I’ve ordered a new HP netbook. Why? Because my Apple MacBook Pro is too big and heavy for working a trade show, and a MacBook Air is far too pricey.
When I’m at a conference, meeting or trade show, I need a notebook with a good keyboard that I can use to take notes, make blog posts, check Twitter, surf the Web, check email, stuff like that. I don’t need the full functionality of my two-year-old, 5.4-pound 15″ MacBook Pro, named Tachyon, which generally lives on my desk (connected to a 30″ Dell monitor).
Here in Los Angeles at Microsoft TechEd this week, I’ve been carrying around a briefcase with Tachyon. My back’s killing me — and when I load up the bag with all the other stuff needed for the show, it gets even worse.
My requirements fit the qualifications for a netbook: Usable keyboard, reasonable screen, WiFi, strong Web browser, plus the ability to work offline (such as taking notes in a class, keynote or meeting).
While I’m not ashamed to admit lusting after a super-cool 3.0-pound MacBook Air, it’s hard to justify the high cost. While a refurbished model can be had for only $999, the base price for a new model is a lot higher. Besides, I don’t need another full-fledged Mac notebook — I already have the MacBook Pro. When I go on a long trips, like to my New York office, I’ll take the big guy. What I need is something for day trips or going to meetings.
I’ve tried using other machines for this purpose, such as my “ancient” 1.5GHz PowerBook G4 (named JimmyMac), with a 12-inch screen. But while my old PowerBook has a smaller footprint than Tachyon, it’s nearly as heavy at 4.6 pounds.
So, yesterday I ordered an HP Mini 1120NR, a slimmed-down netbook. It has an single-core Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, reasonable keyboard (they claim 92% of full size), 10-inch display, and 16GB of flash storage. It runs Linux, which is fine for my purposes. The price: $329. If I don’t like it, I can send it back within 30 days (subject to a 15% restocking charge). The machine’s name will be Higgs.
The only worrying spec is the HP netbook’s short three hours of battery life – we’ll have to see how that goes. (I can coax more than five hours out of Tachyon if I dim backlighting and turn off WiFi.)
At $329, if the HP netbook can get the job done for a year or two, it’s a better value than buying a MacBook Air for 4x-6x the price.
Here’s a spec comparison:
HP Mini 1120NR
10.3 x 6.5 (66.95 sq in footprint) x 1.0 x 2.45 pounds
12″ PowerBook G4
10.9 x 8.6 (93.74 sq in footprint) x 1.2 x 4.6 pounds
12.8 x 8.9 (113.92 sq in footprint) x 0.7 x 3.0 pounds
15″ MacBook Pro
14.1 x 9.6 (135.36 sq in footprint) x 1.0 x 5.4 pounds
Any experience with netbooks? Tell me what you think…
Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick