Netbook expectations

Making decision to buy an netbook usually takes less time than buying one. Portable, cheap, SSD hard drive, what’s not to like? Well you should consider a few things. Manage your expectations before you run out and buy one.

Netbook does not equal laptop. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they are getting a complete laptop in a tiny package. Wrong. Netbooks have limitations. For one the processor is slower than what you would get in a regular 15″/17″ laptop. Some applications are just not going to run smoothly on that 1.6Ghz Atom processor.

Storage capacity. 8GB/16GB/32GB SSD is not a whole lot of room to keep all of your stuff. Music, photos, programs, all taking up precious space on that tiny drive. You should only install the essential programs. Keeping a selection of music and photos on a USB/SD card. Yes, a selection, that does not mean your entire library. That is what your iPod is for.

Keyboard. It’s a tiny computer, and hence the keyboard may not be to your liking. It really does take some getting used to. If you plan on typing for 4 hours straight, then maybe you should consider the 10″ netbook or even a 12″ laptop. Big hands and this typing surface do not go together.

Touchpad. It is equally as tiny and takes getting used to. If you primarily navigate using the mouse you are not going to like the amount of concentration required to move the little pointer thingy. You gotta learn keyboard shortcuts, ALT, TAB, FN, Windows key are mashed quite often.

The screen. Again some people are not going to like the tiny screen. Some people might find it hard on the eyes. It’s definitely not designed to be stared at for hours on end.

Far too many people get buyers remorse soon after picking up a netbook. By the same token these the are same buyers who don’t research what they are buying. You just aren’t going to get a fully functional laptop at a $300 price point. Obviously there are going to be some compromises. Just make sure you can live with them.

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