January 5, 2009

SO, A WHILE BACK I MENTIONED THE 10″ ASUS NETBOOK, but since then I’ve gotten one and used it enough to form an opinion. My opinion is that it’s a pretty neat little gadget. It’s only a little bit bigger than the 9″ Asus, but it feels a lot bigger. The bigger screen is nice, but it’s the keyboard — which goes from cramped-but-usable to nearly full-sized — that’s the big difference. And you get a lot for the $383 that Amazon is currently asking: Windows XP, wireless, webcam with microphone, a 160 GB hard drive, an Atom processor, and 1GB of RAM. Also, it has a surprisingly high-quality feel for the price — it doesn’t feel like a cheap netbook, it feels like a small laptop. The 9″ Asus is entirely usable, but at the 10″ size a lot of the compromises seem to melt away. Battery life is good, too — I’m not sure you’ll really get the claimed 6-7 hours, but I’ve gotten 4.5 hours with some time remaining so it’s pretty good for such a lightweight machine. And did I mention it’s cheap?

UPDATE: Reader Mike Robinson likes his: “I bought one from Amazon (free shipping of course) and it is just wonderful and a nice bright screen. Runs applications adequately and the size of the keyboard really doesn’t require any compromises. I also purchased a memory upgrade to 2GB, which cost an extra $30 bucks or so. Thanks for your earlier recommendation.”

And John Frederick has an Acer Aspire: “I’m typing this on my wife’s, I mean ‘our’, new Acer with extended battery and 160 GB HD. We love it. It’s like carrying a little book around. We got over 6 hours the other night using it for web surfing and basic tasks.” Yeah, I saw one of those when I was in the Caymans and it looked cool; the guy who owned it said it was great.