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Summary:

Just a conversation starter here because this is one of those topics where the only right answer is the one that’s right for you. Still, I think it’s worth some discussion because we’re witnessing a trend towards smaller and lighter (and cheaper!) notebooks. Of course, that […]

GiantlaptopJust a conversation starter here because this is one of those topics where the only right answer is the one that’s right for you. Still, I think it’s worth some discussion because we’re witnessing a trend towards smaller and lighter (and cheaper!) notebooks. Of course, that brings other compromises into play as well. For example, the smaller and lighter a notebook is, it generally follows that the battery tends to offer less power. At least until we have batteries that run forever and take up the size of a pin-head. We compensate for that by configuring notebooks with CPUs and other components that are more energy efficient as a result. And so on… it’s all about compromises with mobile tech, right?

(image: Crave)

So in terms of size, display and weight, what’s optimal for you in anotebook? I have a fairly powerful MacBook Pro that unfortunatelydoesn’t leave my desk much. Why not? With the 15-inch display and aweight of over 5.5-pounds, I just don’t like to tote it. So Icompromise with a device that offers less horsepower, but handles 90%of the same tasks. Currently, that device is the MSI Wind with the10.2-inch screen and weight just under 3-pounds. But maybe that’s toosmall. Sometimes I wish that 1024×600 screen resolution were just a tadhigher.

I’m thinking that for me, a 10-inch display with a higher res mightdo the trick. A 12-inch display might be the sweet spot and I had thatin 2004 with my Toshiba M205 Tablet PC. Maybe that’s why the new Toshiba Portege A600jumped out at me earlier this week. It has a 12-inch display, but theoverall device weight is 3.2-pounds and the price starts at under $1,400. Of course you have to factor inthe svelte machines like the Lenovo X301 I’m looking at too. It offersthe low weight advantage plus a nice screen size and resolution, butthe footprint itself is still that of a bigger machine.

I suppose I’m too fussy because like everyone else, I want it alland I want it for few dollars. What are your thoughts, i.e.: what doyou look for in terms of size, weight, footprint, screen size andresolution? If you change one of these factors more to your liking, youtend to suffer in another area. What fits you best?

  1. Most of the time small and light rules the day. The problem is that in those rare instances when you need performance you tend to REALLY need performance. Mobile tech is always about compromise. Sigh.

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  2. I really wanted small and light, but I also wanted really low cost. I could have got an Acer aspire or an EEE Asus, but the performance just didn’t match up to my hopes. So I went with a slightly lighter 14 inch Acer, that still is more full featured than the aspire. Maybe next time I’ll have the money for something that is light and high quality!

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  3. Anything over 4 lbs is too heavy for me. I have a Toshiba U205 laptop as the primary work device (at least it was until the HDD failed a couple weeks ago) and an HP desktop in the office as well. For travel and out of the office meetings, etc., I use an Asus Eee PC 1000H. Like you a bit better resolution would be nice, but the for factor and battery life is what I really need.

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  4. I have a 1000H and it is OK for casual use. Engadget is reporting that Dell has a 12″ Mini product page up. I would love a 12″ with 1280 X 800 Mini if it had a dual core Atom processor. I’m retired and all my computers are just toys but I like nice toys.

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  5. 11.1 is perfect, with 1366×768

    tho notebooks in this cateogry are too expensive for me to entertain buying.

    the ideal netbook that i would/could buy would be a HP mininote v2 using:
    > Via Nano
    > nVidia MCP79 ulv (aka 9300M)
    > 10″ screen @ 1280×768
    > same magnesium chassis

    I am hoping for something very like this around xmas. ;)

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  6. Eric C Rusch Jr Thursday, October 16, 2008

    I’m with James. 95% of the time my x61 tablet is all the power I need and I take it with me pretty much everywhere. But when that other 5% strikes I shake my fist in the air and curse the very idea of integrated graphics. On the other end of the scale my brother was a winner during the 31 Days of the Dragon. His Dragon can handle anything you throw at it, he’s an avid gamer and on cross platform games I swear the graphics are better than on his Xbox 360. The down side is he rarely moves it and it almost never leaves the house. When you look at the fact that just his power adapter weighs more than my entire system including my power adapter it’s downright funny. In the end though our systems perfectly reflect our uses and needs, and neither of us would ever think of trading with each other.

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  7. My personal computer has a 13.3″ screen and dedicated graphics card and, aside from switching form factors to a tablet or pocketable device, I don’t see myself leaving its combination of size vs capabilities. I had a smaller computer before (one of the R505 VAIOs), and the lack of dedicated graphics was my main reason for purchasing a new computer at the time.

    If I was still in college and could have better taken advantage of the ability to write notes, though, I would be in a major quandary, unless there’s a convertible tablet with dedicated graphics out there somewhere.

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  8. The price is a killer for me. Before I got a 1000h, I was very interested in a few laptops which include Macbook pro and Fujitsu tablet pc. But, at the end of the day, I had really hard time to justify spending more than $1000 for those laptops when 90% of my work can be done with 1000h which also provides much better portability. I am very happy with 1000h now and I won’t likely to spend more than $500 for my next laptop either. One more benefit of low price: Peace of mind. I am not too worried about taking care of may laptop. When your laptop costs $400, extended warranty is a joke and resale value is not a concern either. Not that I like that happen, but I wouldn’t be deeply saddened if my 1000h is damaged or lost as long as my data are safe.

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  9. After much thought and debate I purchased the new Advent 4213 in PC World UK for £350 (c$650) this is the newer model than the 4211 which was a MSI Wind clone.

    The main reason for choosing the 4213 was the integrated 3g slot (under the battery). I convinced myself that this was the size/weight I needed…. anyway after a couple of weeks I am thinking again – don’t get me wrong it is a great little netbook and does everything I ask of it… but for me the killer is the keyboard it’s just too small for everyday use.

    I have concluded that what I actually want is a really thin light laptop with a screen size of around 12-14″ but with the bigger keyboard. So I am now eyeing up the new Macbook at 2KG and also the Dell XPS.

    When I carry a laptop it is normally in a bag and so it doesn’t really matter if the footprint is bigger it is the weight and thickness that I care about.

    Any suggestions…

    Love the site BTW JK on it all the time from my beloved iPhone.

    Cheers Nick

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  10. For me, 13.3 is the sweet spot.

    It’s large enough to use all day without eye strain. It also maintains a full sized keyboard.

    It’s also small and light enough to carry daily (which I do).

    I’ve tried larger machines. I’ve tried smaller machines. I see the use for all of them. But, for a main machine that’s used all day, but needs to be carried, 13.3 is the perfect size for me.

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