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Sunday, May 3, 2009

A notebook by any other name...

Well, I have decided to stray from my Apple-fanism, and purchased a new computer. But not any type of computer; I have decided to take the leap and try out a new category of computer, the netbook. Of course, my first idea was to get a new MacBook, but with finances being what they are, I was left with far too little funding for anything other than a budget laptop. Since that was pretty much out of the question, I started examining these new netbooks. Being a fairly new category, most likely cooked up by some marketing-types, the netbook is essentially a sub-notebook computer. With displays ranging from 7" to 10", most of these devices are designed to be easy to carry.

Currently, the processors of choice for these devices are from Intel's Atom series. Although they are somewhat underpowered compared to many of the newer processors today, they are very, very efficient from a power consumption perspective.

After doing a bit of research through the various manufacturers websites and netbook forums, I settled on Asus. They pretty much started the trend towards these computers with their EeePC series. My biggest problem was making a selection, as Asus offers many different models. I had a few criteria to help me in my selection:

  1. An actual keyboard, not some over-compressed cellphone dialpad

  2. An actual hard drive with a decent capacity, rather than a first-generation flash-based hard drive

  3. Decent build quality

With these points in mind, I narrowed down my choice to the 900HA or the 1000HA. The primary differences with these two devices were:

  • The 900HA has a 8.9" screen, while the 1000HA has a 10.2" screen

  • The 900HA has 0.3 megapixel camera, while the 1000HA has a 1.3 megapixel camera

  • The 900HA has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours, while the 1000HA has a rated battery life of 7.5 hours

Another obvious trade off with the 1000HA is its larger physical dimensions and weight, but when compared, it really isn't such a huge difference. But what sealed the deal was the price; I was able to get the 1000HA for almost $50 less than the 900HA! Go figure.

I got the box home and was looking forward to trying out the little machine. Like all EeePC models, the packaging and contents are basically the same. Although the 1000HA has no CD or DVD drive, Asus conveniently provides a DVD with an image of Windows XP SP3 and drivers. It's a nice addition, although my plans included an installation of Linux on my netbook.

I will post more as I spend time using this great little device!

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