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Netbook Wars

The netbook market has been booming lately, everyone wants in. Lenovo and Dell are just the latest entries. I’ve had my 2133 for a while now and while I love it, I’m starting to think its screen is a bit small. I love how sturdy it is, I love the speakers and I love the large high speed HD and I really am happy with it. The thing is I don’t need this to be quite as portable or have quite as much battery life as I originally thought. I don’t travel all that much and I don’t just take this thing with very often. With my daughters when I go someplace there is no time for computing. Around the house though I use it more than my big laptop.

So now I’m thinking two things. Number one, do I need a netbook or would a basic no frills notebook be better? Number two, do I want a netbook with a bigger screen (although lower res)? I mean I should have no problem selling my 2133 for $500 which should be more than enough to get me one of the newer netbooks or a no frills laptop.

First off let’s take a look at no frills notebooks. This is definitely a more pricey solution it pushes the $500 mark pretty far. I end up with a 15.4″ laptop, Celeron under the hood with about the same amount of memory, HD space and around the same amount of battery life (probably a little less on the notebook) as a netbook. So more power and a bigger screen. Those are definitely bonuses. But I lose a lot of the ease of use. I mean 15″ is the same size as what I have now, not very easy to just whip out and play with (that’s right, I like to whip out my 15 inch “laptop” and play with it). I mean doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? As much as I like the idea of faster and more powerful, I just don’t think I can go bigger than 12 inches for a laptop like this. 12″ laptops start at around $700 to $750, that puts it out of my price range.  So that leaves me with other netbooks.

As I said at the start of this article there are a lot of netbooks either on the market or coming to the market.  The ones that most interest me are the 2133 (which I already have) the Acer Aspire One and the upcoming Lenovo S10 and Dell Mini. One of the things I want is a bigger screen. Well the Aspire One and Mini have the same size screen as my 2133. On top of that the Mini has no function keys. Keyboard is important to me on this kind of laptop. The Aspire One is very similar in size to the 2133, however it doesn’t nearly the speakers or resolution as the 2133. Compound that with a smaller battery and there’s really no reason for me to consider the Aspire One. So now I’m down to the Lenovo S10.

The Lenovo S10 is slated to release in early October. It’s a 10.2 inch netbook, similar in size to both the Aspire One and the 2133.  The S10 is a little deeper to acomadate the larger screen, but that difference is less than an inch. Weight wise they all come in about the same. While S10 has a larger screen it’s only 1024 x 600, quite a drop 1280 x 800 on the mini-note. The S10 also has less memory (ships with 512 meg and maxes out at 1.5 gig, my 2133 has 2 gig) and a smaller slower drive (80 gig 5400 rpm compared to a 120 gig 7200 rpm in the 2133). The upside is the S10 has the Atom. The problem is the Atom digs into battery life and the Lenovo only has a 3 cell battery. There is a reason the 2133 model I have is more expensive than the newer netbooks. In fact the 2133 I have is about as expensive as netbooks get. So can I give those things up?

This is a very tough call. I mean I can easily put an extra gig of memory in the S10 which really gets rid of that complaint. I love the battery life on my 2133, but I’m seldom very far from an outlet for any length of time. I think I can live with that. I have about 80 gigs of stuff on my 2133 right now (all my music mostly), so I’m definitely going to feel the decreased HD space. Still the Atom processor will make up for some of that performance drop from the drive speed.

In the end I think the Lenovo is a pretty good trade off. If I wait a little longer I could go with the Linux version of the S10 (assuming it comes with the larger drive and not just the 4 gig SSD) then put XP pro on there. That would save me enough money to bump up my memory. I think in the end the Lenovo is a better device for me. What do you guys think? Also while you’re at it, is anyone actually reading these blog posts? I mean we’ve never really blogged on Max Geek, we’ve always just been about the podcast, I’m interested in some feedback. Not that I’ll stop blogging, but I like to know what people think.

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