4 things to consider when buying a netbook

by Scott on December 23, 2009

Many people are thinking of bringing a netbook with them when they travel.  It’s easy to see why:

They’re light – most are right around 1kg.  If you have a laptop right now go weight the bag and everything.   Now go pick up a Harry Potter book. Now which one would you rather carry around everywhere you go in the next year?

They’re small – Some of the really small ones are small enough to fit in a bum bag and not be noticed.  The more common 10 inch screen models will take up the size of a journal or a hardcover book.

They’re inexpensive – If you watch out for sales you usually can get one for $199 – $300.  The math is easy 1 Macbook Pro or 5 netbooks.  I mean I’ll probably loose it, break it or have it stolen anyway.  A great site to keep an eye on is Liliputings Deals of the day.

Their battery lasts forever – Well maybe not forever but many have 7 or or even 9 hour batteries!  You have to carefully look when you buy them, the same model may be available with a smaller 3 to 4 hour battery.  The newer series coming out in January are going to have 10+ hour battery life.

They’re safer then those netcafe’s – if you can find WiFi you don’t have to worry about keyloggers at cafes stealing your info.  There are other things you can do to secure yourself at cafes but that will be a later post.

The difference between a netbook and a laptop is like the difference between a car and a moped.  They will both get you to where you want to go, but one will take longer and won’t be able to deliver as much.

One of the first things any salesperson will ask if “What are you going to use it for?”  This is where you have to be honest with yourself, what are you really going to use it for?  I mean really.  What you need to consider is how much your going to be doing the following four things:

blogging – Yes. This shouldn’t have any problems.  A netbooks strong points are word processing and surfing.

emailing home – Yes. Again web based mail won’t be a problem.  As long as the country your in doesn’t firewall it.

Photos – Kinda. Photos are where they get weak.  If your going to just back up your photos to the netbook. Yes.  If you need to convert from RAW or want to run Photoshop, probably not.  The HP 311 will do a little better at this since it has a different video card.

Video – Yes and a big NO.  Watching online video yes.  It helps to download the new Adobe Flash 10.1 , which makes a huge differnce.   Editing your own NO.

Later I’ll post the downside of netbooks and why you should consider not taking one.

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Tiny Travel Laptop?

by Scott on December 16, 2009

Recently CherryPal announced a new netbook for $99.  At first you think $99 that’s awesome! Other then being one of the first to break the $100 OLPC goal price point, you will need to look closely if this is the right netbook for you.


To CherryPals credit they are marketing it as “small, slow, sufficient”.  If you look at it, it has small down in spades.   It s small processor at 400Mhz, small memory at 256Meg ram,  small hard drive 2Gb and comes in at 1.2 kgs (2.6  lbs).  Not to mention the small price tag as well.  The small storage could be increased by adding an SD card or a thumbdrive.

Slow?  It’s got that covered as well.  Let’s face it though, this isn’t made to be editing photos and video.  This is for someones writing and journals and for emailing home.  The netbook size will help those that can’t do any ‘real’ writing on a smartphone.

Sufficient?  Misses the mark in my book.  It’s squarely because of Windows CE and the Linux GMo (whats that?) .  The computers with Windows Ce that I’ve used all have not been able to load the websites I normally go to.  One of the biggest reasons people bring their own laptops on the road with them is so they can check their bank accounts to see if they have any money left.  Windows CE has had problems with secure banking and email.  Testing with your bank would be a must before traveling.  There is always the Ubuntu Netbook Remix you could load.  That takes a little tech savy-ness though.

We’ll definitely have to keep an eye on this for incremental improvements.

Via Liliputing


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