iPad lead me to getting a netbook research (long post)

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safetyobc

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Hello,

Just wanted to share my thoughts here. I have a Macbook Pro 2.2 GHz 15" LCD that I have had for almost 3 years. I love the computer. Works great! I have Windows XP on Boot Camp or can run it virtually via VM Ware. Since it is 3 years old, the battery will barely last 30 minutes, which isn't that big of a deal since I mostly use the MBP at my desk. I am a huge apple fan. I have a MBP, my wife has a macbook, we both have iPhones. I have iPods and my kids all have iPods. When the iPad was announced I started thinking that I would like to have a small portable around the house for mostly internet browsing and the such. I looked at the iPad and what it currently offers. But it seems lacking and flawed to me. To be able to sit on my couch while watching TV and surfing the web, I would be forced to either prop the iPad up on my lap or lay it on the couch beside me. Typing on the iPad with both hands seems nearly impossible and would require a lot of hunt and pecking. It seems a laptop is the perfect design for lounging and surfing. Which led me to researching netbooks. I was looking to spend around $399

While researching I started looking at 10" models but their screen resolution was a little lacking in my opinion (most of them anyway) 1024x600 would make for a lot of side scrolling to see web pages. I researched and read 100's of reviews and watched tons of videos on YouTube featuring netbooks like Toshiba NB305, ASUS 1005PE, HP Mini 311, Dell 11z, and many more. Some like the NB305 ($399) and 1005PE ($329) couldn't watch HD video (the graphics chip wouldn't handle it) and some that did were very expensive for the equipment you were getting.

I also did NOT want Windows XP. It is a decent operating system (nothing compared to OS X) but it is getting a little long in the tooth. I wanted Windows 7 (I have heard lots of good things about Windows 7), but most of the netbooks come with Windows 7 Starter which is a very limited version of Windows 7 taking away a lot of the eye candy like Windows Aero and other features. Even simple things like being able to change your desktop background isn't possible in Windows 7 Starter. You can upgrade from Starter to 7 Home Premium but that costs another $80. If you spend $300 for a bare bones netbook then upgrade the 1GB of RAM to 2GB and add Windows 7 upgrade, you are well over $400. Most netbooks have the same specs, Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive and low screen resolution. There are some that offer 250GB and higher screen resolution but almost none that allow for HD playback, except the higher end models costing nearly $500 but still with netbook specs (single core Atom processors, 2GB ram max, etc.).

So with that in mind, I raised my bottom line a bit and started looking at 11" to 13" notebooks/netbooks. The 13" models were a bit out of my budget and I really wanted a smaller more portable computer that had almost notebook capabilities. So I finally came across the Toshiba Satellite T115D-S1125

Satellite T115D-S1125

The T115D-S1125 rings in at $499 and offers:

  • AMD Athlon Neo X2 Dual-Core L325 Processor,
  • 2GB of DDR2 memory (upgradable to 4GB),
  • 11.6-inch widescreen LED backlit display with 1366x768 resolution and ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics which allows for HD playback!,
  • 320GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive,
  • Integrated 802.11b/g wireless and HDMI, eSATA ports,
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Operating System

The down side is most netbooks can get 9 + hours of battery life while the T115D models are coming in at around 5 to 6 hours. Not a big deal for me because I will mainly use the netbook at home, so I should be around an outlet more often than not.

There is a T115D-S1120 model that has a single core processor and a 250GB HDD. To me it is worth $50 for dual core processor and a bit more storage. So I got the go from the boss (aka my wife) to buy a new toy.) I will use it for web browsing and scanner programming mainly. I could get away with a simple netbook, but I hate having bought a product only to wish I would have stepped up to the next model. I bought my Macbook Pro and got only 160GB hard drive thinking "I'll never fill that up." Now with 18GB left of space, I wish I would have gotten a bigger model. I am not a computer guru and would not feel comfortable upgrading internal HDD by myself.

I had a ton of help from the fine folks over at Netbook Forum Also, there is a nice review of the 1125 model Toshiba T115D - AMD/HD3200 11.6 thread

Also, if you are interested you can go to Bing.com and type "laptop" into the search. After the search look for tigerdirect's website (sometimes it is in results, sometimes it is in the right column. As of this posting, you get 15% bing cashback on all laptops/netbooks on the site. For the T115-S1125 model you get $75 off bringing the netbook down to $424 with free shipping. From Toshiba Direct you can get the model in Red or Black. Red is my favorite but I will be getting mine from tigerdirect and they currently only offers them in Black.

Just curious if anyone has a netbook. If so, what type and how do you like it?
 

lgentle

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I've got the Asus 1000H. Upgraded to 2GB and am now (after upgrading to the latest BIOS) running Windows 7 Professional. Yes, I did "let Windows select performance", but, it runs a lot nicer that way.

I'm loving it!!!! It's MAINLY used for service manual lookups when/if I need them. It also has Wireless-N so I can surf while sitting on the sofa. I like it because it's so light. I can sit it on an ADF input tray and it's perfectly safe and stable.
 

eorange

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Just curious if anyone has a netbook. If so, what type and how do you like it?
Nice post, esp. about your iPad thoughts.

I was thinking about getting a netbook to supplement / replace my aging laptop around the holidays. But I arrived, and stalled, at the point where you're approaching: for just a few $ more, I could get a nice laptop. To me, the price gap between good netbooks and laptops is narrow, which makes it hard to decide. So I've done nothing yet.

FWIW - from what I've seen, anyone who has ever posted about an Asus netbook has loved it. (I build my own PCs and have always used Asus motherboards, so comments like that catch my eye).

Good luck.
 

safetyobc

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I have also heard good things about ASUS.

I bought my 2 kids laptops a couple of Christmas' ago. They are ACER Extensa 4630Z. I got em really cheap through a Best Buy promotion. We were going to buy them a couple of netbooks 10" or less but these are 15" laptops. I think we gave $250 each for them.

Now, obviously these are cheap laptops and running Vista. But I am really not impressed with them. So I haven't even looked at an Acer. I am probably being unfair since they are such a cheap model, but it is what it is. At any rate, they have enjoyed having them and it keeps them off of mine :)
 

safetyobc

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I ended up with the Toshiba T115D-S1120. 11.6" netbook with 720p resolution. Can handle HD video with broadcom graphics. AMD Neo processor. So far getting 5 + hours of battery life (I haven't actually used it for 5 hours straight, but on and off it is 5 or so hours). Offers HDMI out. Windows 7 Home Premium (not starter like other netbooks). Very snappy. Works great! Got it for $390 shipped from CompUSA with bing cashback. There is an 1125 model for $50 more l that has a dual core processor, but the single core has been great for me so far. I plan to upgrade the RAM to the max 4GB as soon as I can.

I'd be happy to answer any questions if you have any.

See pics here Picasa Web Albums - Matt - Toshiba T115D...
 
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