One glance at the specs on Walmart’s cheapest laptop—the EVOO EV-C-116-5—makes it clear to any technical enthusiast that the device is not exactly going to be a powerhouse. But the little laptop only costs $139, and its stats appear to stack up well with $200-$250 Chromebooks. So recently, I ponied up my credit card and ordered one. In purple.
Amongst us Arsians, it’s obvious that the EVOO is not going to be a good choice for a Windows laptop. With only 2GiB of RAM, the EVOO won’t be able to run anything without hammering virtual memory (swapping data from RAM to disk and back again). Beyond that, a 32GB SSD simply is not enough room for Windows itself, let alone any applications. The first time the EVOO tries to upgrade to a new build of Windows 10 (for example, Windows 10 build 2004, which just released last month), it will fail due to lack of space.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the laptop is entirely useless, though. Perhaps it could be reloaded with Linux—even “heavyweight” distributions like Ubuntu are considerably easier on both RAM and storage than Windows is. Heck, maybe even the assumption that a 2GiB RAM, 32GB SSD laptop can’t run Windows 10 well isn’t quite right. There was only one way to find out.
The first thing any prospective shopper should know about cheap laptop designs like this one is that 32GB is absolutely not enough to sustainably run Windows 10. The second thing shoppers should know is that 32GB doesn’t, unfortunately, mean what they think it means—when the specification says GB, it means GB.
Windows measures storage in GiB, not GB—and 32GB is only 29.8GiB, of which another 1GiB is consumed in restoration directory, 3GiB is consumed by the Windows pagefile, and a few hundred MiB more are devoted to the hibernation file and swapfile.
If you’re wondering why there’s both a pagefile and a swapfile, it’s because of Windows UWP apps. They (and only they) use the “swapfile” rather than the “pagefile” in order to cache themselves for rapid opening on system reboot, among other things.
The 2GiB of RAM specified is also criminally low: even in S mode and on first boot, the system had only 300MiB of headroom in RAM. That means there’s effectively no memory to devote to operating-system caching, and the system is continuously hitting the pagefile hard enough to seem criminal.
The one part of this system that looks legitimately suited for purpose—the AMD A4-9120 CPU—also turns out to be a problem. Normally, the A4-9120 would be an excellent choice for a budget laptop or netbook, and it would compete strongly with Intel’s Celeron counterparts. The EV-C-116-5, unfortunately, is anything but “normal”—and the A4-9120 can’t perform up to its normal specifications.
I knew better than to have high hopes for the under-specced EVOO as a Windows machine, but I really wanted to like the little laptop. Its brightly colored plastic case is appealing but unassuming, and I had high hopes that it might still make a solid Chromebook alternative for Linux users.
The display on the EVOO is FHD 1080p, not the 1366×768 typical of many cheap laptops. This is a major plus for power users who need more screen real estate. Unfortunately, those same power users will want to defenestrate the little laptop, due to its strange rehoming of the backslash key. EVOO decided that the backslash, normally located directly above Enter, would be better off sandwiched between right-Alt and right-Ctrl.
Relocating this key is a problem on Windows, because the backslash is the directory separator when typing out paths on the command line or in the Explorer address bar. It’s also a problem on Linux command lines, where the backslash is the “escape” operator used to nullify special use-cases of characters. For example, one might cp !folder /tmp/ to copy a folder named !folder, since otherwise Bash would interpret the bang as an event.
The lack of silk-screening on the laptop’s side-mounted ports is yet another problem—the gray-on-gray bas-relief labeling is almost impossible to make out in normal lighting. When I first set this laptop up, I naively plugged the charger into the headphone jack, and it felt perfectly fine there. I didn’t realize my mistake until checking the battery and wondering why it wasn’t charging.
The USB ports on the laptop were very tight. I needed both hands and some determination to get a USB thumbdrive or wireless mouse radio inserted on either side of the laptop. I needed both hands and plenty of determination to get them out again, as well.
The plastic used for the EVOO’s chassis is unusually soft. The plastic is fairly thick and the laptop is small and light, so it doesn’t feel flimsy. But the soft plastic doesn’t bode well for scratch resistance, and it makes dealing with the stubborn USB plugs even more annoying.
Walmart this morning announced a new partnership with e-commerce shopping platform, Shopify, now used by over 1 million businesses. The deal will open Walmart’s Marketplace to Shopify’s small business sellers, with the goal of bringing 1,200 Shopify sellers to the marketplace this year. The partnership will greatly expand the reach of the participating brands by placing them in front of Walmart Marketplace’s 120 million monthly visitors.
The partnership is a direct shot at Amazon, which today promises third-party sellers the ability to reach more than 300 million customers worldwide and even offers help with shipping, returns and customer service by way of Fulfillment by Amazon.
Walmart, meanwhile, has been steadily working to make its own marketplace a more competitive offering. In fall 2018, for example, the retailer announced Walmart Marketplace items would be able to participate in its free, two-day shipping program and would be eligible for in-store returns. Today, Walmart describes its Marketplace’s growth as a “strategic priority.”
The partnership arrives at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has sent record numbers of consumers to shop online. Walmart notes its own U.S. e-commerce business grew 74% last quarter, due to the surge in pandemic-fueled shopping, which sent shoppers online for essentials like food, cleaning products and more. Walmart’s Marketplace business’s growth even outpaced the overall business, despite the strength of its first-party sales.
“We’re excited to be able offer customers an expanded assortment while also giving small businesses access to the surging traffic on Walmart.com,” said Jeff Clementz, vice president, Walmart Marketplace, in an announcement. “Shopify powers a dynamic portfolio of third-party sellers who are interested in growing their business through new, trusted channels. This integration will allow approved Shopify sellers to seamlessly list their items on Walmart.com, which gives Walmart customers access to a broader assortment,” he added.
With the launch of the Shopify integration, Walmart’s focus will be on those brands that can meet its shoppers’ needs. Specifically, Walmart says it will look for U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses with an assortment that complements Walmart’s own, and that have a good track record in terms of customer service.
Shopify sellers are being invited to install the Walmart Marketplace app from Shopify’s App Store and determine their eligibility. If approved, the sellers can then add an unlimited number of products to Walmart Marketplace, while making changes to product images and inventory within Shopify. Those changes will immediately and automatically be reflected on Walmart’s site, the retailer says.
This sort of integration could be the first step in a potential Shopify acquisition further down the road — an idea that has often been floated as to how Walmart could better compete with Amazon’s dominance. But in the near-term, it turns Shopify’s seller network from one that rivals Walmart’s Marketplace to one that now fuels it. Over time, this can boost Walmart’s bottom line as it will benefit not only from marketplace listing fees but also from the increased traffic and sales that marketplace items will bring.
FILE PHOTO: A logo of CVS Health is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
(Reuters) – Drugstore chain CVS Health Corp (CVS.N) joined Walmart Inc (WMT.N) in announcing it will stop keeping beauty and personal care products designed for people of color in locked display cases, after the practice drew criticism online.
In the wake of nationwide protests in the U.S. against police brutality and racial inequality following the death of African American George Floyd last month, several companies have issued statements in support of the black community and set up funds to fight systematic racism.
The change in policy at both companies comes after a Walmart customer complained the practice of locking up items that cater to people of color was discriminatory.
“We have a firm-nondiscrimination policy that applies to all aspects of our business and our product protection measures have never been based on the race or ethnicity of our customers,” CVS said in an emailed statement on Friday.
The drugstore chain said it had expanded its selection of products in its textured hair and color cosmetics categories by 35% over the past year to add new brands that appeal to communities of color.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) also said it is currently ensuring multicultural hair care and beauty products are not stored behind locked cases, which has been the case at a limited number of its stores.
Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph, Aishwarya Nair and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty