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Netbook for daughter- what am I looking for ?

Last response: in Mobile Computing
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March 3, 2010 10:34:13 AM

Hi guys,
My daughter wants a net book for her birthday and as it will keep her off of the wife's laptop which means the wife isn't on my PC i thought it not a bad idea.
What I'm after are some pointers. I'm going to do plenty of research before buying but was hoping was that someone who already knows quite a bit about these beasts can narrow down my search for me.
Is there anything specifically to watch for/ be sure is included ? any chip-sets to avoid like the plague ?
or are net books just net books and any old one will do ?
She will in all probability do nothing more with it that social network sites and flash games but i would like to get her a competent machine if I'm going to bother.

Thanks in advance

Mactronix

More about : netbook daughter

March 5, 2010 1:02:21 AM

First of all, the word "beasts" is a gross overstatement. I love my netbook to death, but by today's standards its specs are a little below "average". ;) 

However, for light use like you mentioned, they are more than capable. Average specs are similar to those from what would have been a pretty good computer back in 2004. From what I understand, most of them have about the same processor clock, fsb and preset ram (1 GB, maximum of 2), 1024x600 screen resolution and even a card reader.

One thing to note is that none of them come with an inbuilt cd/dvd drive.

With that said, it's really just a matter of preference. Make sure she's able to type as the smaller keyboard poses an issue to many users. You may also want to get her a mouse if she's using it for her main computer. If you do get her a mouse, keep in mind that you're able to lock the little touchpad so she doesn't accidentally make the pointer spazz when typing.

I have an Acer Aspire One and it's great for doing homework on. Granted, I have a quad-core gaming rig in my room, but that's beside the point. Take her out and let her see what she likes.
March 5, 2010 4:54:44 AM

What are you looking for dude? Features , Price?

I've gone through an IBM Ideapad, HP Mini10, and now have the Asus T91MT Netbook/Tablet in my Sig. (Edited in better picture since the other one was box closed);



http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=KIqtSJ1aVsmVpeqS

The only drawback is that at 9" the keyboard is a bit small, and with the new updated N450 and the future faster CPUs I would prefer to have gotten the 10" model which is a little faster and a little bigger;

http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=xK9O0XZhFswxrTrn

Now that's $500 CDN, so slightly more expensive than a typical netbook, but I think you'd agree it's also got more features too. The multi-touch screen and touchpad along with the swivel tablet make it hand for things like flying (took it to Winnipeg 2 weeks ago perfect size for the seat-back trays) or for lounging around.

Now for the CPU like I said I would prefer the N450 over the Z520 I got (even though min does have better virtualization and HT support, the N450 is 64bit and faster 1.7 vs 1.3 Ghz, and better for video since the GPU and memory controller are on die and a little faster). But it's still more than enough for surfing the web although it does have a smaller than 720P screen (1024x600 as above).

I would say AVOID the N270 & N280 & Z510 as they are slower than the N450 and Z520. There is a new N490 and Z540 coming, but I think they are a few months away. IMO for flash the N450 is the only option in a netbook as it's a little bit slow on my Z520 sometimes if I have something else running. The nVidia ION solutions are a good idea, but they are a little harder to find in netbook form rather than mini-notebook form (11-13").

Get at least 2GB IMO simply to avoid chaching, Win7 is better than Vista but still needs a bit of memory and 64bit is a bit bigger footprint on memory too.

I like having the SSD 32GB (with 16GB of SandDisk Extreme III 30MB/s and 500GB WD Passport Studio), but a good size HDD is likely the better option for your daughter.

Get the 6 cell battery if it's not too expensive vesus the 3 cell, it makes it easier for someone who isn't in the habit of plugging it in all the time (I treat mine like a smart phone, and plug it in when not in use).

Look for expandablity options, and look for good software (Home premium 64 vs Home Starter as a start).

Also get the 2GB it's worth it.

Now the other thing to consider is the cheap 11-13" celeron, ION and Turion laptops which are now runnig around the $400 range, which is nearby the cheap netbooks, and really the keyboard size and CPU power are night and day, but they are heavier (I wanted ultra light as it goes to work and on the couch [usually type in the forum on it now, but currently on my work laptop {multitasking}] so those were a bit big for me). The 11-13" ones also offewe a bit better resolution sometimes and also better GPUs, like the intel X4500 vs the netbook standard GMA 3150 and 500 series (500 is better than the 3150) or the HD3200 and HD4200 both of which are better than the GMA500 in my Asus.

Really, in my opinion, you or your daughter need to get hands on and see which one is the most comfortable for her to type on.

IMO, check out the T101MT it's a nice update on mine (even an extra USB) and I love mine.
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March 5, 2010 8:39:29 AM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
PS, you might wanna try asking in the Laptop section, because there's more Netbook people there too;

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-35.html


Thanks for the replies,
@ TGGA
Just the kind of info i was after thanks a lot. I will look at some of the options you have given me and now i can narrow things down a lot and not waste time looking at things with the weaker N270 & N280 & Z510 options.
After i have checked out a few if i have any questions i will as you suggest direct them at the Laptop section.
Thanks again

Mactronix :D 
!