tonight is that users have hacked the device to support Android Marketplace and all Google apps. It won't be long before Archos releases an official firmware with the market built-in. It has excellent multimedia capabilities, and has proven speed against the best mobile devices out there. To answer your last question, the W1060 has a larger on-screen keyboard that is very finger friendly and attractive. If they can get Internet Explorer working better (without memory problems), Android working, and screen rotation fixed - it will be nearly as good as the Archos with a larger screen size. Of course, the Archos 5 Android also has several configurations that support multiple storage sizes (8GB to 500GB).

@jswinden: I disagree and calling these devices garbage is uncalled for. I've been reading on devices like this for many years. 800x480 on a 7 inch screen is actually quite good. Please refrain from starting the e-ink vs. LCD debate in this thread. There are likely 100 others you can do that in.

And if I was going to go by the theme of your sig, I would say: Never give an opinion if you are too close-minded to discuss it.

Last edited by ColdSun; 12-01-2009 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:07 AM   #14
ccpraveen
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Excellent review coldsun. Thanks for the detailed analysis.

If its is not too much of a trouble, can you post the skin from the alreader screenshot you have posted? I searched quite a bit, but could not find it anywhere.

Thanks once again

Regards

Steve
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:13 AM   #15
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@ccpraveen: Here you go. I hope you don't mind, the only place I have it is on RapidShare. I'm glad you enjoyed the review.
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