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Netbooks - Should you or not?

posted 10 January 2010
In a recent post on one of my all time favorite blogs, Jeff Atwood discusses another bloggers thoughts on the netbook. This kind of fired me up reading why this Joey DeVilla is knocking the netbook. Let me explain.

In August, as a graduation gift I purchased a Acer Aspire One A150 for my newly Masters educated honey bunny. I bought it on after seeing her destroy my old Dell Inspiron 5100 throughout her school. It was sort of a whim, sort of to stay current on today's technology. But after a solid 3 month use cycle, I know this netbook has changed our computing lives.

First a few changes that as a result of this purchase/gift:
1- We have a laptop with us anywhere we go.
Explanation- With the light weight (3 pounds) and size, the Aspire One fits in any purse/book bag we bring when traveling. Also it does not choke out my shoulders when its in my bag. Also in flight it fits every so nicely on the super small tray, right next to your built in cup holder for a movie or coding on the go.

2- While at home the netbook is always on, and unplugged.
Explanation- The battery life on this netbook has impressed the heck out of me and continues each time. We can stream 3-4 Netflix movies and still have juice for random browsing/playing in flight. My old Inspiron would last maybe an hour just browsing a flash based site. About to go to library on Saturday, pop that bad boy out of sleep mode and look it up in 2 shakes.

3- It has withstood my girlfriends abuse.
Explanation- Well to put it bluntly my lady abuses the laptops. My Inspiron had a screen dangling from one hinge that did not stand up unless you propped it on something, see pics below. It was dropped daily, had various liquids spilled within it, and amazingly still turns on and displays. Mind you I have had to disassemble both the old and new netbook numerous times to 'fix' any issues these problems have caused. But the Aspire One is still holding strong. In fact there are no scratches on its beautiful case or screen. They keyboard pops out with no screw driver necessary for easy cleaning, and totally disassembling takes maybe 15 minutes. Super maintainable.

Photo of my old laptop, now broken

Close up photo of laptop's broken hinge

This purchase has now made my girlie a more online monster than I am now. I wake up this morning, walk out to the living room to find her on the netbook researching flights for our yearly vacation, all while having a newspaper in her lap and eating bowl of cereal. She brings the netbook with her everywhere but happy hours and uses it as her work machine.

Now some guys or large handed lady's may seem adverse to the small nature of the netbook. I will offer this advice/knowledge, its fine. While the keys are in a tighter area, I have not encountered any issues writing emails/code with the same speed as a normal sized keyboard. Try it at a local Radio Shack (The Shack?) or other computer retailer. It is fascinating.

My only complaint is the mouse buttons are a bit too demanding on how hard you push to register a click. Its better to use the tap functionality of the touch pad.

All in all, for $350 one of the best purchases I've made and one of the most used gifts I've given.

I recommend this particular netbook to anyone wanting a truly portable awesome device.