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Posted: 3/29/2009 5:48:41 PM EDT
Team, as some of you people know I'm headed back to school to catch a Master's in Geology.

I have determined that I'll be "going digital" this time, as I need to use 21st century tools to attend a 21st century college.

So I'm thinking that I'd get one of those cool mini/micro notebook computers to Take Care a' Bidness.

What should I be thinking about here? Drawbacks - advantages - OS - functionality - available software...

What would YOU do? (Note, I'm thinking I'd spend no more than about $400 tops...)
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 5:52:40 PM EDT
I don't think I'd want to use a netbook to do lots of schoolwork... maybe if you got a flat panel LCD (could double as a TV) monitor...

I just bought a refurb Acer Aspire One with the 160G hard drive... tigerdirect has them cheap, watch the item numbers. I believe they have the 6 cell battery one mismarked as a 3 cell in the description and are selling it for the same price... $279,
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 5:53:41 PM EDT
Well, you should have no problem with staying under $400 as most seem to run between $250 and $350. You should be able to upgrade RAM a bit from what you get stock, but not too much. You'll pretty much be stuck with either XP or Linux. There is also the disadvantage of the small screen size and keyboard to consider, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker. Keep in mind that you will not have an optical drive, so any software will have to be downloaded from the internet or from a USB drive of some sort. That said, they look pretty nifty and I will consider getting one should I ever do any major traveling.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 5:58:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2009 5:58:32 PM EDT by replicators]
I have a 160GB Acer AspireOne (XP), and it is great for using in class.

It took a little getting used to not having a DVD drive, but I got used to the keyboard very quickly.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:01:12 PM EDT
this months wired has a quick comparison

they liked the ASUS
http://www.wired.com/reviews/productlisting/notebooks

check the keyboard before buying

We have a Dell at the office and the quote key is in the wrong place
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:02:39 PM EDT
i like the epc
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:04:50 PM EDT
dont waste you time or money get a real laptop.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:08:28 PM EDT
don't get a mini for school/ your only laptop. they hardly have enough disk space and ram to run xp and ms office. get a real one. then if you decide you want a mini in addition to that, get one. they're cool as hell though.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:16:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By gogoquadzilla:
don't get a mini for school/ your only laptop. they hardly have enough disk space and ram to run xp and ms office. get a real one. then if you decide you want a mini in addition to that, get one. they're cool as hell though.


This.

You'll probably also find that a mini has a tiny little keyboard that'll be almost impossible to type on.

My current laptop is a Thinkpad T61 (I'm partial to Thinkpads, even if they are ChiCom now), and it's the shiznit AFAIC
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:18:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FredMan:
Originally Posted By gogoquadzilla:
don't get a mini for school/ your only laptop. they hardly have enough disk space and ram to run xp and ms office. get a real one. then if you decide you want a mini in addition to that, get one. they're cool as hell though.


This.

You'll probably also find that a mini has a tiny little keyboard that'll be almost impossible to type on.

My current laptop is a Thinkpad T61 (I'm partial to Thinkpads, even if they are ChiCom now), and it's the shiznit AFAIC


+1


My opinion is goto bestbuy or costco and buy the cheapest or ~$400 laptop they have, look up the model and see if you can find chicom 12cell batteries for that model and go with that.

School laptops will get banged around enough, if you just need word processing and storage, that deal will be more than enough for you to work with. Save your cash.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:34:44 PM EDT
If you have a laptop or desktop at home which will be easily accessible, then a mini is great to take to class and write notes and work on a paper between classes, but you don't want to use it as your main computer.

Other than that, try getting one of the new Acers with the 10" screen (it won;t be so hard on your eyes) and make sure you upgrade the ram to 2GB, and if you think it will see a lot of bumping around, get a solid state hard drive, it'll take a lot of abuse and keep on ticking. Check out the keyboards on different models, they are not all created equal, some buttons are in different places, and some keys are slightly larger than others. You should be able to stay well within your budget of $400 too. Have fun with the little thing, its a fun toy and works great.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:46:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By doc_Zox:
this months wired has a quick comparison

they liked the ASUS
http://www.wired.com/reviews/productlisting/notebooks

check the keyboard before buying

We have a Dell at the office and the quote key is in the wrong place


ah yes the ANUS laptops

that said TAG as I kinda want a notebook too
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 6:51:01 PM EDT
If you can go to a Best Buy try out a couple of them, the keyboards all have different feels to them.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 7:11:08 PM EDT
I've got an HP Mini and it's good for doing a little web browsing, checking email and storing/reviewing pictures. For using it as a real computer the keyboard, monitor and hard drive are too small, the processor is too slow and no PCMCIA slots means there's not much room to expand.

I think of it as more of an over-sized PDA.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 7:14:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 8:54:11 PM EDT
Originally Posted By samsong:
What would YOU do? (Note, I'm thinking I'd spend no more than about $400 tops...)


For $400 I'd buy an ASUS 1000HE. In fact, I just ordered one for the wife tonight :-) $389 from Amazon. She wanted a laptop initially, but hates Vista and does not want to change from XP that she is comfortable with, so netbooks were the only option.

N280 1.66GHz and upgrade it to 2GB of RAM along with the 5400rpm 160GB hard drive and you've got all you need for notes, email, surfing, etc. Throw in a bluetooth mouse and keyboard and hook it to a monitor when you get home. A USB DVD writer is only $99 or so if you need one of them.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 8:56:18 PM EDT


They are slow. The screen is really small.

I predict this fad will soon end.


Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:27:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By seven-six-two:
Originally Posted By samsong:
What would YOU do? (Note, I'm thinking I'd spend no more than about $400 tops...)


For $400 I'd buy an ASUS 1000HE. In fact, I just ordered one for the wife tonight :-) $389 from Amazon. She wanted a laptop initially, but hates Vista and does not want to change from XP that she is comfortable with, so netbooks were the only option.

N280 1.66GHz and upgrade it to 2GB of RAM along with the 5400rpm 160GB hard drive and you've got all you need for notes, email, surfing, etc. Throw in a bluetooth mouse and keyboard and hook it to a monitor when you get home. A USB DVD writer is only $99 or so if you need one of them.


Speaking as an owner of the 1000HE and posting from it at the moment, I'm going to have to agree with this. I nuked XP off it as fast as I could and put EEEBuntu on it. Whether that is for you or not is something you'll have to decide yourself. If you want to go that route, feel free to PM me for lessons learned. Anyway, the keyboard on the HE is nice and beats all the other netbooks currently available hands down. I can type on it all day and be just fine. However, external keyboard/mouse is nice and recommended for home use. The speed of the CPU and hard drive is more than sufficient for most tasks. You obviously won't be playing heavy games on the thing, but I doubt that's a problem for you. Toss in a 5.5 - 7.5 hour battery life under real usage conditions (standard load, wifi, bluetooth or both on and in use) and it cannot be beat. Others are slightly smaller and weigh slightly less, however they cannot stand against the feature set, keyboard and battery life of the 1000HE.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:30:44 PM EDT
Using a netbook for any serious work like taking notes will be a huge pain in the ass. The tiny keyboards, while you CAN type on them, make it VERY difficult to do so.

I'd recommend looking at a 12-13" notebook. Personally, I'd recommend a MacBook, but that's a bit beyond your budget.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:42:29 PM EDT
I picked up a new acer one from office depot for $300 to use for note taking and to carry around with me. I have too much important stuff on my mac book pro and didn't like the idea of taking it around a lot, especially since i sometimes leave my stuff in the car or unattended in the classroom. It definitely worth taking a look at.
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 9:46:38 PM EDT
I have a MSI wind u100. i bought it when my laptop went in for repairs, as a temporary to hold me over. I really like it, I ended up handing down my full size lap top to my son, as I much prefer to pack around this little bastard. I do have a nine cell battery on order, $68 bucks off amazon, it'll give nine hours of battery life.


http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/laptops/2008/07/04/msi-wind-u100/1
Link Posted: 3/29/2009 10:51:13 PM EDT
My choice was the Acer Aspire One AOA150-1165 Netbook - Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz, 1GB DDR2, 160GB HDD, 10.1" WSVGA, Windows XP Home, Blue from Tiger Direct.

It's got the 10" screen, the larger keyboard, and a 6-cell battery that ought to cover me in classes. It's got some kickass reviews. Shipping was $1.99 and they took my PayPal money I had saved up selling off old scopes and shit.

Thanks again for all your advice - for the fellows who suggested that I get a proper laptop, I fooled around on the keyboard with the Acer 8.9" jobby at Costco today and had no problems. I have a desktop at home running XP. I should be good to go on this deal. Now, I have to re-set up the wifi network at casa del samsong so I can surf ARFCOM whilst I'm watching Turner Classic Movies.
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