Monday, May 11, 2009

Netbooks - The Verdict

A few months ago, my husband bought me a Dell mini laptop for $245.00 when Sam's Club had them on sale. I'd mentioned to him a few times that I'd love to have one. How it'd be great to have one small enough to carry anywhere and use at will. He spoils me, but I never expected him to do this anytime soon, maybe for Christmas.

It's an adorable little machine. Small enough to fit inside a large purse to eliminate a briefcase and handbag when you go out. A few weeks later, he bought himself and Acer Aspire netbook at Walmart for $258.00. Slightly larger than the Dell, more memory and so on. He suggested we trade since he'd only use his for work and I had all of my work requiring more space. I hesitated only because mine was red and his blue. And he'd bought it specifically in a color I loved. However, I agreed.

The biggest concern we had was not only it's functionability, but how can you possibly type on such a small machine. Easy. It's no different. You do have a few keys in different places, but it took me no time to catch on to the places.

The hardest thing for me to learn was Office 2007 - someone's brain child meant to torment those of use who have phobia's to change.

For the last week, I've been using it exclusively. I've had a few issues with the mouse having a mind of it's own, despite the adjustments of his speed of movement. You have to keep an eye on it or it will close down the document or browser you're working in, open up new pages while you're typing an email. Such annoyance. I'm hoping it's just my machine and not others. My husband has no complaints about the Dell, though we haven't had the opportunity to test the battery.

The Acer came with a 3-cell battery which means it should last 3 hours. It lasts barely an hour, so we have to contact the manufacturer. There are 3, 6, and 9 cell batteries. The 9-cell are new and pricy. The 6-cell, is no pocket change, $129 via Walmart's website. I checked the store I frequent and they don't carry the spare batteries in store. We were amused that the website said the Acer was not available in stores -- it is. We've seen them in every one we've been in.

As for travel, you can purchase an AC adpater for the vehicle cigarette lighter. You can get them at Walmart for $20 or Best Buy for $55 and up - some have mulitple jacks for multiple machines or a jack to plug your phone into as well.

We took a small day trip a few weeks ago and it worked well. I was very pleased, however, to use in your laptop, it's best to have pillow to sit it on on only because it's so much smaller than a full size laptop. The pillow will bring it up more eye level.

The bottom, like typical laptops does get rather warm. There are cooling pads you can purchase very reasonable. They come in different sizes, different number of fan units inside it. We have six fan units and I use it even though it's only turned on when the weather is rather warm, making me hot. The pad keeps the bottom of the machine off my thighs. I work on the couch, so it's super to have the pad. It plugs into your USB port and has a little switch on it to turn it off and on.

The specs on the Acer:
Intel Atom processor N270
1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache
8.9" WSVGA high-brightness Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
1024MB DDR 533MHz Dual Channel Memory
Use multiple applications without a decrease in performance
160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
Store large video files, music, photos, documents and more on this expansive drive
Additional Features
Windows XP Home
Acer Crystal Eye Webcam 3-cell Li-ion (2200 mAh) Battery
3 - USB 2.0 Ports AC Power Adapter
Multi-in-1 Card Reader AC Power Cord
USB External Mouse
Acer InviLink 802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Modem Cable
3-cell Li-ion (2200 mAh) Battery

Specs on the Dell: Intel Atom Z520 (1.33GHz/533MHz FSB/512K Cache)
Genuine Windows® XP Home with SP3
1GB DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500 integrated graphics
160GB Hard Drive
3-in-1 Media Card Reader
Wide Screen 10.1" display (1024x576)
10/100 Ethernet
Wireless Mini-Card (802.11g)
Integrated Audio
Built-in 1.3MP webcam
3-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (24 WHr)
1-Year Return to Depot and 24x7 Technical Support
Microsoft® Works
Norton Internet Security 2009 (30-day Trial)

There are many, many brands out there with many reviews.

Contemporary romance with sizzling sensuality


Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, thanks, that was helpful. I was thinking about getting an Acer, when, if I had the money.

The Dell doesn't look so bad, either.

Lindsay Townsend said...

OOHHH - I'd love one!!
Thanks so much for this very useful post.

Bekki Lynn said...

Savanna, you'll love it. And they come in different colors, depending on where you buy them.

Something else I should have mentioned is that they do not come with a CD rom, so in order to install anything you can't get off the net, you need an external CD rom. I'm not sure what my husband paid or what brand he purchased - he carries it with his mini for work purppses. I did use it last Saturday when I had to reinstall Office 2007. Easy. Just plug it into the USB port and computer finds the hardware and it runs the program.

Oh, on the Acer - it has three USB ports, two on the right and one on the left. I did find the one on the left didn't work so well with the CD rom. It was intermitten, something else I'm going to talk to them about.

It also has the phone cord jack for those on dial-up.

Still - for the price and for writers, a good deal.

Bekki Lynn said...

It'd be perfect for your research trips, Lindsay.

While you're in all those beautiful places, you could turn on the web cam and show us some of the sites. ;)

Linda Banche said...

I work at a desktop at home. My husband says he bought a laptop for me. Which he uses, because I didn't know he had bought one. As for what kind it is, I have no idea. I go with what he buys. He's a computer nut, so he always buys good ones.

Bekki Lynn said...

Hi Linda -

My husband is a computer hardware technician so we have an abundance of computer equipment around. He loves the toys.

I actually gave up the desktop computer when we acquired Faith. I couldn't see having her cooped up when I was home. So, my husband bought me a laptop so I could be with her in the living room while she's running free.

I don't know that I could go back to sitting at a desk. I've been sitting out here on the patio all day and it's hard to sit still. I'm used to being able to move around. Even when I did sit at a desk, I was constantly shifting for a new position.

Savanna Kougar said...

Actually, I'd like to use to read ebooks on, as well as have it when I do head into town.
Yep, I like those USB ports. Dang useful. And since I am on dial-up, that's good to know.

I do write at my desktop, but I'm up and down a lot because I've been able to sit still unless I'm sick.