Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Doug's Mailbag: Are Netbooks Worth It?

Here are some reader responses to Doug's blog entry about being underwhelmed (and a bit disappointed) by Best Buy's netbook selection:

I spend two hours a day (minimum) on a train every day commuting to and from work. I spend another two hours each day getting to and from the train stations, so schlepping around a full-size laptop NEVER appealed to me. However, sitting for two hours getting nothing done drove me crazy, so despite my initial bad luck with an ASUS Eee PC, I bought another netbook. It ended up being a refurbished Gateway unit, and cost me only $200. That was two years ago.

I ended up doubling the RAM to 2 GB, and have recently upgraded to an SSD drive (120 GB). I run Windows 7 Ultimate on the device, along with a 4G wireless USB stick, and despite carrying the unit to and from work almost every day for two years through 90+ degree summer days and below-zero Midwest winter days, the unit just keeps on humming, like an Energizer bunny! I listen to my music, read eBooks occasionally with Kindle for the PC, and Remote Desktop into my home and work networks virtually every day, turning my two hours of confinement on uncomfortable public transportation into productive work time.

An iPad? If all I wanted was entertainment to and from work, I'd probably spring for one. However, being able to seamlessly connect to work with Remote Desktop, while still carting around only about 3 lbs. of hardware, has given me a netbook addiction that would be hard to shake at this point. I'll probably only switch if Windows 8 comes out in some handy and equally inexpensive form factors.

I think your dissatisfaction for netbooks as a class should be properly attributable to store demo models.

Uncaring and even malicious fingers tend to make mincemeat of store demo machines -- desktops, laptops, netbooks, Kindles, iPads, whatever. The only way to harden a device against the sort of abuse store demos get is to replace it with a mock device -- a dummy -- that just sits there, looking pretty, but does absolutely nothing.

I'm a netbook owner -- used largely on trips, runs XP, has but 1 GB of RAM, and needs to digest and install a whole slew of updates when we get it ready for the next trip, but has done just fine on the road with  no failures/freezes/whatnot whatsoever. (Acer ONE, that one happens to be.)

I just wanted to say that I have owned an Acer Netbook, running XP, for three years now and I love it! I made sure to buy them before XP went off the shelf, if only to ensure compatibility with my older (OK, now ancient) desktops.

It not only is still running, but running well, and on the same battery that it came out of the box with. It is fantastically portable and no heavier than a hardcover book (actually, lighter than, say, a hardcover edition of a Harry Potter novel).

Keep the conversation rolling by clicking here.

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/13/2012 at 1:19 PM


  • Gears

    Top 10 Microsoft Tips and Analyses of 2018

    Here are the year's most popular explainers and how-to columns -- along with some plain, old "Why did Microsoft do that?" musings thrown in.

  • Sign

    2018 Microsoft Predictions Revisited

    From guessing the fate of Windows 10 S to predicting Microsoft's next big move with Linux, Brien's predictions from a year ago were on the mark more than they weren't.

  • Microsoft Recaps Delivery Optimization Bandwidth Controls for Organizations

    Microsoft expects organizations using its Delivery Optimization peer-to-peer update scheme will optimally see 60 percent to 70 percent improvements in terms of network bandwidth use.

  • Getting a Handle on Hyper-V Virtual NICs

    Hyper-V usually makes it easy to configure virtual network adapters within VMs. That is, until you need to create a VM containing multiple virtual NICs.

comments powered by Disqus
Most   Popular

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.