Because all experiences are valuable.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Netbook Search, or Tech-tacular Tribulation

Fun title, eh? Here is my shopping/product search dilemma for the month. I've been searching for a netbook for over a month. Probably since I saw Ike's at his house. I think it is more than just a "want," because I will be in another town at school for full 9-5 days with only a 45 minute lunch break, three days a week. First, I want to be able to keep up with my blog posts. Second, My phone does all the internet stuff and I have unlimited data, but the screen is small, it is slow, and ATT can be way spotty on their service. There is free wifi on campus, so that is a better option. Plus there may be classes it would be handy for taking notes, etc. I have neck problems from previous injuries and car accidents, and I know that carrying around my Gateway laptop, while only about 6 pounds, would only aggravate stress on my neck when you consider I have to carry a lot of heavy books and etc. Plus, my laptop is my main and only computer so I would be exposing myself to loss, theft, damage...of basically my whole life. Better to leave that one at home.

The thing is, netbooks aren't that great. Limited by their general 1G of RAM, maybe 250G hard drive, and apparently crappy and annoying Windows 7 Starter OS (stripped down and fairly useless from reviews), plus a wildly fluctuating availability of battery life and other features I was interested in, like bluetooth...my search has been disappointing.

I settled a month ago on just getting something I liked, that was basic and fairly cheap and had good general reviews. Most of the tech specs were the same as listed above. I chose the bright sunny yellow Samsung N150 from Amazon. I try to shop Amazon because I have the Amazon Visa and I get triple points. Plus I have an free Amazon Prime Student account, so I get free two day shipping on everything. I am not promoting Amazon here, though I may let this post be linked so you can see the ones I looked at.  I just really love Amazon. I saved hundreds on my textbooks and Guy's.

Well, UPS lost my order. So no netbook. Actually, Amazon kinda messed up my reorder, so I just canceled
it. It was just as well, because I decided I really did want more in a netbook. I then thought maybe the Samsung N220. Loved the Green Pointillism pattern, and the extra features. It had the faster Atom processor the 455 I think, over the 450 in others. But then I noticed it still only had one gig of RAM. So no, not that one. People started suggesting I look at ASUS. Naturally, Frank said get an iPad. No, I refuse to be indoctrinated into the Apple cult. At least for now. The ASUS all look really good for the features, and readily available. ASUS made the first ever netbook on the market. I decided finally on the new version 1015PED-PU17.  They have a lot of versions. Impt. designation is the 1015 and PED part...that tells which one. Almost bought it...really close to clicking buy...but all the customer reviews on the web say one big drawback...that ASUS has virtually zero customer service. The machine gets great reviews, but if you have a problem...too bad. Well, that seems like a no go for me as well. The ASUS was almost 400 dollars, and I might need customer support.

Through my university, I can get decent HP discounts. So I went to their direct website and designed my own with everything I wanted and even a hugely discounted wireless printer, free shipping, etc. Yeah..right...total$$$? 800 dollars. As much as a decent new laptop. Sigh, never mind. OH, not to mention that my current HP wireless 4580 all in one printer has been a ticky, half-functioning nightmare since I unboxed it, and my customer service experience with them was awful.  Reid's laptop is an HP, and while he loves it, it has a super poor internal fan design and constantly overheats and shuts down. So, once again, I struck out.

I wasn't jazzed my the Gateway netbooks on Amazon, like the LT2318u, but I wandered over to the actual Gateway site today to see if they had a custom order system. They do not, but I discovered that they do make an 11.1" net book in one color only (velvet blue, pretty), the LT3201u, that had full Windows 7 home premium (yes! oh, please Unix people do not call me. Bill Gates has me brainwashed...try to forgive me.), 2G of Ram, I think a 350G hard drive (that's wrong... they go 250 and then 3? what), a dual core processor instead of the Atom, and a 1.3mp internal webcam vs. the usual .3 in netbooks. Plus a few other cool things. I think it even had bluetooth. I was really excited. Yes, it was 489.00, but it was close to perfect. GUESS WHAT?? Only RadioShack sells it, and they are out of stock. Called number...backordered and actually may be discontinued. SWELL!

Which lead me back to Amazon to search for other 11.1" mini-laptops with full Windows 7, etc. Which is how I found the Toshiba Satellite T215D-S1150RD Notebook PC. It is an 11.6" screen. Available for 489.99, no tax unless you live in New York and free shipping. Which is what I'm fairly sure I will buy. It has everything I wanted except bluetooth, is vastly more powerful and useful than a netbook, is still small and light, and is a Toshiba, which gets good marks for customer support and reliability. It is more than I originally wanted to spend, but after all this, I'm glad to be getting something I can get major use out of. I just haven't clicked the buy button just yet... wish me luck!


  1. My number one problem with the ipad is actually that it has no lid, and no keys. Screens are subject to such abuse. I always keep screen protectors on my phone. I want something with a protective lid. It seems to me that typing is part of the experience of writing, for me. Doing that touchy thing on the screen isn't the same. My keyboard has worn off spots in the letters from my fingernails, because I type with them. The iphone and ipad have to be touched by a finger with heat, not a nail. So I would have to completely learn to type differently.

  2. I will anxiously await your decision and subsequent review. Although my daughter is a Mac convert since she does graphic design and she absolutely adores their products, I personally haven't made the switch. I'm also in the market for a lightweight laptop or netbook, but need the power that netbooks don't offer to run graphic programs. Anyway, I'll be tapping my fingers until you make a decision! Good luck!

  3. The lid problem can be solved with a portfolio of some sort...there are 3rd party products custom made for the iPad already out...I believe you can get leather...which will go well with your Jag. As for the nails...I don't suppose you'd consider cutting them? I have no idea...but go to the Apple store and test play with one...they are fun and incredibly lightweight. I want one, but I have to wait maybe a year or two. A good one with everything you want might be a bit pricey.

  4. Ya, that whole fingernail thing is a deal killer. Like wrinkledman said, you can solve the other stuff with the iPad and 3rd party apps (she's all about accessorizing!), and also get a screen protector, but since you have such a hard time using my iPhone (kinda cute), I'm not sure how to do anything there. And you have such...strangely acting nails anyway (they bend very easily.) As for learning to type completely differently, isn't one supposed to type with one's fingertips Anyway?

    Finally - give me a break on all the Indoctrination and Cult references with the Mac. What do you think you have been going through ALL OF YOUR LIFE WITH PC PRODUCTS, with the Microsoft "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE" murderous rampage through the world of the PC? That's kinda like being only exposed to Christianity all of your life (almost the same percentages, too - the U.S. is 92% Christian, MS controls 95% of the PC market), and believing that all other religions are Cults that one is indoctrinated into! Esp since admitting Bill Gates has you brainwashed! Now with LinuX, and OpenSource, things are completely different. THAT should be the Future...

  5. Frank, I can't type with my fingertips, because my fingernails are in the way. Everyone with fingernails types with them. It actually stimulates the nail bed and makes them grow longer anyway. I know, I know, about the Mac n Apple (sounds like a menu offering) cult stuff. I just love to rag on you acolytes, because it is so fun and so easy to get y'all riled up.

    You talk to someone about Windows or p
    being a PC, and mostly we are just like yeah, that's what I know, so that's what I use, whatever. But You MacHeads are so darn adamant and get all ranty and stuff. It's really fun to get you all going. With your cool little Apple Stores and stuff. I do find your iphone difficult. Totally counterintuitive for me. As I understand it, it was designed to be completely intuitive for most humans. Which just shows how different I am, I guess. And you haven't even pointed out how I'm supposed to say "yes!" to Apple. hahahahaha