About Netbooks

Nicholas Aylsworth
Submitted on 2009/12/29 at 5:27pm
I bought this netbook about two months ago to replace my old Dell Inspiron which had begun having the “white screen” problem . There were several reasons I went with this netbook:

1. 93% keyboard is a absolute must
2. 160 GB (more like a 142 GB) of memory
3. Integrated Bluetooth work great with my Phone, which also happens to be a SamSung
4. Battery life is amazing, 6-10 hours depending on what you’re doing
5. This thing is lighting fast compared to my old Dell laptop

I use it daily to surf the web, check e-mail, watch movies, and talk via the webcam. I installed Word, Excel, and Powerpoint and have yet to experiencing any slow downs. The only program that I use regularly that I have NOT install onto my netbook has been Photoshop. Though I haven’t, I have heard that a massive program like CS4 has been know to work very sluggishly on netbooks. Not a real problem for me because I still have my Dell laptop with the Photoshop loaded onto it.

This is easily the best purchase I have made in a long, LONG time. And for under $400 dollars, it is definitely worth the money.

That comment was spam, but it sounded like something a real person would say. So I figure I’ll reply to the things they said.

1. 93% keyboard is a absolute must
The keyboards on netbooks are fun, but I’ve found that it’s easy to get used to the size. Besides, people work with Blackberrys on a daily basis. The most important thing is the keyboard layout, variations of which you’ll also find on full-size USB keyboards. Some have an Enter key that spans two rows, and the ” key is placed somewhere else. The ‘Delete’ key might also be in a very strange spot. As a programmer (and one who needs to use the backslash frequently), I couldn’t stand that setup.
When you’re dealing with a non-standard keyboard, you have to re-learn the layout. If you spent a lot of time on that machine and then switch to another you’ll notice that you keep pressing the wrong keys because you’ve gotten so used to doing it that other way.
So, ignore the size, but make sure it’s a keyboard layout you can live with.

2. 160 GB (more like a 142 GB) of memory
A netbook isn’t meant to be your main machine, and I’d urge you to at least get a $500 laptop before the netbook. A netbook is made to be a fast, light, cheap, weak computer with tremendous mobility, which is kind of dulled-down with the bigger screens and the heavier, slower, break-it-if-you-shake-it hard-disk drives.
Most of the drive space on your main machine will be taken up with movies, music, and games (or other installed programs). You really shouldn’t have a lot of movies on a netbook, because it’s just a little thing you grab with you when you go somewhere. If you’re on a trip that’s long enough to need movies, you might as well bring your big laptop with an expansive drive. You can also get a small external drive, and maybe an MP3 player for music.

In other words, get a 16GB SSD (or higher, if you can afford it; they go up to 80GB for a couple hundred dollars) with your netbook. They can be tremendously fast (booting in ten seconds or less), and you don’t have to worry about losing data if you drop the netbook. They don’t hold nearly as much, but you’ll still have gigs and gigs of space. You can also get a 64GB SD card if you need it.
My core files (all the archives of my past, et-cetera) fit into an 8GB flash drive.
(And, considering you can have your main drive, an SD card, a flash drive, and an external hard-drive, there are a lot of memory options.)

3. Integrated Bluetooth work great with my Phone, which also happens to be a SamSung
Okay. I’ve not used Bluetooth at all, myself, and I have no idea if netbooks really do come with built-in bluetooth, but I assume you’d then be able to connect a bluetooth keyboard/mouse to it.

4. Battery life is amazing, 6-10 hours depending on what you’re doing
Battery life is a sticking point. Keep the brightness low (unless you’re in the sunlight), keep always-on peripherals, such as mobile modems, out of the USB ports when you don’t need them, and solid-state drives will take less power than hard-disk drives.
Different netbooks have different battery lives. Because they’re so mobile, you really do need a good battery in your netbook. Look for something with more than three hours, if you want more.

5. This thing is lighting fast compared to my old Dell laptop
These last few points may have been spammy lies to make a long list of great-sounding stuff; I have no access to benchmarks, and the spammer didn’t leave a link to the netbook in question (instead, they left a link to a review for a 15.4″ laptop backpack).

If a laptop is getting very old, the operating system will become bogged down with all sorts of stuff. You’ll find that the drive is constantly being used by one service or another, and it’ll take forever to load programs. Something as simple as opening a menu can trigger a search through the registry, which might take a few seconds to complete if things are accessing the drive.
A new netbook (or laptop, or desktop, or even just a fresh install of Windows on your old computer) will be faster, but only for a couple years. Try not to install too many things, and have someone reinstall windows for you every couple of years. A refresh is always good, and might help you clean up old files, too.

In closing: Netbooks are secondary computers, for when you need to grab something light to use around town, and when you need more power than a smart-phone can give. They’ll be fast and responsive with a good SSD, but you should make sure the keyboard layout suits your needs. A long battery life is good to look for.

And for under $400 dollars, it is definitely worth the money.
You can find them for $200. In fact, you can get one for $50 on a two-year contract with a mobile internet provider. Keep an eye out!

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