Laptop Thoughts: News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More.

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All posts tagged "netbook"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Black Friday Comes Early, on The Cheap

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 07:00 PM

Most notebooks under $400 have specs so low-end that even the most basic users won’t be satisfied, but thanks to the latest cost effective AMD processors, consumers can pick up a new notebook from Best Buy or Staples that will deliver on all the standard needs of home users for just $350. Instead of the sub-par single core processors and lackluster specs, these new AMD Fusion E-350 powered notebooks are packing a dual core processor, capable graphics card, 3-4GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, built in webcam and Windows 7. These notebooks are available today from Best Buy and Staples for $350.”

For most users these new low-cost laptops are a great replacement. The new low-cost laptops are as good as they were just a few short years ago. It is amazing how fast the price is dropping on laptops. The new low-cost laptops are now in the price range of a netbook, but the hardware and performance they offer is significantly better. I find the new laptops appealing in that they are now very affordable and can handle probably most of my computing needs. In addition, with rapid development of technology improvements does it make sense to invest in higher cost laptops? Check out the article to find out if these new low-cost laptops are for you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ed Bott's Five Reasons Why Google's New Chromebook Isn't a Windows Killer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:00 PM

"At Google's I/O conference this week, the audience erupted into cheers when they heard the news that they were getting a free notebook powered by the Chrome OS. It's too bad that the audience was filled with developers instead of the IT pros who Google is counting on to actually buy these things. Something tells me that the latter audience would have been sitting on their hands for most of the session, and they wouldn't have been swayed by that Oprah moment."

Ed Bott comes out guns-a-blazin' against Google's Chromebook - and he has some very legitimate points. If you're an enterprise, the last thing you want is a product that gets updated immediately before you have a chance to test what impact the upgrade has on the tools your employees use. The pricing is also a big question mark - $28 a month over three years is $1008. For a consumer, that makes no sense. For a depends if they can save other costs around software licensing (anti-virus, Microsoft Office), hardware replacements, and IT labour re-imaging systems that get borked. The thin-client computing dream has been around for a long time, just like the tablet dream has, but as we've seen with raging success of the iPad, when the technology reaches a certain inflection point, things can take off. Is thin-client computing at that stage now? I guess we'll see!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

HP Announces the New Mini 210 Series

Posted by Jason Dunn in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 08:00 PM

"HP has announced an update to the HP Mini 210...different curves, new punchy colors, edge-to-edge screen and a flush trackpad and buttons with specs largely unchanged, except the 6-cell battery (9.5 hours) looks better integrated and Beats Audio for better sound. You'll still get the same dual core Atom N550 (and probably N570), integrated GMA 3150 graphics and the usual specs that go along with it."

It seems like every time I blink, HP is refreshing their line of Mini netbooks, but that's not a bad thing: as a customer I appreciate them being competitive. The new 210 brings a new design to the cable - which I like - and some funky colours that include charcoal, ocean blue (pictured above), lavender frost, and ice berry. The big plus is the battery life which tops out at 10.75 hours - I think the 9.5 hour mark is for the dual-core CPU version. The only think I don't like is that HP has put Windows 7 Starter on the product, which allows them to hit a lower price point - it starts at $329 USD before any coupons or discounts - but gives the customer a less than ideal user experience. Still, for the price, this is a powerful little computer that would be perfect for a variety of uses.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another Attempt at a Low Cost Netbook

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:30 PM

"The netbook market has more or less dried up; the little things might still be useful for light computing, but they’ve been clobbered by tablets as the go-to device for quick email and web browsing. Could it be that they’re just not cheap enough? Asus might be looking to fix that."

A netbook for $200? If that concept sounds familiar, that is probably because the initial targeted price for the infamous eee PC was supposed to be $200. It looks like several years later, Asus is making another attempt. The truth of the matter is that while the initial launch of the netbook had prices a little higher than expected, you can often find netbooks at the $200 price point these days. They may not be overly powerful, but I wonder if this Chrome netbook will be any different. I do not imagine that it will be any different, and with the interest in tablets over netbooks these days, it will find limited sales. Anyone else think this might be a bit of "too little, too late"?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Toshiba NB505 Netbook: Features and Compromises

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:30 PM

"Although more and more consumers are flocking to tablets as their secondary computing device of choice, netbooks still have some advantages. In the case of the Toshiba mini NB505, the biggest edge is its low price. For $299, Toshiba's low-cost alternative to its dual-core, aluminum-clad NB305 features plenty of battery life and a stylish EasyGrip finish that protects your investment. Not bad for a Windows 7 machine that costs $200 less than the cheapest iPad."

Despite the trend toward tablets, a few manufacturers are still producing new generations of netbooks, Toshiba amongst them. A lower cost, single core system, starting at $299, it offers Toshiba quality, a decent but plasticky keyboard, long battery life (over seven hours), and, costs $200 less than the cheapest iPad. At 2.6-pounds, it offers a quality LCD, but (only) 1024x600 resolution, stays cool on the lap, and has plenty of ports available. Performance is only adequate, as are graphics, but again, this is a $299 netbook. Laptop's overall opinion: for the price, the NB505 delivers style and substance. The NB505 is currently available on Amazon for $298.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Laptop and Netbook Battery Usage: The Breakdown

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 08:00 AM

For the life of me, I can't find the article that I pulled this graphic from! I seem to recall it was on a Microsoft blog, but every search I use fails to find it. Regardless, it's legitimate and quite enlightening I think. It demonstrates the reality of battery/power usage on current laptops/netbooks, and busts the myths that some people still cling to, such as:

  • "If I switch from a hard drive to an SSD, I'll get better battery life!". Nope, not really - modern hard drives are ultra-power efficient and assuming your system has sufficient RAM, switching to an SSD won't do much for your battery life.
  • "Turning off Wifi and Bluetooth will get me better battery life" Perhaps, but only slightly - at only 4% of power consumption, networking technologies being turned on or off won't make a big dent in power consumption.

The biggest thing that will allow you to eek out maximum battery life on your laptop? Turning down the screen brightness. Nothing else you can do will make as big of a difference as that one change. The good news is that as we see more integration of chipset functions and GPU functions into the CPU, the overall chipset and GPU chips will use less power, and ultimately give us better battery life. That's why the new AMD Fusion APUs (CPU + GPU) and Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU + GPU chips are so interesting...they will bring about a level of chip-level power savings that we haven't seen thus far.

I think 2011 is going to be a great year for laptops and netbook!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Detailed Look at Google's Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 05:00 PM

"Last night FedEx dropped off Google's first Chrome OS notebook. The Cr-48 isn't going to be sold to consumers, but the story here is software, not hardware. Manufacturers like Acer will likely mix things up in 2011, but for now we have a pretty straight forward device in terms of hardware and software. This is the first part of a multi-part Cr-48 review series."

My friend Xavier did a great job tackling every part of the Cr-48 - the hardware, the software, the overall experience, and some of the challenges that Google has to overcome with selling a product like this. We'll see if the hardware designs by Google's OEM partners are sexy enough to go up against the Windows netbooks on the market - but the biggest hurdle is the whole "cloud" aspect. I know we're moving in that direction, but is the market ready for a device like this? Would you buy one if it was netbook-priced?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

ASUS 1015 PEM: One of the Best Netbooks of 2010 (?)

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:00 PM

"The ASUS Eee PC 1015PEM rises to the top as one of the best Netbooks on the market. Its got a sleek and slim profile that is inline with the Seashell lineup of Eee PCs. The attention to detail in design makes it rise to the top like cream, this is the netbook that Peter here at Netbook News is planning on buying and I am picking up the ASUS 1015PN which has a few tweaks including USB 3.0 & Nvidia Ion."

One of ASUS' Seashell netbooks, the 1015 PEM has gotten a good but somewhat inconsistent review, but to me it seems pretty ordinary. With one of the touted features being a matte finish 1024x600 screen, and speakers sounding 'only a tinge tinny,' the system does sport a dual-core Intel Atom N550 running at 1.5GHz. Performance is above average for the class of netbook. With an 8+ hour battery, this should be a good travel system. Anyone still buying a netbook with 1024x600 resolution?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jolicloud Helps You Get Your Jolibook

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:00 PM

"The Jolicloud Jolibook. Oh yes, it's sounded like a made-up device ever since the pictures of it started to leak out, but the netbook centered around the Jolicloud Linux operating system is indeed a real product. So real that we've been using the Atom N550-powered system over the past few days. Sure, we've gotten looks in public because its cartoon-covered lid, but the £279 ($443) machine isn't meant for "grown-ups" -- it's intended for a younger set, or those between the ages of 15 and 25."

There seems to be two main things to consider about the Jolicloud Jolibook; the hardware and the software. On the hardware side of things, the Jolibook seems to be very pedestrian. The only remarkable aspect of the netbook is the lid, which if you decide to be a must have, I am sure you can find a skin protector that has a similar theme. The only real selling point of the Jolibook is the OS which is free to download and install on any other laptop. I am reminded of the model that Apple uses, where Jolicloud is responsible for the entire product, but the Jolibook seems to lack the polish that Apple is famous for. While I think it is certainly a decent attempt, the hardware is going to need more finesse than a questionably trendy cover to stand out. Has the Jolibook actually caught your eye? What makes it a must buy for you?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking for Black Friday Laptop Deals?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts Events" @ 07:11 PM

"Black Friday is one of the best times to buy a laptop or netbook and Black Friday 2010 is no different. We've rounded up over 100 Black Friday laptop deals that are available at close to 20 retailers including Amazon, MacMall, Best Buy, Dell , Office Max, Office Depot, Walmart and others."

Looking for the best Black Friday deals on a new laptop or netbook? Our friends over at have put together a list of over 100 of the best deals on laptops and netbooks. Check it out!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dell's Convertible Inspiron Duo Starts at $549

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:00 AM

"That's right, just as we had heard, Dell is finally putting an end to the Inspiron Duo's mysterious marketing videos and officially spinning its screen for the world to see! You won't be able to hit the order button on the totally unique 10.1-inch tablet / netbook hybrid today, but according to Dell, it should go up for pre-order sometime soon and start shipping out the first week of December. As for pricing, the base model will start at $549 (£449), and will pack a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, 2GB of RAM, a Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator, 250GB of storage, and Windows 7 Home Premium."

Engadget has the scoop on the Dell Inspiron Duo, and I have to say, I'm impressed with what you get for $549: a dual core Atom, 2 GB of RAM, a Broadcomm Crystal HD chip, 250 GB of storage, and of course that slick screen that flips around. Not a bad price at all! I'm especially impressed with the fact that Dell is using Windows 7 Home Premium and 2 GB of RAM. This will make it more usable than your average netbook with 1 GB of RAM and Windows 7 Starter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

ASUS Eee PC 1215T Official Unboxing

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:00 PM

"We unboxed the Eee PC 1215T, the first AMD-Powered 12-inch nebook from ASUS and the first to feature the AMD Athlon II Neo K125 1.70GHz processor and ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphic card. This LED-backlit netbook has HDMI-out, is good for up to 6 hours of battery life and weighs just 3.21 lbs."

It's a bit odd to see big companies doing their own unboxings - it's not like we're going to see an unbiased opinion - but if you've got your eye on the new Asus 1215T (I seriously can't keep track of their model numbers), you'll want to watch this video.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Official Dell Inspiron Duo Sneak-Peek Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 09:21 AM

It's definitely an eye-catching, unique design in a field of otherwise nearly-identical netbooks - the question is, what kind of a price premium will Dell ask for this? If it's a small one (say, $50 to $75), I think it will work. If Dell charges $100+ for this, it will be a harder sell...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Attack of the 10 inch Netbooks!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM,2751.html

"Mobile systems have long been on our to-do-list. These days, nearly everyone has a notebook. However, picking the right notebook isn't like choosing a CPU, graphic card, or memory kit, where you can just simply swap out one piece for better performance. While there are those rare few who upgrade, the options are still limited (hard drive and memory). For the braver few, a mobile processor might be on the menu."

According to the media, there may not be many of you left who want in on the netbook fad, but Tom's Hardware has put up a good review of a whole collection of current generation 10" notebooks. 10 inches seems to be the sweet spot for these mobile warriors with just enough screen real estate to get some light browsing done, but not too big or expensive to creep into notebook territory. The newest batch seems capable of some decent video playback, you still should not expect a seamless HD watching experience. The biggest problem may be that anyone who wants a netbook may already have one, and while the new models are shiny, they fail to compell customers to think that their old mobile companion is worth letting go.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Laptop Touchpads: Why Do They Often Suck so Much?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:00 AM

"When you think about how much laptops have evolved over the past couple of years, it's staggering. You can now get screaming-fast quad-core power inside a machine that weighs less than 4 pounds. Many notebooks can switch between integrated and discrete graphics on the fly. You'll even find some models with 3D displays or tech that lets you stream video wirelessly to your HDTV. Yet even with all of these advancements, notebooks have taken serious steps back in some ways. The "evolution" of the touchpad seems to have moved from a utilitarian pointing device to a mere decoration."

Mark Spoonauer over at Laptop Magazine has a point: touchpads are still a real hit or miss affair on laptops. I reviewed the dm3 just like Spoonauer did, and both of us had the same conclusion: how could HP release something so shockingly awful? What were the designers thinking, and more so, how did such an obviously awful implementation make it into a shipping product? I've seen some truly awful touchpads, but I've also seen some really great ones. I don't think it's a matter of personal opinion: a touchpad should be responsive, easy to use, not interfere with you when you're typing (even if you brush the touchpad surface), and have buttons that are easily clickable.

I part ways with Spoonauer when it comes to his praising of pointing sticks - I've always found them to be more of a hassle than anything else. Where do you stand on touchpad versus pointing stick? And what's the worse, or best, touchpad you've had on a laptop? I thought that the touchpad on my Dell XPS M1330 was perfect - I had zero complaints with it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dell's New Mini 1018 Netbook: A Step Backward?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Dell Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:41 PM

"Looking for a great netbook for surfing the net and staying connected when on-the-go? Look no further than the new Inspiron Mini 1018. Designed with everyday netbook computing in mind, the Mini 1018 offers long battery life, processing power ideal for web browsing, social networking, and standard definition entertainment - all in a very compact, portable (and affordable!) package. Launching today in Europe (and rolling out in other regions throughout the Fall), the new Mini 1018 is the latest addition to the Mini family - and the perfect addition to yours. Whether used to entertain the kids on long drives, do the weekly online grocery shop, or speak to family members across the miles, the Mini 1018 offers the netbook must-haves you need to get it done."

The Dell Mini 1018 is an interesting product - Dell seems to have stripped out more than a few things to, presumably, target a lower price point. My hunch is that the Dell Mini 1012 (also known as the "New Dell Mini 10") will get a refresh later this year. What do you get with the 1018? The CPU is an Intel N455 single core Atom, RAM is limited to 1 GB, screen resolution is limited to 1024 x 600, there's no option for a Broadcomm video accelerator, and the hard drive is either 160 GB or 250 GB. It comes in black - and only black - and features the same integrated six-cell battery as the Mini 1012, which should give you six hours of use in almost every circumstance. What's slightly baffling is that the Mini 1018 starts at 279 British pounds (it's launching in the UK right now, and North America later this year)...but the Mini 1012 also starts at 279 pounds - but the 1012 can be upgrade with colours, the high-res 1366 x 768 screen, etc. So why would someone buy the Dell Mini 1018? I have no idea.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dual-boot Windows 7 / Android AOD255 Netbook from Acer

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Acer Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:00 PM

"Acer's latest crack at combining Google's Android mobile software and Microsoft's Windows XP OS in the same netbook was unveiled at a computer show in Taipei on Thursday."

Details are a bit sketchy at this point, but Acer has unveiled the AOD255 netbook in Taipei, with their own configuration management software (Acer Configuration Manager for Android) allowing a quick boot into Android, or a 'regular' boot into Windows XP. Interesting that Linux QuickBoot systems are being started to be replaced by Android.

The device sports an Intel Atom N450, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 10.1-inch screen, a 160GB hard disk, and a 3-cell battery (a 6-cell upgraded battery will set you back $95). Basic price is expected to be around $375 and availability is yet to be determined.

Review of the HP Mini 5102 "Business Netbook"

Posted by Michael Knutson in "HP Laptops & Netbooks" @ 02:00 PM

"It's business time. Is "business netbook" a misnomer? Aren't business notebooks supposed to be both portable and powerful, while emitting a confident and businesslike aura? Can a netbook ever be enough for a business user? HP is one of the few companies out there betting that a netbook can be appealing to a business audience."

Finally a 10.1-inch "business" netbook that supports higher (1366x768) resolution at only a $25 premium, adds Broadcom Crystal video acceleration for $45 more, 2GB RAM for an additional $25 (also requires an upgrade beyond Windows 7 Starter), and an extended 6-cell battery for $25. The ability to customize is a huge plus, and should resonate well with business users, especially the 8-hour battery life (with the extended battery). Base price is scheduled to be around $400, and even with these options added, the price remains reasonable for a 3.5-pound business netbook. Hopefully the 5102 will be on HP's web site for purchase soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Toshiba's New Mini NB250 Netbook

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Toshiba Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:13 PM

"Toshiba has recently presented a new netbook which we were able to do a hands on with at their 25th anniversary press conference here in Taipei. The Mini NB250 which is already available for purchase online with a starting price of $290. In the inside of the Toshiba Mini NB250 netbook you can find an Atom N455 processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM memory, a graphics card powered by a GMA 3150, and a hard-drive that has 250GB of storage capacity. The screen size with LED backlight measures 10.1-inches and provides a resolution of 1024×600 pixels, and the usual extras include WiFi, a multi-touch trackpad, a few USB ports, and a memory card reader. There are two models that differ on the battery, while a 3-cell battery can last 4 hours, a 6-cell battery can go up to 8 hours."

Boy, the netbook market is sure boring now, isn't it? I'm generally bullish on netbooks in general - I don't buy the ridiculous "the netbook is dead" stories being bounced around the blogosphere lately - but I can't argue that netbooks are at all exciting lately. Huge numbers of people have bought netbooks in the past few years, and they're not going to upgrade them until something more exciting comes along - that's the main reason why sales are slowing down.

We've seen the CPUs inch forward slightly, but ATI or NVIDIA based GPUs are far and few between...I imagine this due to cost factors. So you end up the majority of netbooks sticking with the craptastic integrated Intel GPUs, capped at 1 GB of RAM, and using mechanical hard drives because SSDs are too expensive. Battery life is one of the few differentiating features, but for many users, four to five hours is enough. Design materials tend to be ho-hum as well, again due to cost. So the netbook is in a hard place. What's the last netbook that you got excited about?

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Thick and Thin: ASUS Netbooks EeePC 1015PE and 1018P

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Laptops & Netbooks" @ 11:30 PM

"You'd think after running into ASUS's next generation Eee PC 1018P and 1015PE over five months ago at CeBIT, our excitement may have waned for the stylish netbooks. Oh, but it's actually the opposite, and when the brand new netbooks arrived last week, we grabbed the X-Acto knife (safely, of course) and eagerly unboxed them to see if the aluminum clad little laptops were as svelte as we'd remembered them."

ASUS has been very successful with their netbooks, and this duo will probably continue the trend. Pretty standard components for this class of computer, some slight differences, and the two models went back and forth in the 'which model is better' tests. It seems to me that the whole netbook genre is getting a bit stale, and, frankly, ASUS has (and has had) so many of them that it's difficult to keep track of them all. These two add aluminum-cladding, slide covers over the videocam, high quality fit and finish, attractive design, but otherwise don't offer much to set them apart from other netbooks in the $350 price range.

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