My New Netbook

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Sydney

Until recently, I hadn’t considered purchasing a netbook, a smaller, lighter version of a laptop.

My partner, Clive, subscribes to two Australian computer magazines, and we’ve talked on and off for some time about netbooks as an option for travel.  While Clive is a multi-media power user (I call him my IT guru), my computing demands are simple.  I use the Internet extensively for personal business and pleasure, and only need basic word processing, spreadsheet, and photograph management functionality to be productive and happy.

After casually looking at netbooks in various computer stores, I always concluded that despite being lightweight and ultra-portable, they were just too small.  That was until a few days ago, when an HP Mini 1001TU caught my eye.

“Look at this,” I said to Clive.  The screen seemed much larger than others we’d seen.  And the keys on the keyboard were full size, not the teensy ones I knew my long fingers wouldn’t like.

“I think that one is on the PC Authority A-list,” he said.  I was suddenly very, very interested in this netbook, for upcoming trips to Europe and the U.S.

“Let’s do the research,” the IT guru said.

So Many Choices

Clive is able to absorb and synthesise all the different features and specifications of various computer models.  Whether we’re talking desktops, laptops, netbooks, mobile phones, or music devices, I get overwhelmed with the number of choices available.

I wanted a model with the larger, 10” screen, full-size keys, and good price performance based on research and reviews.  For travel and moving around, I also wanted the lightest weight possible and good battery life.

The search quickly narrowed down to two.

HP Mini 1001TU and Asus Eee PC 1000H

I saw the HP first, then the Asus, which comes in white or black.  Here’s my comparison of features I care about:

·        Both:  10-inch screen (HP actually 10.2”)

·        Both:  keyboard with full-size keys

·        Both:  memory 1GB

·        Weight:  HP 1.1kg, Asus 1.45kg – plus for the HP

·        Battery life:  HP 2+ hours, Asus 6+ hours – huge plus for Asus

·        Hard disk drive:  HP 60GB, Asus 160GB – a big difference, but either is adequate for me

·        USB ports:  HP-2, Asus-3.  I don’t mind using a USB extender, but it’s one more thing to carry, so a plus for Asus.  When travelling, I use mobile Internet (which I wrote about here) a digital camera cable, a memory stick for interim backups, and a mouse and printer in Paris.

·        Look and feel:  HP very sleek, Asus in white not as flash-looking to me but has a different, ‘cool’ look

·        Price in AUD:  HP $694 after $100 cashback, Asus $791.   We shopped around and found prices for the same model varied by as much as $200.

I was leaning to the Asus, despite its higher cost and weight, because of its significant advantage in battery life.  The third USB port was also a plus.

The Importance of Individual Keys

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Asus Keyboard

The PC Authority Asus review states ‘only one major gripe – the tiny and poorly placed right Shift key’.  I’ve never used the right Shift key, so this didn’t worry me.  But I thought I’d better look more closely at both the HP and Asus keyboards before buying.

 

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HP Keyboard

 To my surprise, I found that on the HP keyboard, the arrow keys are reduced to half-keys.  The right Shift key, which I never use, is massive, but the up and down (and right and left) arrows, which I use a million times a day, are tiny.

When I did a hands-on in the store, I also realised the Asus keyboard has a slightly wider space below the keys, where I sometimes rest the base of my hands when typing.  It felt more comfortable.

Back to the A-List

As it turned out, the Asus model was number one on the A-list  mentioned by the IT guru.  The review says about the Asus, “Six hours of battery life is impressive (and unmatched)”.  The HP is number two, and the review says, “This is the netbook you’ll have to hide from your friends.”

I felt either model would be a winner, and decided to go with the Asus.

It’s a Girl Thing

Every desktop, laptop, and mobile phone I’ve ever had was/is basic black.  I’ve felt they were good-looking, practical, and professional.

But I left my corporate life in 2008, so thought I would start 2009 by doing something daring (for me):  buy a white netbook.

I’m so excited!  I love it already, and can’t wait to put it into a shoulder bag and set off on our next trip.

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Related post:  A Passion for Travel, Part 5:  Travel Technology 

PC Authority Review of Asus Eee PC 1000H
PC Authority Review of HP Mini 1001TU

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7 Responses

  1. As my computer is getting slower and slower I’m thinking I may need to get a new one. I think it gets clogged up with so much it slows it down, even though I regularly clean out the “cookies”. It’s so nice to have a new computer.

  2. That is what I would like to get, as my laptop is quite heavy! It looks great, and too be very light is good. 🙂

    Enjoy using it!!

  3. Hi Carolyn,
    That’s a very neat Netbook ! I tend to have the same idea that a smaller computer is “Less” for everything, esp memory. BUT;;;Technology advances !

    i use a “heavy” ( compared to your new laptop) Toshiba laptop, which is just fine for my everyday word precessing,Internet & photo sharing needs. I don’t need a lot of sophisticated gadgets either. We also have a bulky PC that has tons more memory than the laptop that I use.

    Have fun getting to know your laptop and see you soon !

  4. Hi Carol,

    It’s fun to read your comments on such a wide variety of topics.You must be enjoying the research that it takes to write some of your posts as well as the ones you write “straight from the heart.”

    My computer is in the repair shop and has been for quite some time, so I am stuck going into campus more than I normally would, particularly on some of these very cold days we are having. Nonetheless I usually take a look at your blog before I leave my office, so I am continuing to keep up.

    I’m heading home now. It is supposed to warm up over the weekend: a relative term compared to your weather!

  5. Congratulations! Sounds like you did appropriate research, field testing and came to a logical and most satisfying decision!

    I do not have a laptop yet – primarily because when I have used them I found them too hard to use. The keyboard seems so small and, well, I just don’t have the need to use a laptop when I have desk top computers readily available at work and here at home.

    But I can tell you my students LOVE their laptops and they love the idea of a netbook! Smaller is always better for our young generation. Their cell phones are almost microscopic though most are going to some variation of a blackberry now days.

    If the people who make laptops and smaller computers could come up with a keyboard I liked I would be interested. If I traveled a lot it would be different – but the idea of pecking away on a tiny keyboard is something I can’t deal with quite yet.

    I was impressed with what you learned about the two computers you considerered and the logical way you picked the one that was right for you! Congratulations and enjoy!

    Take care.

  6. Thank you, Linda, Anne, Barbara, Eleanor, and Russell! Yes it is fun to have a new computer (especially when I’m especially lucky to have the IT guru to set it all up beautifully for me).

    I couldn’t live without a laptop, but it seemed crazy to travel with two relatively heavy ones so was time to try the lighter, simpler netbook. So far, so good and the full-size keyboard keys are a big plus.

    I think the line between netbooks and laptops is already blending, and it’s a matter of where on the spectrum an individual wants to ‘reside’ in terms of size and functionality, etc.

    Eleanor, thanks for your comments about reading my posts. I actually don’t do much research, as I’ve found when you have a blog, you can just post and share about what you’re already doing and reading and learning about! I do try to check basic facts and to not make any egregious errors in that sense. I’m glad you’re enjoying it even when your home computer is in for repair 🙂

    Cheers and happy computing everyone.

  7. I had purchased Asus 1000H four months back, and am happy about my choice. It complements my desktop very well…

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