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Summary:

A constant source of speculation is trying to figure out why netbooks are catching on so fast.  Sure the price is a big factor and is what catches the attention first but as we’ve stated here on jkOnTheRun many times that alone is not enough.  If […]

AceraspiresideA constant source of speculation is trying to figure out why netbooks are catching on so fast.  Sure the price is a big factor and is what catches the attention first but as we’ve stated here on jkOnTheRun many times that alone is not enough.  If the gadget doesn’t fulfill the user’s needs that price doesn’t matter, we also want our gear to provide utility.   Blogger Jeff Atwood picked up an Aspire One for his wife’s web surfing needs and tried it out.  What he found surprised himself:

I didn’t expect much from this cheap, diminutive laptop; it’s mostly for web surfing, light email, maybea tiny bit of miscellaneous office work. And in case the color choicedidn’t make it clear, it’s not even for me. That’s my story, and I’msticking to it!

As I sat down to configure this machine, I belatedly realizedthat for most of what I do with a computer, this cute little netbook isperfectly adequate. Sure, the keyboard is a bit cramped, it’s noperformance powerhouse, and the screen size, at 1024 x 600, isdefinitely the minimum necessary for it to be practical. It took someadaptation, but it wasn’t frustrating or disappointing to use. Itdelivered (almost) the same web experience I’d get on my desktop orlaptop, with no serious compromises. It just.. worked.

Jeff was exposed to the thing we’ve been saying for a good while, netbooks, while not powerhouses, can do a large percentage of the functions most people need.  Jeff didn’t realize that until he started playing with one but he reached the same conclusion.  They just work.

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  1. It’s not that they just work, but depending on what unit you get – they can work pretty darn well.

    My case, I’ve been using a big HP 17″ zd7000 for the last four years. Web, email, multimedia, encoding, gaming, multitasking… it can handle it all. A few weeks ago I moved to the HP 2133. Big change in screen size, much more portable, leaner CPU and fewer ports.

    The outcome? The 2133 handles everything my zd7000 does except gaming. Understanding that this unit handles “single” tasks well will change my usage habits somewhat, but knowing I CAN run what I need is still better than not being able to get my work done.

    Yes, the 1.6 Atom may have more power but if more power is what you need to get your work done, you can get a 12″ laptop with a more suitable C2D. With the 2133, I can play back 720p video flawlessly, record and encode WAV files and even do short video encoding work. For office, web and email it’s an unbeatable device, and if you do a lot of typing – the keyboard is a dream.

    Well enough of my rant. As others would say, get one and try for yourself.

  2. I stopped into an Apple retail outlet to check out the new Macbook. After working with the ASUS 1000H for a few weeks, the keys felt too far apart on the Mac.

  3. It is not just price, i for one will happily pay the extra for HP mininote style ruggedness.

    What i want is absolute portability. I carry around a lumbar pack almost everywhere, so if a computer will fit in that i can take it everywhere with zero inconvenience. A netbook fill comfortably fit in my lumbar pack along with all the rest of the junk.

    I don’t neeed blazing performance, because i have a quad-core desktop with a 9800GX2 and 4GB or ram for that kind of computing.

    I await news on the revamped mininote 2133 with anticipation……………….

  4. turn.self.off Sunday, October 26, 2008

    sounds like my old standby that a lot of people would be happy with a typewriter with internet access is at least somewhat right.

    and funny anecdote you have there about the macbook keyboard, ben ;)

  5. turn.self.off Sunday, October 26, 2008

    hrmf, to bad he is writing about a winxp version of the aspire tho. but i guess it came down the the java based crosswords…

  6. I’m suspicious of claims that technology ‘just works’. I got boxes of stuff that has never worked, or never worked in the way manufacturers claimed. Also, I don’t know any computer owner who has not been afflicted with something or other that didn’t work properly.

    I think that it’s not possible to make something that will ‘just work’ for everyone at a price everyone can afford. I think the truth of the matter is that in the consumer market, most stuff works well enough for most people most of the time. I don’t see any reason why net books should be any different.

    I’m sending this, by the way, from an eeePC701. It’s OK, and I like it, but some things about it are a bit flaky. I’d be a liar if I said ‘it just works’.

  7. I bought a netbook (eeePC701) because I thought : finaly, a computer that I could carry and use everywere.
    By everywere I mean that I could use it in places were normally, you wouldn’t bring your expensive laptop, for exemple in the kitchen to listen to internet radio.
    Also I already posess a 15 inch laptop, but it’s to big to enter my small backpack and to heavy. So before my eee and because of the weight, I had to think about taking my laptop or not. Now I don’t even ask myself, I just toss in my bag the eee and carry it around.

    Also, compared to ultraportable, netbooks are :
    – as light (sometimes even lighter)
    – you can use them on the corner of a table (and still have some room left)
    – netbooks are far less expensive than ultraportable (and since I already have a laptop…)

    Only drawback : recently, I only use my eee as a media player and a pdf reader because it’s still not powerfull enought to really replace my laptop (screen to small for programing, lags if you work on a huge text with lots of heavy illustrations, cramped keyboard, can’t read 720p videos on my 701, …).

    But hey you get a small, light, inexpensive and yet very versatile piece of hardware !

    So for me, the need satisfied would be to have a non intrusive gizmo that I can use and carry around without thinking about it and yet still be able to do lots of things with it. Last thing it also has a fast boot, fast connection.

  8. @AllanCJ

    I’ve had a chance to use the eeePC 4G and the 1000H, and the difference between the two is huge. Once you pop in an Atom processor, a gig of ram and a 5400 rpm HDD, the buggers get quick.

  9. I have a acer aspire one, and I love it. I bought the acer for $320 bucks. I got the netbook as something to bring with me on trips. You see I travel 2 weeks out the month; every month. I need a computer on the road which can run simple things like nike plus, itunes, hulu, netflix. This little computer can. I have found that even for writing college papers this thing also rocks. You even get so used to the screen size and keyboard that full my full sized government computer seem like a huge box. Some of the things I’ve got for the netbook is a micro bluetooth (runs great) and all the crap you can thing of to go with it! This no longer a if I need it computer but my main computer.
    It is a good deal.

    Chris

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