Netbook/notebook advice, anyone?

Nicola’s wondering about getting a netbook or another similarly low-spec laptop… if anyone can offer any advice, we’d be most grateful.

The only major requirements are that she can do her writing on it and have WiFi for backups. We wondered if the tiny netbooks wouldn’t be suitable for a lot of typing… a standard-sized keyboard might be more sensible. I would also use it for my Powertab stuff (our old Windows laptop is on the way out) so maybe that’d rule out the 9-inch screens… anyone got any experience of this?

Massive storage isn’t an issue, nor is the ability to run graphics-rich applications.

Windows is probably necessary, as she can then use it for work conferences (her office and department are Windows-only). I don’t particularly want to be messing around with (or paying for) new versions, so we’d ideally want to avoid Vista. And we’re certainly not going to be messing around with replacement components, so this has to be an “off-the-shelf” thing.

Thinking about portability and battery life, how about solid state drives? Worth the extra cost? Speaking of which, this needs to be kept to the minimum, as it’s really only an extra computer. She’s happy to spend up to about 400 quid.

Any recommendations or advice gratefully received!

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10 Responses to Netbook/notebook advice, anyone?

  1. Penfold says:

    Entirely serious suggestion – iPad, when it comes out, plus the keyboard dock. :D

  2. adrian says:

    It’s a fab idea, Mike, but the sticking point would be the OS… we really need Windows.

  3. Matt Darcy says:

    dell refub, very good value, £350 for a pretty solid spec 15” or £400 for a 13” XPS simple and effective on both counts.

    I use an XPS 13” for work, low profile, small, light, light battery, very good screen

  4. Andrew_s says:

    hi, we have two of the Samsung NC10 Netbooks in my firm and I personally use an ASUS EeePC 100HE. All of them are now running Win 7 with no problems at all. They all use the Intel Atom processor and have 2Gb RAM and 160Gb hard drives. These really are all excellent little PCs. very portable with astonishing battery life. The guys get about 7 hours from the Samsungs and I can get over 8 hours from my EeePC. I chose the EeePC for the slightly longer battery life and because it has a “chicklet” keyboard. (it’s kind of more Apple styled) This means the keys are closer to being full sized. In the office I plug in an external monitor, keyboard & mouse, more to comply with our DSE policies than because I really need it. I find the EeePC very easy to use and comfortable to type on when I’m not in the office. The screen and keyboard are fine and I’m happy to use it all day without the external bits. If Nicola is editing Word docs then an external display would be beneficial though as the small screen does limit what you can see of a multi-page document. Otherwise, go for it and buy either of the Netbooks we use. Comet are doing the Samsung at £299.99 which is pretty good. WiFi wise, they work perfectly. They’ve got enough USB slots to plug in almost anything you’d like. They’d both do fine for Powertabs too.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Andrew_s says:

    oops That should have said an ASUS EeePC 1000HE.

  6. Dr Rick says:

    I second the EeePC recommend, I may well buy one myself. Now that I’m not an all-day every-day typist I am no longer tied to natural keyboards (though by God I prefer them) and these days I reckon I could manage a day or two of moderate use on an Eee ‘board without my carpals catching fire.

  7. adrian says:

    Cheers for all the advice, chaps!

    Rick – we tried an EeePC yesterday, and didn’t find the keyboard too uncomfortable at all. One slight drawback is that the SSD version is Linux, which neither of us has ever used. I’m assuming we can use OpenOffice for all those MS Office type things, but how about Powertab?

  8. Sheryl says:

    My brother has a netbook and loves it. I’m a bit ‘old-school’ and didn’t care for how small it was or felt – so I’d try one out before making that decision.

    My old laptop bought the dust recently and I replaced it with another Toshiba – fairly low-mid end for less than $400 US.

  9. Dell Mini 10 here, running XP. I had intended to move to W7, but you can’t upgrade these.

    It’s pretty good, been to the States/Europe and has been very handy, especially as free WiFi is becoming readily available.

    I use it for web browsing, a bit of work (I wouldn’t want to be typing on *any* laptop for too long), and viewing M4V movies – which I load up before we go – we re-watched the Bourne Trilogy last skiing trip.

  10. Teuthidacuity says:

    Acer Aspire Timeline 1810TZ

    Proper Windows, 8 hours battery life, portable and not a netbook.

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