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Tech: Netbook recommendations please!

Bonnie Shaljean 14 Jun 12 - 08:48 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Jun 12 - 09:06 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Jun 12 - 09:10 AM
artbrooks 14 Jun 12 - 09:51 AM
EBarnacle 14 Jun 12 - 10:09 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Jun 12 - 05:34 PM
EBarnacle 14 Jun 12 - 06:06 PM
artbrooks 14 Jun 12 - 06:39 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Jul 12 - 03:04 AM
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Subject: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 08:48 AM

I want to get a small computer - i.e. a netbook - mainly to use as a portable word processor. I'm looking for one running Windows 7 because it has a usable "starter" version of Word (annoyingly clunky but it's free) in its pared-down onboard Office suite.

My particular interests are (1) long battery life and (2) a glare-free screen, with as good a resolution as possible. I'm not too worried about internet browsing or email because I won't be using it for those. It's for portable typing. Any suggestions?

I like the look & spec of the Samsung NC110 but have noted the criticisms and would be glad to have some other options to consider; and also - crucially - to know if anybody already owns an NC110 & how they like it. We already have a little Samsung which is brilliant but (a) it runs XP and has no Word and (b) it's Michael's (ever try to take a dish of food away from a dog while he's eating it?)

This is for the purpose of writing on Word docs, and I already have a MacBook and a big Windows 7 puter, so I am aware of the limitations of netbooks, but those specifically are what I'm seeking advice on. And I do know about Open Office & Libre Office, but need to import Word files into another rather complicated Apple-compatible programme… long story…

I also own an iPad2, which I love, but have vetoed the idea of typing onto it, either with its own inbuilt keypad or the external one you can buy. My iPad has an awful lot of other stuff on it that I'd be concerned about losing if something bad happened, and they're expensive to replace. I want something small & light & relatively cheap to use as a "portable typewriter" for Word, which if it gets dropped or damaged won't be a major disaster.

I need to do this now, because I understand that netbooks won't take the new Windows 8 and will probably therefore become totally (instead of only partially) obsolete. All help gratefully considered - thanks!

Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 09:06 AM

WOOOPS - Sorry, I mean the Samsung N110, not the NC!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 09:10 AM

No... scrub that... not now sure which of those I was looking at yesterday. As you can see, I'm in need of help! (New brain wouldn't hurt either)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 09:51 AM

I have a Toshiba NB 305-N410BN. It's about 2 years old now, so I expect there's a newer version. It has a full-sized keyboard (no number pad) with well-spaced 'chicklet' keys, so it is easy to type on. I added memory to it (a cheap and easy process), so it is running full Windows 7 Home Premium and full MS Office 2007 (I had 3-PC versions of both already).

You said this wasn't an issue for you, but we do use it for email and web browsing while traveling, and it does these just fine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 10:09 AM

H'lo Bonnie lass. My current carry along is an HP mini. It has a full sized keyboard and with the extended battery is good for a full day of work and games. Comes with Windows 7 starter. I have found that I use my Microsoft Office 2007 interchangeably with Open Office on it.
As far as Win 8, I have several friends using it on small laptops with no problems. The nonusability is probably just a myth, just as the inability of XP machines to work as a platform for 7 was. RAM and chip speed are the primary criteria, as is a good sized hard drive.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 05:34 PM

What one manufacturer says about netbooks (for those who might not really know?):

Netbooks have a smaller screen size (less than 12-inches) and smaller keyboard size.

They are designed to be simple and can be used to perform easy tasks like e-mail, Internet browsing, light entertainment and light productivity.

Laptops can range in any screen size and can be built to do complex and graphics intensive tasks.

As netbooks do simple tasks, they are best used as a companion PC rather than a primary PC.

Netbooks use low power processors like Intel® AtomTM and Intel® CeleronTM processors, while laptops use relatively power intensive processors.

Due to use of lower power, netbooks have very long battery life and can usually last a long time with a single charge compared to laptops.
Because netbooks are small and lightweight, they can be carried in a regular bag and may not need a specialized case for it.

Netbooks also generally come with integrated graphics capability, thus limiting the ability to intensive graphics and related tasks.

Due to the nature of companion PCs, netbooks typically have lower RAM (Random Access Memory) and lower HDD (Hard Drive) capacity as compared to laptops.

Netbooks are not built with internal CD/DVD drives as content used are mostly downloaded or stored in the hard disk drives. However, one can use an external CD/DVD drive and connect to the netbook using the USB port.


Incidental: the Toshiba NB 305-N410BN is apparently no longer made, but there is a recommended newer model that's very similar.

Incidental: Windows 8 has NOT BEEN RELEASED in a final version, although there are "mature beta" versions available. Microsoft advertises a lot of "Win8 features" that may not be available in all versions, and some beta features may not be included in any final release version.

OPINIONATIONS:

Full size keyboard and netbook are contradictory, since the whole netbook is smaller than a "full size" keyboard. Most netbooks have "all the keys" necessary for common tasks, but they can't be quite as large as on a full size keyboard. Some require somewhat "strange" key combinations for functions that are a single key on bigger machines, a few of of which are fairly standard between different brands but a few may be "quirky."

I haven't seen a netbook on which any significant "upgrades" can be made after purchase, although it's difficult even to find a comment about the possibility in the manufacturers' information (i.e. the advertising). The situation is only marginally better for larger laptops, and any graphics upgrade on most laptops will void your warranty. Even increasing RAM is generally not possible on most netbooks, and the "maximum supported RAM" to which even desktop machines may be upgraded can be "somewhat limiting" for what I consider common office tasks. This is no problem if you buy a device that does everything you need, but the idea of "fixing it later" won't work.

"We" (actually Lin) bought a Dell netbook some time ago, and it's a pretty nice little machine, for what we've done with it; but since it was purchased specifically to run her sewing machine I haven't had much of a chance to experiment with it enough to see what the performance limits might be.

Based on the published information I can't see that it makes much difference which netbook you buy, as long as it's built by someone with at least some kind of decent reputation. I would recommend at least some "hands-on" checkout of anything that you consider, since things like keyboard action and very minor key spacing differences can make a big difference (and Lin say's it's also critical that you get something in a pretty color.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: EBarnacle
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 06:06 PM

I agree within limits with JiK.

I have very large hands and, while the keyboard is not a desktop's 108 keys, it accomodates my hands easily. If you can upgrade the RAM to 3 or 4 GB, that is certainly enough for Windows 7 or 8.

The one constant annoyance is that peripherals, such as a CD/DVD drive have to be plugged in. Printers can be run wirelessly. There are no screws to firmly attach an external monitor cable.

That said, it is a good machine within its limits.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Jun 12 - 06:39 PM

Actually, the keyboard size, as measured from the left edge of the Q key to the right edge of the P is very slightly larger on my netbook than on the keyboard I'm currently using on my desktop (a Logitech K750). Accommodations are made with the keys on the periphery - the caps lock, shift, enter and backspace keys are smaller. The distance between keys is about 1/8 inch on both. The RAM was readily upgradeable from one gig to two, which is necessary to run anything other than Windows 7 starter edition.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Netbook recommendations please!
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Jul 12 - 03:04 AM

While surely the question has been settled by now for the one who originally asked, new and authoritative opinion has appeared that might be of interest to others making a similar decision.

A UK Judge has ruled that Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple's patents on tablet design, citing in his decision that the "Apple products are cool" and the Samsung products are "so uncool" that there cannot have been an infringement. (paraphrased slightly?)

Go HERE for the news report. The report has a link to the entire (~40 pages?) judgement if anyone's that interested.

John


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