The post below was actually written on Monday but I’ve been without internet access (shock horror!) and haven’t been able to post it until now:

I’m currently sitting on a train to Aberystwyth with hundreds of sheep around me (it never fails to amaze me just how many sheep there are in Wales despite living here for three years!), playing with my new gadget.

I’ve been after a new laptop for a while now and kept telling myself that I would save up and get one when I start my dissertation. My previous laptop is over 6 years old now, and as much as I loved it, I’ve hardly used it since I left University, choosing instead to use the desktop as the laptop just isn’t fast enough (it also has less storage capacity than my iPod Touch!). I have also been fortunate to be able to borrow laptops from work when I have needed them and have been using a work one throughout my course which has been great.

But I always thought I’d get one when I started my dissertation to keep everything on one portable machine which I could always have with me. I’m on my way to my dissertation study school now so it was time to get one. Thankfully, laptops have come down in price massively over the last couple of years and more recently there has been the boom of “Netbooks” – extra portable laptops.

OK, so they’re designed mainly to access the net (hence the name) but some of these machines have some great specs. The one I went for in the end, an Acer Aspire One A150-BW has 1GB memory and 120GB hard drive and runs XP (I may be a bit of a geek but I’m not hardcore enough to move to Linux yet!). At just under £300 it’s also very reasonably priced and the portability is a huge plus point (it’s also very pretty – I went for white):

Despite concerns due to lack of stock, I managed to order one on the phone last week which arrived on Wednesday. 5 days later and I am officially hooked, it’s a great little device. I’ve got Adobe Creative Suite running on it and have used PhotoShop and DreamWeaver with no problem at all (apart from the fact that the DreamWeaver editing screen is a little cramped!). It’s got a trial version of Office 2007 although unfortunately doesn’t include Outlook. I’ve just spent about an hour and a half working on my latest assignment in Word 2007 – some reviews have criticised the Acer Aspire One due to battery power but with wireless disabled it lasts a good 2.5-3hrs which is plenty for me as I’m usually near a power supply anyway. It does run down quite quickly with wireless on, you might only get 2hrs out of it then. They do however have a larger capacity battery should you need it.

The size of it still amazes me, it fits into my little rucksack no problem and is so light too. The keyboard is I believe full sized, and I’ve certainly not had any problems with it which I know some other netbooks have been criticised for. The mouse buttons are to the left and right which takes a little getting used to, but I’ve adjusted to it very quickly.

All in all, a great little device and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you are after a capable machine which is portable enough to carry around without an extra bag.

  • Ooh, very nice new toy!

    I’ve been looking at the Dell Inspiron 9 – similar sort of gadget, though the hard drive is a lot smaller (it’s solid state): http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-9

    Sub-notebooks are starting to become useful, they are now fast enough and last long enough to really work well. Makes my 12″ Samsung look like a goliath! 😉

  • I was keeping an eye on the Dell one too, looks like it will be good.

    Netbooks just make so much sense in today’s world, it’s so convenient to be able to carry around but still practical enough to work on when at home.

  • Ian

    Funnily enough, my wife and I have just recently purchased a new laptop and I was also going to post about it! We bought a Toshiba Equium A300-16c, which I have been pretty impressed with so far. Not exactly a convenient one to carry around, but it was mainly bought so that arguments related to ‘hogging’ the computer would be minimised!