This is a guest post from Ibrahim Husain, from Zen College Life. He writes about how to succeed in college, in a meaningful way.
We’ve all seen them; those cute little laptops. If you are a college student you probably see them everywhere. I know I have. And anyone who does a little research probably knows why: they are powerful, compact, cheap, and pack a real punch as far as technology goes.
But which one is best for you?
This is a question I had to ask myself before I purchased a new netbook. I knew I didn’t need a full laptop, I have a powerhouse of a computer at home. When on the go I would probably only be writing, syncing my iPhone and camera, browsing the internet, and maybe watching a video every now and then.
Also I wanted to take mine everywhere. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t like to be anywhere without electricity AND Wi-Fi. So for me it was important to have one that was small enough that I wouldn’t be bothered carrying it around all of the time, had great battery life, had a large enough keyboard that I could type for extended periods of time if necessary, and had enough storage space to hold my pictures, videos, some mp3s etc.
I chose the one’s that seemed most popular, figuring there had to be a good reason for people buying them the most… Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, Asus Eee PC 1000H and the MSI Wind.
Acer Aspire One
My first impression of the Acer Aspire One was good lord this thing is small. It made other netbooks look big. But it was also pretty powerful. It was packed with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, a 160GB hard drive, a 8.9 inch screen, and 1GB of memory. This would be a great netbook for anyone on the go.
I had a few issues with it though. First off, the keyboard is tiny. It’s almost impossible to type without making mistakes. I am a 6’4” guy, though, so if you have small hands this may work perfectly. My second, and really major issue with the Acer One though is the touch mouse. Look at the picture. The buttons are to the left and right of the touchpad, respectively. I just couldn’t handle that. It may seem like it just takes some getting used to, but for me that was a deal breaker. It just felt too unnatural, and I didn’t want to carry a mouse with me everywhere I went.
The Acer Aspire One carries a price tag of $399. This is about average for this amount of hardware.
Dell Inspiron Mini 9
A friend of mine had this netbook, so I was able to play with it for a little longer. I have to say, I really like this one. The screen looks fantastic, it’s quick, thin, light, and attractive. It also has the 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor. It has an 8.9 inch screen. I had a couple of complaints for this one too, though.
First off, it only comes with 512MB of memory. That is rough, even running Microsoft XP operating system. Secondly, it comes with an 8gb Solid State Drive, rather than a regular hard drive with a lot more storage space. Now for many people this may not be an issue, but I carry around raw images and video (I do a lot of graphic design and video editing), and this just wouldn’t work. And since there were no hard drive upgrades available I had to keep looking.
I found this netbook online for as low as $349.
Asus EEE Pc 1000HA
I have to admit, I really liked the way this netbook looked, right from the start. It was 10 inches, instead of 9 like the others. Some people may not like the increase in size, but it just felt right to me. The keyboard was 95% of the size of an average keyboard, quite a bit larger than the average 75% size of most netbooks. The Eee PC came with a 160GB hard drive, the Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor, 1GB of memory, and a 10 inch LED backlit screen. Also this netbook came with a 6 cell battery, boasting battery life of 7+ hours. WOW!
The only thing I didn’t love about the Eee PC was the touch mouse, which felt a little misplaced (sitting right on the front edge). But the multi-touch features on the mouse helped wipe away my tears.
I found this one online for $420.
Another white netbook, it wasn’t hard to fall in love with the looks of the MSI Wind. Under the hood this netbook had the same 1.6 GHz Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, a 10-inch screen, an 80GB hard drive, and 5+ hours of battery life. It was one of the first netbooks to be powered by this Atom processor, and it flies.
Another cool thing I read about the MSI Wind, (though I don’t advocate the installation of software illegally) was that it was quite easy to install Apple’s Mac Os X onto it. That would be pretty cool, having a MacBook at half the cost.
I found this netbook online for $549.
In the end, I went with the Asus Eee Pc 1000. It fit my needs, had extra storage space, and was the right price. If cost were not an issue though, it would have been a real race between the Eee Pc and the MSI Wind. When purchasing an item of this nature, it’s really just a matter of what best fits your needs within your budget.
I can’t urge this enough, though: Do not go and buy a netbook or laptop online without having seen, touched, and played with it in the store first. Had I purchased that Acer without having touched it, I would have been disappointed beyond belief. That mouse still annoys me, and I don’t even own one…
What are your thoughts? Which would, or did, you buy?
Be sure to check out more from Ibrahim at Zen College Life.