Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Reasons to Think Before You Buy a netbook

With the netbook's small size, light weight, and WI-FI support, these sleek miniature notebooks offer maximum portability. So it is no surprise they are becoming all the rage in an ever growing market for mobile computing products. The heyday of the PDA device showed consumers that mobility is convenient, thus spawning the Blackberry and touch screen phones

Performance vs. Battery Life

A feature that I really love about the new netbook is the long battery life. The longest battery life for a netbook I have seen so far boasts 9 hours, which is the Toshiba Mini NB205. The Toshiba Mini comes with Intel's smallest processor, the N280 Atom, which averages 1.6Ghz, but you're likely to sacrifice such speed to take advantage of the most battery life of your netbook, down to 1.2 GHz (just a hair above 1Ghz that Windows 7 requires). Asus makes a laptop they call EEE PC that allows you to bump the speed of the Atom processor up to 2Ghz with a click of a button, but will reduce the length of the battery life.

Size Matters

Let's face it, when it comes to new laptops, smaller is sexier. It wasn't long ago that the bigger screen you get the better, but it is hardly practical lugging around a heavy 15-inch wide screen. The average netbook weighs between 3 to 4 pounds, usually with 10-inch screen, which fits comfortably on a little café table Let's not forget that if you buy a netbook, be sure it is loaded with Windows 7, otherwise you will have a headache trying to upgrade from XP without a disc drive.

Limited Upgrades.

Netbooks are a lot older than most people know. Before netbooks became popular for mobile web surfing, they were used, and still are, as terminals to large networks of servers and powerful PCs, so netbooks are not made with very much processing power or RAM memory. Even with the latest netbooks on the market, you won't find many with more than one slot for RAM and normally max out at 2GB. Windows 7 only uses 1 GB of RAM, even still, you will be limited from running concurrent programs smoothly. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, if all you plan to do is surf the web and write blogs, but as websites inevitably add-on more features, and programs become larger and more resource dependent, eventually your new netbook becomes less useful.

Don't get me wrong, I love the netbook concept and I hope to see improvements in the near future, but you really get what you pay for. If all you want to do is send and receive email, write to you blog, and check your facebook, the netbook is a much more capable device than an iPhone or blackberry by far (and with Google Voice you can even use your laptop as a phone for free). If you need a laptop that you can do more than just surf the web on, I recommend spending the extra couple hundred dollars on a laptop that will last you longer and offer more capability.