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Need some netbook advice


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#1 keyboardNinja

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:55 PM

Okay, I'm getting a netbook and here's why:

I bought a new Dell Inspiron 1545 this summer and I love it. I use it everyday. It's great. Fast processor...plenty of hard drive space...good battery life. The only problem is that it's heavy. I like to carry it around campus all the time to check email, surf the net between classes, type the occasional paper, etc... But it's getting to the point that it's just too heavy to carry all the time. I still plan to use it for my everyday computing at home, but I need a netbook to carry around all the time. Yes, I know all the limitations of them: no optical drive, small screen, smaller keyboard, slower processor...none of that bothers me. So please, don't try to talk me out of getting one. I'm going to get one. It's just a matter of which one. (don't mean to sound pushy, just being frank about it)

I've been looking at netbooks for a few months now, and I can't decide which one I should get.

I was fully intending on getting the Asus Eee PC 901 and replacing the SSD with a faster, larger one. I came very close to winning several bids on eBay for this model. But I later found out that the right Shift key is in a really bad spot. Looking around at the other Eee PC models revealed the 1000 model with a larger screen and SSD, but the same Shift key problem.

I was hard set on getting one with an SSD, but glancing through the rest of the list, there are others that have regular hdd's with super battery life.

The 1005HA and the 1000HE are the ones that stand out. Both have great battery life, but the 1000HE is heavier and bulkier. I went to BestBuy today and used the 1005HA. It's pretty light. The keyboard was okay, but the touchpad was a major turn-off. The dimpled touchpad combined with a rocker-style, single mouse button will keep me away from this one.

I couldn't pick one I liked, so I started looking at other brands. Nothing interesting revealed itself there.

Here are my selling points:

dedicated left and right mouse buttons with good sized touchpad
correctly placed right shift key
preferably 92% sized keyboard (I haven't tried typing on a 8.9" netbook yet with the smaller keyboard, so I don't know)
6-cell battery is a must/long battery life (preferably 7+ hours)
I'd like to have a webcam, but I could overlook it not having one if I found a netbook with all the other things I'm looking for.
color: anything but black! (my Dell has a black body with a blue lid, I want something different)
less than 3 pounds (a must!!)
operating system is irrelevant as I will just wipe it and put my Windows 7 Pro on it
1GB RAM (seems to be the standard)

I was zoning in so hard on the SSD models at first that I haven't been able to look at all my options. And after looking around, I can't find anything that suits me. If Asus would put the 1000HE touchpad and keyboard in the body of a 1005HA, I would buy it in a heartbeat (best of both worlds). I'm wondering if you can swap out the stock keyboard that comes in them (any 10 inch model), and replace it with a replacement keyboard designed for a model with a better keyboard (i.e. replacing the keyboard in the 1000 (screwy shift key) with a replacement made for the 1000HE, giving a SSD netbook with the correctly-placed right shift key).

Basically what I need is options to look at. A small picture (front open view with good look at keyboard) with a list of basic specs including the following would be great:

screen size
battery size and life
processor (most are the same)
hard drive
color
weight

I can do my own price-hunting, but if you find a bargain, I want to know about it. I just need some models to look at.

Sorry if I sound picky. I just know what I want, and can't find it.

Can you help me?

If there was a store with all netbook models that exist lined up in a row, that would be great. I would be able to handle each one, type, mouse-around, etc...

But unfortunately, BestBuy is limited to about a dozen models (mostly Toshiba, which I will not buy). All of their Asus netbooks are the same model (1005HA). Walmart only has 3: Dell Mini 10, HP Mini, Acer Aspire One yada yada...

Any recommendations?

Thanks. :blink:

Edited by keyboardNinja, 06 January 2010 - 12:00 AM.

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#2 flex-it services

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:29 AM

I use the Eee PC 900A.
Mine is white, but I have pink Leather cover for it (Looks like a PDA cover) that i got off ebay for $12. I got mine from a Trade off a hardware website. Traded an older "newer" laptop for it. Somoene didn't like how small it was.

I love it! Its great while being passenger in the car (i carpool too and from work) to schedule things out. I use a SIM card and put applications/files on it. I, also, use an Air card with it.

I always use the left shift key, even on normal keyboards, so the whole shift key thing doesn't bother me. I could see it, possibly, bothering other people. But it's nice. It fits in my purse. The cord is nice and long! its not heavy. My bosses uses his, and hooks up mouse, keyboard and external monitor to it.

People who see me using it always want to look at it.

Some great features :blink: I've heard the dell one is nice too. but i guess i just liked the look of the Asus. :wacko:

best wishes! I'm curious which one you end up getting!
~~~
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#3 keyboardNinja

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:56 AM

Well, if the touchpad on the Dell wasn't so crappy (the biggest turnoff), and the battery life was better, I would probably get it (I'm used to using Dells anyway).

Yeah, the new Eee PC 1005PE-P, is mostly the same as the 1005HA, but Intel's new Pine Trail motherboard/processor/graphics card combo makes it more efficient give it over 10 hours of battery life! It even has the "island-style, chiclet" keyboard. But the touchpad buttons are too difficult to use (and the Braille-like dots make fine mouse work difficult, which is needed on such a small screen). I need dedicated left and right buttons! The buttons on the Dell are even worse. You have to go to the very corner of the touchpad (they aren't separate), and click this one tiny spot that doesn't even look like a button. :wacko:

I love the look of the new Asus netbooks (the way the lid drops down behind it when open is pretty snazzy :) ), but the new touchpad keeps me from getting one.

I'm hoping CES 2010 (starting tomorrow) will reveal some better netbooks in the lineup. Maybe HP will move the buttons to the bottom of the touchpad where they should be. Or maybe Dell will use separate, dedicated mouse buttons and throw in that new Intel chip with a better battery. Then they might hold my interest...

I was hoping to have one before I head back to school next week, but it looks like I'll have to wait. :)

Thanks for your comments and help, flex-it services. :)

Anymore advice like this would be greatly appreciated, folks! :blink:
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#4 CaveDweller2

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:16 PM

My niece got a Eee Pc 1005HA for Xmas. She got a virus, a NASTY one. Nothing will run on it. Can't click Start, can't get into safe mode and even the recovery partition is corrupt. I have been messing with it for the past 2 days.

I have tried using a USB thumb drive, it boots just fine from USB but didn't help getting the DVD to run.

Tried installing over a network, once I got my PC setup correctly following this blog. For some reason the IP addressing was messed up, I couldn't find my X-over cable lol. But it did boot with PXE. And I could mess with it, still didn't help with the DVD.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get the supplied DVD to work is to boot from it. Now this isn't a big deal except I don't have an external USB DVD drive.

But I spent hours using the thing, granted not surfing the web but typing things in DOS lol. And I have to say, if I had the $$ I'd buy one. For such a small foot print its fast and has a large hard drive. Runs XP perfectly. I'd probably dual boot Ubuntu

I mention my troubles just so you know ahead of time. If you get one my advice would be get your hands on an external USB DVD drive. Just in case something happens. You could be back up and running in no time. =)

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

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#5 keyboardNinja

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:41 AM

Thanks for the heads up. :)

You know, using another computer, you can copy the contents of the DVD to a partition on the flash drive, then set that partition as active. When you try to boot off it, the "active" part says: "LOOK HERE!" and the computer will boot off of it as if it were the DVD. Real easy. :blink:

I currently don't have a flash drive big enough for this purpose, but I have one waiting for me when I head back to college this weekend. :) I did it with my external hard drive, though. It loads the system files WAY faster than any install disk ever would. Makes it much easier to install Windows. :)

Could you get used to the goofy touchpad? That was what I couldn't get over. The battery life is awesome, and the design is sleek. But that touchpad is keeping me away from it. I'd love the new 1005PE-P (12 hour battery life!) if it had the touchpad of the older models (dedicated buttons). I think I'll wait 'til after CES is over and a few more reviews come out on laptopmag.com, cnet reviews, and notebookreview.com of some other new models. :)

Keep the advice and reviews coming! :wacko:
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#6 CaveDweller2

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 04:34 PM

The touch pad is a little weird compared to other laptops but its easy to get used to. Besides you could just get a tiny mouse hehe. My brother has one and it works great but they are REALLY small.

Hope this helps thumbup.gif

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#7 keyboardNinja

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 06:31 PM

The dimples don't bother me as much as the buttons do. But I guess I could get used to it if I can find the new 1005PE at a good price (it has the chiclet keyboard of the 1000HE, with the goofy touchpad of the 1005HA). But the battery life is sooo long, it's really tempting.

I'll keep looking, but if I can't find anything better, that's probably what I'll get (if it doesn't cost too much).

Any other suggestions are still welcome. :blink:
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#8 bestof

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 08:55 PM

I say go for Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 netbook, it also has very longggg life time, and only $270 bucks!

#9 keyboardNinja

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 11:20 PM

Looks nice. Good touchpad, cool design....but the battery is really ugly and the keyboard is apparently smaller than most netbooks (but has correctly placed keys).

I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for contributing. :blink:

Looking around at notebookreview.com is somewhat helpful. The HP Mini 311 has correctly placed touchpad keys unlike the other HP's, but other than that, it isn't really special.

http://www.netbookreviews.com might reveal a thing or two. :wacko:
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#10 imwright1985

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 07:50 AM

I have an old aspire one, SSD is way too small on it 8gb so you gotta rely on externals like crazy and the mouse buttons are kinda funky, other than that it isnt a bad computer. I just dont like the fact another ssd will be kinda pricey since i would like to get it around 32gb. Once i get around to formating it Im putting linux on and running it that way to save HD space

#11 keyboardNinja

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 12:06 PM

Yeah, you can't do much with those tiny SSD's. If I got one with an SSD, I was going to spend $100 on a 32GB SuperTalent SSD, which not only has more space, but also is WAY faster than the stock SSD's they put in there.

I don't like the Acers at all. I tried typing on the keyboard and I was always hitting the = button when I meant to hit the Backspace button. Also, the way the screen hinge looks bothers me.

I know, I know, I'm really picky. :blink: :wacko:

Like I said, I know what I want, I just can't find it yet. :)
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#12 ReviverSoft

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:36 PM

Hey,

Take a look at Samsung netbooks too.
Offers real good value!
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#13 keyboardNinja

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:52 PM

Hmmm...this is the best looking keyboard I've seen in a netbook on this N310-13G! :wacko:

Posted Image

It's hard to see the touchpad, but it looks like a single, rocker button, though. :blink:

If I can get my hands on one and try it first, it might be a contender.

Thanks!
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#14 keyboardNinja

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 11:53 PM

Well, after reading a lot of reviews and seeing some better pictures, this might just be the one!

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-N310-13GB-10...k/dp/B002DW99O6

I'd love to try it out first, but the reviews are so good and I like it so much, I'm not sure it's necessary!

And TigerDirect.com has it for $300!!! :wacko:

I might have found just what I was looking for. :blink:

Thanks for all your help, guys. :)
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#15 imwright1985

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 12:03 AM

yeah i forgot about the samsungs, i sold one NIB because i had my aspire one all setup with remote to my desktop and the school server so i had access to everything i needed other than having to lug a 3 button mouse for running pro e for some drafting work. You could also do the Zif to compact flash swap for more space, replacing the SSD with compact flash internally




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