Looking for netbook recommendations

Discussion in 'Computers' started by nolesrule, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    My wife's laptop of 6 years no longer powers up, so she's looking to replace it. She likes the size of a netbook, and for her uses, there won't be performance issues or screen-size issues. She even played around with some of them at Best Buy over the weekend just to be sure.

    So, I'm looking for recommendations on which brand to go with. The prices and performance specs are all about the same, but I'd like something upgradable to 2GB RAM (so that excludes Dell).

    What would the membership of the HTF recommend?
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I am using a Dell Mini 9 running Ubuntu Linux for carting around to meetings at work. It was very inexpensive ($185), so I thought it would be something interesting to experiment with. The devices boots quickly and runs the applications I am using quite quickly, too.

    The only thing I struggle with is the cramped keyboard. I am getting better at typing on it, but still have trouble finding some of the keys that are not where I'm used to them being.

    I use it mainly for web browsing, email, and simple Office documents (it came with Open Office). There are a few things about Open Word that annoy me, specifically when using its outline format.

    One of my co-workers bought one and actually was able to load MacOS on it!
     
  3. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi.

    I took a look at a few of these recently and settled on the Asus 1005HA. The -P model. There are 3 floating around out there. Best Buy sells the -B which only includes a 3 cell battery and the N270 atom processor. Only $299 There's a mid grade model for about $339 with a 6 cell battery. The -P has an even longer life 6 cell battery and the N280 processor. $389 MRSP - I found it for $20 under this price.
    Upgradable - all are - to 2GB of RAM. I went a head and ordered it with the netbook - it's only $25 bucks - seemed silly not to.

    Reviews seemed favorable and a coworker had earlier Asus netbooks and didn't have any issues with them. I am looking forward to getting it. It will be used mainly for web surfing, checking email, some light duty MS Office task work when I am traveling for work.
     
  4. pkorsberg

    pkorsberg Auditioning

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    I am using a Dell mini9... love it! Primarily being used for surfing, but I can also use it for word docs, spreadsheets, etc... upgrading the ram to 2gb is simple... if you know how to use a screwdriver, then you can do it... I loaded Office Pro on it and the 16gb SSD (solid State Drive) still has 6 gb available. Also bought a 16gb SDHC card to double up the storage space...

    Good luck!

    -Pete
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I was able to easily upgrade the RAM on my Dell Mini9 to 2GB as well. I didn't order the memory from Dell, but instead bought it for about $20 elsewhere and installed it myself. A co-worker upgraded the SSD on his to 16GB, similar to Pete. I am still using the 4GB SSD that came with my unit, though. It still has almost 1.5GB available after I cleaned up some of the Ubuntu junk that was wasting drive space. I store any data on a separate 16GB SDHC card, too.
     
  6. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Hehe. I do that sort of stuff for a living, along with more advanced things that computer techs do.

    Further research shows the Mini 10 and Mini 12 are not upgradeable but the Mini 10v (along with the discontinued Mini 9) are. So that might be a way to go.
     
  7. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I assume the main advantage of an SSD is it uses less power. With most of these netbooks, the options are 120/160GB hard drive or a 16GB SSD for a few dollars more. Thing is, my wife's drive from the other computer was sitting at 14 of 30 GB used. Needing an additional external drive would be a bit cumbersome, and that's going to draw power over USB just as an internal HD would need juice anyway.
     
  8. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Joe, the chief advantages of the SSD are they use less power, they produce very little heat (the units have no fan) and since they are not magnetic and contain no moving parts, they do not fail like HDD and floppy.

    I bought my wife a HP Mini 1000 this past spring and she absolutely loves it. She has small hands so the keyboard isn't an issue. (I think it's a 3/4 scale keyboard). It comes stock with 512M RAM, an Atom processor, built in webcam, wireless g, wifi and Windows XP (the biggest advantage since Vista = fail and doubly so on a netbook). I upgraded the RAM to from 512 to 1G and she has no trouble doing her thing with Norton Internet Security, Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware AE running in the background. All she uses it for is checking her email, facebook, youtube and web surfing so there are no processor or memory demands. She can also set it on her lap or on the bed or a pillow and not worry about overheating.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Tried the aspire 1, hated it, then resold it. The IDEA of a netbook is neat, the execution sucks. The experience was not fun for me.
     
  10. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Sam,what were the issues you had?

    As I said, this computer is for my wife's personal use, mainly for web, email and a little writing. This isn't for my use (except on vacations). Like I said, I had her play with them ahead of time to make sure the screen size, keyboard and touchpad layouts wouldn't be an issue since it is such a drastic change.

    Looks like we'll be going with the Dell Mini 10v in about two months. We were able to get a $70 Dell coupon good only on Minis for buying a bunch of Kelloggs products. 6-8 weeks for delivery on the coupon though. The 10v has a cheaper chassis than the regular model, but it's currently the only one with upgradeable RAM.
     
  11. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Cool. Let us know how she likes it.

    We were going to go with a Dell, but when it came time to purchase, the few stores who carry Dell locally were sold out and backordered and I was quoted 8 to 10 weeks for delivery directly from Dell support. We got the HP since it was readily available.
     
  12. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a quick update....got the ASUS 1005HA-P yesterday.

    Happy with it so far. Used it for awile last night - I didn't really have any issues with the keyboard typing and the touchpad was good too...

    Took a couple of minutes and up'd the RAM to 2GB. Need to dump off some of the add-ons that were pre-installed and install Office 2007. Will do that in the next couple of days and report back...

    Only weird thing was that in the tray along the clock, it showed multiple network connections being unplugged - looked like one was for the ethernet jack and one for bluetooth? I connected to my wireless network without issue and speeds were good.

    Installed MacAfee sercurity suite without issue and the download speeds were good, IMO.

    Randy
     
  13. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Well, it'll be a couple months. :)


    Randy, if you don't want to pay for Office, Open Office is a great alternative. And I plan on removing any pre-installed security suite and going to something less resource intensive. To me it's just a pre-installed add-on that needs to be dumped.

    You can turn off the network connection system tray icons in properties for those connections if you want to not see them.
     
  14. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Issues for me were eye strain, hunching to use it and the TERRIBLE trackpad and especially the flimsy and really small mouse buttons on it. It just wasn't a good experience. And I wouldnt have noticed them playing around with it in the store, it took me actually taking it home and playing with it for a few hours before I realized I hated it. Hope it works out better for your wife tho, as I said I sold mine to a coworker and his kids love it, they don't share my complaints about it.
     
  15. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the follow-up...I plan on "turning-off" the network system tray icons - figured out how to go about that. I have access to Office at a very, very reasonable price throught my wife's company. We installed 2007 on our home PC and I planned to do the same for the netbook - actually really only going to install Word and Excel and maybe Outlook. But, I iwll look into Open Office as well. Have heard good things from friends who have used it.

    I am very happy with the Asus - only downside is the thing is a finger print magnet - ridiculous how this thing smudges up.

    Saw that there was a deal on-line to purchase a Asus netbook and a select Asus DVD-Burner for a $30 rebate - if you searched around, you were able to find a couple sites that were basically paying you to buy the DVD burner. Not too bad.

    Randy
     
  16. Marianne

    Marianne Supporting Actor

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    I bought an ASUS 1000HE back in March to use for travelling, etc. I have been very pleased with it and accept that it has limitations due to the size. No DVD drive, small screen, small keyboard, etc. The display is OK for a netbook but I also have a 24" NEC monitor so there's no way I would expect it to compare with that!

    I haven't upgraded the RAM yet (thinking about it) but I did get a wireless mouse because I don't really like trackpads.

    www.amazon.com/ASUS-1000HE-10-1-Inch-Black-Netbook/dp/B001QTXL82/ref=sr_1_1
     
  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I have been using Open Office on my Dell netbook, and the word processor has some quirks. I use the outline format with multiple levels a lot for taking notes in meetings, and there is some very inconsistent behavior there. Several times I had to import the document into MS Word to clean it up. Also, at times the WP automatically goes into a superscript mode and you cannot get out of it, even by deleting what you had entered before it went into that mode. I have not used the spreadsheet application much, but I was able to import a couple of complex spreadsheets from Excel without any issues.

    The above experience is with Open Office 3.0.1 for Ubuntu.
     
  18. Ralphie_B

    Ralphie_B Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been looking at netbooks too. Mostly interested in the 10-inch screen class, and something with a 'good' keyboard. I've played around a bit with the Acer, an older Asus, a Dell, some HPs, and a Toshiba. I've heard really good things about the Asus 1000HE's keyboard, but I haven't been able to find one to try out yet.

    I do have a question for any current netbook owners... do any of you have a smart phone with a mobile internet plan, and have you been able to use that connection with your netbook (bluetooth link the netbook to the phone, and use the phone's WAN connection)?
     
  19. Ralphie_B

    Ralphie_B Stunt Coordinator

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    Update - I was chatting about this at another forum, and it was confirmed that with my carrier and plan, I'll be able to tether the phone via Bluetooth or USB. Sweet! :)
     
  20. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I have the Samsung NC10 and love it. I was a bit skeptical about the keyboard on the netbooks and really liked the Samsung the best.

    [​IMG]

    It comes with about the same setup as every other netbook but the keyboard is what sold me on it. The keyboard is about 93% of a regular one.

    Parker
     

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