Small Travel Computer Wishlist

by Scott on December 26, 2009

There are a couple new improvements coming soon to netbooks.   The first is the recently announced Atom N450 processor, dubbed Pinetrail.  The big difference with this processor is that for the first time the cpu and graphics chip is combined onto one chip.  The performance is going to be approximately the same but due to the two previously separate processors being combined, the benefit is better battery life.  Initially it looks like many of the manufactures will be using the same chassis they are currently selling merely upgrading the internals. You can expect more announcements up through CES.

Rumors are also surrounding NVIDIA with reports that they are thinking about releasing a video card that will plug into the PCI slot on most netbooks.  Having a discrete graphics card would be a huge benefit for games, photos and video.  The downside is if it’s a couple hundred dollars and you spend $3-400 on the netbook you should probably just get a laptop.  This will be interesting to watch.

The apple touch pad thingy.  Rumors are escalating rapidly regarding the immanent release of some sort of tablet.  One way I gauge the reputability of the rumors is by checking if the WSJ has any reports on it.  And they are.  This seems to be the worst kept secert in tech right now.  Probably because Apple needed input as to content.  This was probably shown to the newpaper and/or the magazine industry when they announced their new epub initiative.  But that is just seer speculation.  What you can count on is there is going to be an announcement in January with a later release date.

Why this is intriguing to a traveler is even the iPhone and iTouch do graphics well.  A tablet that could do minor graphics along with the expected small size would make it attractive for the weekend traveler or for a RTW backpacker.

The wishlist of things to look for (or at least what i’m looking for) are

  1. a small sub 12 inch size
  2. less then 2lbs (1kg)
  3. good battery life
  4. can do minor photo and video
  5. wifi (this may a no brainer, but some tablets/ereaders have service through cell phone companies)

and although not required – an aluminum body would be a plus also.

UPDATE:  After I wrote this I read Gizmodo’s all inclusive Apple rumor roundup.  Definitely an interesting read.


8 Reasons to not get a Netbook for Travel

by Scott on December 24, 2009

The screens are small. Some people just can’t get used to a screen that small.  It doesn’t feel like they can do any ‘real’ work on it. They get all hunched over and squinty trying to use it.

The keyboard is cramped.  Some people  (mainly guys) think their hands are to big for the keyboard.  If you think so do a comparison with a normal laptop (one that does not have the 10 keys on the side).  It’s more of an ego thing that threatens their manhood.  Get over it, measure the keyboard.

Is it a want or need? Seriously look at why you want to bring one. Do you really Need it? Are you just bringing it to email home because a phone does that now you know.  You need is one that will do WiFi is all.

Will you break it. If you know your rough on equipment and you plan on chucking it in the bottom of your bag only to use it to ask for more money from home.   Again, get a cell phone.

No CD rom. Not having a floppy is one thing but no DVD?  That’s barbaric.  How are you going to get all those cds ripped into the netbook?  How are you going to burn a cd of pictures to send home to your mom?

You have to keep an eye on it. All the time.  If your going to worry all the time whether its going to get stolen or you take it with you to every bar and nightclub and freakout every time someone uses it as a coaster.  Save yourself the aggravation. Again bring a cell phone.

There are better ones coming out soon. There will always be better ones coming out soon.  This time you may actually want to wait however.  If your not going to be traveling this winter or spring it’s going to be worth it.  Some of the new netbooks are reporting 14 hour battery life.  Also Apple is going to release a 7inch touchpad in January. (I’d expect it to run the iPhone OS).  Which with the iPhones ability to do graphics makes it worth a look to see what it’s capable of.

You want to edit video.   Adding the occasional video to youtube once every couple months is about all your going to want to do.  If you want to do more frequent videos or to vlog your going to want a laptop. But you already knew that.

Saturday I’ll address the rumors surrounding the new Atom processor and the impending Apple release and what it means for travelers.


Liliputing is giving away a HP Mini  311.  It’s not your average 1.6Ghz Atom N270 with a 11.6 in 1366 x 768 pixel HD display, it also has the NVIDIA ION graphics.  That make it HD movie capable.  The ION graphics are important, along with the new Flash 10.1 make netbooks with ION graphics a light portable computer that travelers should seriously consider. You can even game on it if you get stuck at an airport in a snowstorm.  You’ll also want to look through their coverage of the 311.

photo from liliputing

photo from liliputing

Here is another can’t pass up holiday giveaway.  Contest ends 12:01 am Tuesday December 22.  See the site for details and restrictions.

Via Liliputing


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