Open Thread — Off-Topic / Notebook vs. Netbookby Brad Warbiany
This is somewhat off-topic, but as I know many bloggers and blog-readers are technophiles, I wanted to get advice from the best place I could.
The time has come for us to replace my wife’s laptop. It’s about as old and decrepit as a laptop can be and still run Windows, and is a constant source of frustration for her. As any married guy knows, that means that it’s a constant source of frustration for me as well.
Her computing needs are very sparse, so performance is not an issue. At the moment, I’m toying with the idea of getting her a netbook rather than a notebook. I’m sure several readers here have played with the netbooks, and can give an idea of whether they are functional enough to be her primary computer. She will be using it primarily to run her business, but most of that is email and web-based, with occasional document editing.
Cost — The decision is between netbook and low-end notebook, not netbook vs. high-end notebook. Note that this also rules out the ultra-slim notebooks, as you typically pay for the small size.
Operating System — I prefer WinXP. For her, it can’t be Linux, for me, I’d prefer it’s not Vista. We could live with Vista if we had enough horsepower, though.
Storage — Rotating HDD. I know more about SSD technology than most (it’s my job), but the cost/capacity equation is wrong for her application. As a primary PC, and with a lot of storage of digital photos, 8-16 GB would disappear in months.
Software — 95% Firefox. 5% OpenOffice, Picture Viewing, etc.
Size — It needs to be portable enough for her to carry, since she runs a business and needs connectivity on a regular basis. She’s also trucking around one 16-month old child with her, and in another 6-7 months, will have two. So smaller is better in this sense.
Convenience — If a small screen & keyboard (luckily she has small fingers) will grow tiresome quickly, she may need to move up to the notebook.
If I didn’t regularly use one laptop for everything, I’d probably be using a netbook for travel and general connectivity. But I’m sure it would get very old for me quickly, as I’m used to large high-resolution screens and full-size keyboards.
What do you think? I’m thinking of buying a netbook retail for Christmas, letting her play with it for a few weeks, and then if she hates the small keyboard/screen, returning it for a real notebook. But if the general consensus is that she’ll hate it right up front, I might as well save myself a trip.