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Looking to replace a compact laptop
Old 01-10-2011, 12:22 PM   #1
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Looking to replace a compact laptop

I have a 12" Dell laptop that I use for travel, but I'm finding find that I get tired of lugging it around (especially when traveling by air), as the battery, charger block and laptop get to be a bit heavy.

I'm now trying to figure out what I should get to take its place -- an ultra-compact laptop (like the ASUS eee), an iPad, an iPhone/Android or what? I really have not done a deep dive into any of this, so I'm hoping for input from posters who have been keeping up with recent developments.

I typically am looking to use it for wireless email and internet surfing and the like when on the road, and perhaps creating an occasional document (or some such) as well. It would be nice to have something small that I could toss into my purse for accessing the internet when shopping or at a coffee shop, checking the internet or email when waiting for an appointment, etc. I'm not at all into movies/long videos. I'd like to watch the occasional youtube video for which someone sends me a link in an email.

Today I found a used ASUS 4Gig eee online on Craig's List for $100, and now am debating whether is is the way to go or not. One concern is -- I'm wondering whether the wireless 802.11n might be soon be getting out-of-date -- does anyone know? Also, the ASUS seems to be a model that's ~3 years old, so I'm thinking that the battery might need to be replaced soon (at a cost of $30-40).

I'm trying to figure out if spending a bit more and getting an iPad (if so, which one?) might be a better value?

OR, since my Sprint cellphone 2-year contract is over in March, should I then consider getting an iPhone/Android?

I'm trying to resist buying something that's going to be out-dated in a very short time (possible the ASUS?), but I certainly don't need to be at the 'bleeding edge" of technology.

I'd like to keep my "product lifetime" costs down (therefore, if possible, using free WiFi rather than subscribing to any data plans), while minimizing product size and weight (smaller/lighter than my 12" Dell) and maximizing my usage value (easy to carry, use, and access). Any suggestions?

omni
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:45 PM   #2
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I'm quite liking my iPad in the email and light net-surfing role. It isn't as great for document creation, in particular I find typing on it to be substantially worse than a keyboard, though you can buy keyboards for it. If you really like having full Windows functionality, a netbook seems like a good solution.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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The iPad is an obvious good option, but many more tablets are appearing from different manufacturers. I rather like the Samsung I saw at Best Buy last week - smaller than the iPad but very nicely designed.

The Macbook Air deserves a look, too.

With all the hotspots available for WiFi, I think I'd be happy with that only, rather than paying for yet another data plan -- if I'm really stuck and need access, the smart phone would suffice for surfing.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:21 PM   #4
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I've had good luck with the ASUS EEE.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I've had good luck with the ASUS EEE.
+1

DW got an ASUS netbook for Christmas and she really likes it. While not the bleeding edge of technology, it does all the tasks you say you want to do reasonably well. I found the keyboard surprisingly easy to type on and the battery life (new) is excellent ~ 10 hours.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:05 PM   #6
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I have had an Asus eeepc netbook for about two years. I think it is just about the best value in a computer you can get. Several months ago I dumped the hard drive, and the quick boot was not working. I had both Windows and Ubuntu installed. It would boot to the grey screen, take some time and then to to the operating systems page. While searching I found that I got a disk with it to recover the operating system. Now it is back to like it was when I bought it.

I would purchase one again, and I am looking forward to their tablet computer. I run Office, PhotoShop, and Expressions Web on it with no problems.

battery life 2 years old - 6.5 to 7.5 hours
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
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+1

DW got an ASUS netbook for Christmas and she really likes it. While not the bleeding edge of technology, it does all the tasks you say you want to do reasonably well. I found the keyboard surprisingly easy to type on and the battery life (new) is excellent ~ 10 hours.
Yes on the battery life.
Also small/light enough to not be a burden through airports.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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I love my Samsung NC10. It's about two years old, though. It's small and lightweight, great battery, good enough screen, and so inexpensive I don't worry about losing it. I haven't tried the ASUS or any other netbook so I can't compare.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:29 PM   #9
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everything I have read says the NC10 is as good if not better than the Asus.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
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Get one of those new devices that is like a netbook with a detachable iPad-like touchscreen display. So its a PC when you want it and an iPad when you want that.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:31 AM   #11
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I have a HP netbook, really like the size and the keyboard. If I were starting today I would probably get an ipad. But the netbook has been a good size. Cost about $325 new a couple years ago, runs XP which I like. Recently replaced the 3 cell battery with a 6 cell battery and have never run out of battery with occasional use over several days. It does run all the MS products but I tend to use Open Office.
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:14 AM   #12
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Thanks, everyone, for your input and ideas. Now I've got someplace to start my research.

The more I think about it, I'm currently leaning towards buying a used small 'something' netbook from Craig's List as it feels like we are in the midst of big shakeout and new developments over the next year or so with the tablet computers, Smartphones, and the like.

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Old 01-11-2011, 11:21 AM   #13
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I love my ASUS eeePC for traveling - I was on a consulting gig and didn't have to plug it in at all while at meetings - amazed the people I was with.

I just purchased a Toshiba Portege - it is very light - almost as light as the eeePC - but it is more of a full-up computer - has a CD-DVD drive (which the eeePC does not).

I'm amazed at how light these computers are and how much they can do - heck, I even bought a used - refurbed iPod Touch 2G (thanks T-Al for the recommendation) and was flabbergasted at how much I could do (also at how much time I could waste playing Angry Birds and Ragdoll). Only thing I miss is a remote keyboard to type stuff into the iPod Touch like I had with my Palm V - then I wouldn't need the larger computers....
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:20 AM   #14
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I have an EEEpc and an Ipad. I like the Ipad far more than the EEEpc. Better keyboard, better screen, better user interface, better email/web capabilities, great apps. The only advantage the netbook has is a greater variety of software applications - most windows programs will run on it.
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:54 PM   #15
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I have an EEEpc and an Ipad. I like the Ipad far more than the EEEpc. Better keyboard, better screen, better user interface, better email/web capabilities, great apps. The only advantage the netbook has is a greater variety of software applications - most windows programs will run on it.
The iPad has a better keyboard? Do you mean the plug-in one?

I've tried playing with an iPad twice...several months ago at the Apple store and yesterday and Best Buy. I guess there's something about interacting with a totally flat surface that just doesn't give me the tactile feedback that I prefer.

As I was typing this repsonse, I had an 'aha moment' and may have figured out why this 'flat surface tactile feedback' is an issue for me. When I was in 1st grade, I was enrolled in an after-school piano class. We were too poor to afford a piano, so I had a foldout cardboard keyboard to use for practicing fingering & scales and playing songs. The iPad gives me the same 'dead' sensation.

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Old 01-13-2011, 05:36 AM   #16
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Omni - I like the Ipad on screen keyboard better than the EEEpc. (It does block the on-screen graphics though). i dont have a plug-in keyboard.

The EEEpc keys seem klunky after getting used to the Ipad's flat screen keyboard. It took me a few months to get used to the Ipad, but now I'm hooked. I can probably type as fast now on its keyboard as I can on a PC keyboard.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:06 AM   #17
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I am not sure which EEEpc you tried/owned. The original EEEpc keyboard was not good. However, they changed out their keyboard about two years ago. I have had no problem with the newer keyboard, and find it hard to believe that typing on an IPad would be easier for the average user.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:25 PM   #18
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Thanks, everyone, for your input.

I did a lot of research online.

I took the plunge today and bought a [brand new, in the box] Asus eee 1005 for $175 on Craig's List. The seller is a software developer and he'd won it as a prize at work. He's into Apple products, so this just wasn't cutting it for him.

Including the battery, charger and cord, it's about half the weight of my compact Dell laptop, so that will make it much easier on my back when lugging it on trips. And the 10.5 hr. battery life is pretty sweet.

Now I just need to figure out how to connect it wirelessly to my home network since I don't remember the password. I think I saw a recent thread on this by Khan.

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Old 01-18-2011, 07:46 PM   #19
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Good luck without the password, however, most wireless routers have a button on the back you can depress for a few seconds and the router will reset to the original settings. You can then go in and reset the password.
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