Netbooks, mini-notebooks, mini laptops, small laptops, nettops. Why, at one point, Microsoft has gone so far as to call them ULCPC’s (ultra low cost personal computers). Whatever you call it, you can’t deny that 2008 was the year for the emergence of the small but mighty Netbook.
Typically these are laptops with screens less than 13 inches and weigh less than 4 pounds. Their primary function is web surfing and email. They have less power than full size laptops, but hey – who needs to work on that PowerPoint presentation or churn through a resource intensive program when your uploading your photos to Flickr, Tweeting, surfing FaceBook, updating the webpage and emailing friends?
Starting around $399USD, they are the perfect accompaniment for our journey. Christine and I will both have one, and thankfully – unlike our backpacks – they won’t be a matching pair.
You never want to buy electronics too early. An item that is cutting edge today becomes dated technology in 6 months and netbooks are no exception to that rule. We’ve waited as long as possible and now we’re on the hunt for our impending travel laptops – new netbooks! We’re going to buy them now so that we can get them configured and become comfortable with them.
There are a lot of things to think about when getting a laptop to take travelling. The biggest we’ve encountered is balancing size vs. performance/speed. Yes it’s true . . . size does matter. Typically, the smaller something is, the less powerful it becomes. Netbooks are no exception. Smaller laptops will have less powerful processors, smaller hard drives spinning at lower speeds and less RAM. But that is fine with us since these new netbooks will have more RAM and larger harddrives than our 8 year old DELL desktop computer @ home! These will be small enough to fit into our backpacks and will travel well. They will also be inexpensive enough that we can each get one, and if it gets stolen or breaks – though that will suck – it won’t be the end of the world.
Christine has decided on a Lenovo S10 and I am still looking, but I’m leaning towards a Toshiba S5914. My netbook will have a CD/DVD RW so we can burn discs and watch movies on the plane and in during rainy days in the hostel. Both our netbooks will have internal webcams so not only will be able email or keep connected with this webpage; we’ll be able to make internet phone calls with everyone thru Skype.