Netbooks have become increasingly more powerful since their initial debut. Some sport the Intel Atom Z530 (1.6GHz), 2GB of RAM, 320GB HDDs, and 1280×800 screens with decent clarity. That also overlooks extras like integrated Webcams, ability to output to an HD monitor (some with an HDMI port), surprisingly decent graphics cards, bluetooth, and Wireless-N.
There are still a few significant detractors:
- small keyboards. The best have a 92% scale keyboard.
- single-core, slow(er) processor. I enjoy my pow-ah.
- not all have my ideal minimum resolution of 1280×800. Most are ‘x768, some are even smaller.
- for just a little bit more money ($100 – $300 depending…) you can get an Intel dual-core, 15″ laptop with more memory, more power, more HDD space, a DVD drive, better graphics, and a better sound card. Tempting, no?
The decision seems to have come down to “ultimate portability” or “good portability” as long as I am not talking about massive code compilations, running VMs, playing games, etc. I don’t mind a 15″ laptop. I used to have a 17″ for work, and the current 15″ laptops are much lighter than the HP ze5500 I am keeping alive. (Of all my machines, THAT one should be Frankenstein…).
With my upcoming move to Verizon, I will be receiving a coupon to the HP store. I get to make a decision. For the coupon plus about $100 I can get a netbook with decent specs. What I REALLY dislike about the HP netbook is that the height is the worst in all the market: 1024×576. That is even more claustrophobic than the postage stamp, sub-quarter-acre my house is on. OR I can use the coupon plus about another $300 and get a laptop: 15.6″ HD 1366×768, dual core, lots of memory, etc., etc., etc.
I have a desktop for all of my “power computing”. I think what I need to figure out is exactly what I plan to do on a netbook, and is 1024×576 good enough for my uses, or is it too confining and potentially insanity inducing. This is where a VM can come in handy. I can fake that screen size and see what it is like.
My OS thoughts are no surprise. I can actually get the laptop with an HP supported Linux mobile remix. I would quickly convert that to either the Ubuntu Netbook-remix, or straight-up Kubuntu 9.04 32bit. Some quick searching has revealed that is decently supported on this netbook (and the notebook I am pondering).
If I am going to use it for mobility, writing, surfing, email, and pretty much nothing else, I guess the question comes down to living with the resolution. The price difference plays in here (I think we have established that I can be cheap) as does simple tech-lust: the Netbook is the neat new technology, I have the ability, I wanty.
The one, maybe one, significant extra factor is that a notebook could become my “TV computer” — the thing I can hookup to the television in the living room for the rare times we want to watch something streaming. But, again… rare times. I’m not a complete Hulu convert yet.
“What to do. What to do.” — Q’s Mother