Achy wrists, bleary-eyed? You may have “netbook fatigue”

msiwind_hqNetbooks are wonderful little laptops that are so great due to their small portable size.  They are so easy to carry around that it’s easy to throw them in a bag “just in case” you need it while on the run.  That portability comes at a price: a compromise in the screen and keyboard size that can be fairly taxing on some netbook models.  If you have a netbook and have noticed that your wrists are often achy and your eyes get bleary more often than in the past, you may have “netbook fatigue.”

We have stated many times that the compromise OEMs have to make with the keyboard can be very important when you try to decide which netbook model to grab.  We have used many different netbook models and one of the key factors for us is how big the keyboard is, as it affects how comfortable it is to type for any length of time at all.  The HP Mini series of netbooks has almost full-sized keyboards (92 percent) with good key spacing, and that goes a long way to providing a comfortable typing experience.  Ditto for the MSI Wind.  Good keyboards are easier to put on 10-inch netbooks, but we’ve found even that varies from model to model.

When you type for any length of time at all on one of the netbooks with cramped keyboards, it becomes very uncomfortable.  More than once I’ve used a netbook for a bit and realized that my wrists get all achy, and eventually I have to stop.  This is due to the keyboards being too narrow overall and the keys being too close together.  It forces the user to adopt an unnatural position for touch typing, and that leads to aches and pains as well as fatigue.

I don’t have a problem with the screens on 10-inch netbooks, but smaller netbook screens can give me bleary eyes after a while.  It just gets too hard to focus on such tiny screens for any length of time, and eventually I’ll find my eyes getting all watery.  Most netbooks use a screen resolution of 1024×600, and this works fine for me on 10-inch screens, but I’ve heard from those who have a hard time using even those larger netbook screens.

A blogger on Wired has had to give up on using a netbook for these very reasons.  It seems the achy wrists and bleary eyes got too much for the author to bear and the netbook was retired quickly.

Over the weekend I carried the Wind to the coffee shop on the next block. Thirty minutes later I was out of the door nursing a painful wrist and watery eyes. It was the same story at the beach next day. My dreams of typing the next great manuscript didn’t work out. I couldn’t stay on the machine for more than 15 minutes.

I am surprised to hear that the MSI Wind was the cause of the author’s netbook fatigue, as it’s one of the best, most comfortable netbooks to use.  I can’t imagine how much trouble one of the other netbook models I’ve tried would give this author.

So how about you?  Have you experienced “netbook fatigue”?  What did you do about it, and what model netbook caused you grief?

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