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Old 11-09-2008, 05:12 PM   #1
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Default Subnotebook opinions needed.

My sister (who is back home and doing pretty well, though still not out and about much) has been eyeing my Sony Vaio TXN-15 with considerably envy. Right now, she does not have a computer of her own, but alternates between her husband's machine and her mothers, both of which are monstrosities that weigh about 40 lbs.

I've decided to buy her a new subnotebook for her birthday (Nov 17) and I wonder if anybody can chime in with some thoughts or experiences on the following list of candidates:

EeePC 1000HA
Averatec N1030EA1E-1
MSI Wind U100-016US
Lenovo IdeaPad S10-1208U

All these machines have nearly identical specs. They all have a 1.6Ghz Atom, they all have 1GB of ram (except the Lenono, which can be upgraded for about $20), they all come with XP Home, they all have >100GB hard drives, they all have 10" displays, and they're all $400-$450.

Sadly, none of them have a CD/DVD drive, either, but I can get one cheaply. It's irritating that my Sony is thinner and lighter than most of these machines, and it has a friggin' DVD burner built in! (Of course, it was $1,400 new...)

I'm gravitating towards the Eee or the Lenovo. I really like the Eee series for reasons I can't describe, and it has an awesome battery. The Lenovo has about 1/2 the battery capacity, but it considerably thinner and lighter, and of course, it's an IBM.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:24 PM   #2
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eeepc all the way. battery life is one of the most important things for subnotebook. as a bonus, you can get it with linux cheaper
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:29 PM   #3
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why not get her one of the cheap laptops that best buy or walmart are selling right now. A full fledge laptop for like $300.
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Old 11-09-2008, 05:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSoot View Post
eeepc all the way. battery life is one of the most important things for subnotebook. as a bonus, you can get it with linux cheaper
The battery life issue is something I've considered. But in observing her usage habits, she seems to always be plugged in when operating one of the big machines. Apart from moving from the bedroom to the living room, she doesn't really travel much. Still, that is one thing I love about my Vaio- even the small battery lasts for about 5 hours of light activity, and the big one will go all day.

I want to get the machine pre-loaded with XP. Frankly, for $50 I'm happy to let someone else do it. If it were my machine, I'd get the Linux version because I'd be re-installing the OS anyway (having first scrubbed it with XPLite) but since this is for someone else, I want them to have the benefit of a recovery CD, not ever have to be bothered with WGA, etc. Plus, time is a factor.

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Originally Posted by neogenesis2004 View Post
why not get her one of the cheap laptops that best buy or walmart are selling right now. A full fledge laptop for like $300.
Because the point is to find a machine for her which is similar to my Vaio, at a reasonable price. The only machines BB has in the <$500 range are large and heavy.

I probably should go to WalMart and lay hands on the Aspire One. A 9" display sounds just a bit too small to me, but we'll see.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:14 PM   #5
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Just keep in mind there is a huge difference between your vaio and a netbook. The netbook not having a cdrom is just the beginning of the differences.

I would get something with a 10" screen at least personally. HP is getting ready to release a refresh of their netbook, if they haven't already. The mouse buttons on it are a little strange, but it is one of the best available otherwise. Very good build quality and since its a hp small business pc you get a decent hp warranty.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:43 PM   #6
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I realize that there's a reason the Vaio has the price tag that it does. No internal CD should not be a huge concern, I'll just get her a USB external writer. And apart from not being a slug, processing power isn't the driving issue either. She spends most of her time surfing the web, using facebook / myspace, and viewing / printing images from her digicam (all the machines I listed have SD readers, which is a huge plus.) The primary drivers here are to find something small and light, yet still usable. The 700/900 series Eees are out on account of their miniscule keyboard and display- though I will stop by WalMart and check out that Acer tomorrow.
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:12 PM   #7
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The Acer was on the top of my list when I was looking at netbooks. The Asus computers were pricey in comparison, and the reviews for the Acer's keyboard were much more favorable.
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Old 11-10-2008, 03:25 PM   #8
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I checked out the Acer One today at WalMart. The keyboard was decent, but the display really seemed small, even compared to my Sony. Stopped by Circuit City, and they had the Averatec on display. You wouldn't think an extra inch would make that much of a difference but it did seem to. There were a couple things I didn't like about that machine as well, but it was worth the trip to actually see a 10" display in person.

In the end, I wound up ordering the Eee 1000HA from NewEgg for $429. This is the "loaded" model with 1GB RAM, the 160 GB HD, the "7 hour" battery (we'll see) and XP Home pre-loaded. Also picked up an HP USB CD/DVD burner for $56 so she can actually load software onto the machine.

Should be here by weeks' end. I'm very curious to actually see this machine in person.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 11-10-2008 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Acer, not Asus...
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Old 11-10-2008, 03:33 PM   #9
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My dad has had an eeepc for a few months now, he bought it for motorcycle road trips and just throws it in his tank bag. It hasn't been affected by the 6 magnets in the tank bag or by the vibrations after several thousand miles, he loves it.
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:09 PM   #10
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did you get a chance to look at the Wind in person? I guess it's more or less the same thing as the Acer. The Acer's battery can also be switched for an ~8 hour battery I think. Take some pics of the Eeepc if you can.
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:58 PM   #11
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I think I might have a 2gb stick of ddr2 sitting around here somewhere. If so I can send it your way. Memory is so ******* cheap these days its not worth me even trying to sell it.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:41 PM   #12
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dell have one also, and here in Aus, its the best value for money..

lenovo or dell would be my pick
doesnt look like a netbook either.

Last edited by kula; 11-10-2008 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:03 PM   #13
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Joe,

Thanks for a new sig to use for a while!! te he...
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:52 PM   #14
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I would get the MSI, but thats just me.
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:56 PM   #15
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I just got the eeePC 1000H. Threw in a stick of 2GB. It's a nice little machine but I haven't used it much. I bought a $50 USB burner too and a wireless mouse from Newegg as I'm not too fond of the mouse on it. I bought it to run HPtuners for tuning the car. I also wanted something to take on vacation to surf and check mail, along with loading a bunch of movies for my kid to watch to replace the crappy NiCd batteried DVD player she has.

Picked it up on ebay for $420 - %25 off on the Microsoft Live money back deal. Not bad for ~$305.

Frank
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:29 PM   #16
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I just bought a 1000HA yesterday too. I was considering the Wind and the Aspire also but the Asus won out in the end.
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Old 11-16-2008, 09:45 AM   #17
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Well, the EeePC 1000HA has arrived, and I'm quite happy with it so far:



Dimensionally, it's a tad larger in depth (front to back) and thickness than my Vaio TXN, and just a touch heavier. On the plus side, it feels a bit less fragile, particularly in the area of the display, where most of the extra thickness is. On the Vaio, the top half is only about as thick as the display glass itself, and there are horror stories of folks who have broken the display simply by grasping it from a corner when opening, rather then from the center. I'm pretty sure that won't happen here.

The display is pretty good, surprisingly. Despite being only 1024x600, I find it workable in most applications, including MT as you can see above. The LED backlighting is even, runs cool, and is shockingly bright. Even when cranked all the way up however, the screen does not wash out- contrast and color purity are quite good, in fact. That was my primary dislike with the MSI machine I looked at- the display always looked faded. And I have, as of yet, not detected a single dead pixel. The machine also comes with a backlight-disable button, to further extend battery life. Indoors, this is worthless. Outside, it was semi-workable. Not as good as a purpose-built reflective display (which these days is almost nonexistant) but certainly useable in good sunlight. Standing outside in direct sun, it was pretty much equal in clarity to the display on my Fujitsu tablet, which is specifically billed as an indoor/outdoor machine.

I'm pretty pleased with the way XP came configured as well. Apart from Skype and MS Live Mail, there was no bundled bloatware at all- not even MS Messenger was loaded. They also had the start menu defaulted to "Classic" mode, which is the way I like it. And I must say, the machine is surprisingly speedy given its puny Diamondville Atom processor. Startup and shutdown are quicker than my big ole' desktop machine, and while there's no chance it'll ever play a 3D FPS, performance is more than adequate running MS Office, Chrome, etc. For some reason, despite coming with SP3 it was only loaded with Media Player 9,

Several reviewers have complained that the action of the touchpad buttons is too stiff, but I found them to be just right. The pad itself is also quite good- on par with most Dells I've used, and laminated in a material that tracks smoothly. Scrolling is implemented in a slightly odd manner- rather than placing a deadband on the right edge of the pad, you activate scrolling by using two fingers anywhere on the pad. It works pretty well, though, and didn't require much of an adjustment period to learn. There are a couple of other two and three-finger actions that all function pretty well also, including a neat little zoom feature.

The keyboard is adequate. Although it's still a bit smaller than a regular laptop, it's a thousand times better than the ones on the 700/900 series. The action of the keys is relatively light so it's not impossible to strike an adjacent key by mistake, but they've got a good feel to them. I can see myself being able to use this machine for word processing, which is something I couldn't say of its smaller cousins. Alas, my only grievance does have to do with the keyboard- specifically the placement of the right shift key:



Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to suffer in hell as Saddam Hussein's bitch for all eternity. C'mon, guys- this is how things are supposed to be on a subnotebook keyboard:



I haven't tested the battery to full depletion, but so far I can buy Asus' claim of 6 hours. You won't be watching videos the whole time, but if you're just surfing the web or doing word processing, I can see it being achievable. My test of a two hour Xvid-encoded movie left the battery at just about 1/2 capacity, so it'll suffice as inflight entertainment for the LAX-JFK trip with no need to carry extra power. The power supply itself is also amazingly small and light weight. Adding to the portability, they use only a two prong AC connector (which in turn makes the mains cable thinner) and both the mains and DC cables came with little velcro cable-wraps pre-installed. Kudos to Asus for attention to the little details.

If you're planning to buy a dedicated in-car PC, I think I'd still look at the 901 series. What they lack in keyboard size they make up for in overall compactness and the ability to be mounted anywhere. But if you're looking for a new general-purpose laptop to carry around the house / campus / office and also use as a tuning PC in the car, the 1000HA is a good bet.
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Old 11-16-2008, 10:11 PM   #18
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nice review thanks
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