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Old August 26, 2008, 09:48 AM
Jack Rabbit's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 784

My System Specs

Question What are you ultra portable thoughts?

I really want an ultra portable laptop. Here is huge list of tiny computers but I think most of them are toys or horribly out dated; WinCE is not an option and 2G of storage is pathetic. I think the only real players right now are the Asus Eee901, MSI Wind, Acer Aspire, and HP 2133.

I know everyone has different wants and needs. This is my list of considerations:
  • Must be "cheap"
  • Must be small!
  • Must be 2.5-ish lbs or less
  • Must have SSD
  • Must have full customisable Linux available
  • Must have Atom processor
  • Nice to have 'n' WiFi
  • Nice to have BlueTooth
  • Nice to have 1024x768 or better screen
  • Nice to have 6-cell battery
  • Nice to have good looks
  • Do not care about sound
  • Do not care about webcam (I'll cover it with tape)
Tiny laptops like the Lenovo IdeaPad U110 are amazing machines but at $2500+ they break the bank and increase the damage of breakage or theft. Something in the $300-400 range would be nice but I would go as high as $600.

I would like to have 'n' WiFi to future proof the machine. I would also like to have BlueTooth so I can use an external mouse because even the best trackpads are small.

I think the Eee901 is clearly the leader right now. It has 'n' WiFi, BlueTooth, lengthy battery life, and an improved trackpad. I actually went to the store to buy one but when I got to try the keyboard (actually on the 701 but they are the same) it was really cramped and I could just not bring myself to drop the money on it.

Asus Eee901
Pros - SSD, 'n' WiFi, 6-cell battery, Ubuntu support
Cons - terribly cramped keyboard, high cost

MSI Wind
Pros - best keyboard, most attractive, Ubuntu support
Cons - no SSD, high cost, BlueTooth and 6-cell battery only on Windows version

Acer Aspire
Pros - good keyboard, low cost
Cons - poor linux support

HP 2133
Pros - good keyboard, best screen
Cons - runs terribly hot, not so good looking

Both Dell and Lenovo are coming out with their own laptops in the near future. I think it is worth waiting for them but I fear they will not be much different than the existing crop.

What do you think? What is it like using the EeePC keyboard for a while? How has your ultra portable treated you? Are SSDs over rated? What do you think is important and what would you most like to see? Do you think these machines are crap and want to see a tablet or something?

BTW, what keyboards do all y'all have? For some reason all the ones on the demo machines I have found here in Toronto have what I think is the French keyboard. They have that funny quote key next to the 'Z' key.
He either fears his fate too much, or his deserts are small, that dares not put it to the touch, to gain or lose it all.
- James Graham
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Old August 26, 2008, 09:57 AM
Wankerfx's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 583

I had the chance to test these:

Asus Eee901, MSI Wind and the Acer One.

The only one that I liked and kept was the MSI Wind because the keyboard is 80% of a normal board! It's really easy to type, and it's only about $600.00 with the 6 cell battery. SSDs are pretty pointless in my opinion, I'd rather have an 80GB hard drive than a tiny 12GB. You can probably install Linux on the MSI Wind if you really wanted to. The WiFi is pretty good on the Wind too, I can connect to a wireless connection 10m away from a building at school and it's stable. The Wind has bluetooth, and has a nice resolution of 1024x600. Did I mention that the Wind looks really sexy?

I didn't like the other UMPC's because the keyboards were so small, and it wasn't practical.
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Old August 26, 2008, 10:05 AM
Wankerfx's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 583

Here's a picture of it with my skype phone:

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Old August 26, 2008, 03:31 PM
yamawho's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Rosemere, Qc, Canada
Posts: 895

I purchased a EEE 701 Surf that has 4GB SSD with no web cam.
I took it on our Australia vacation in April and found it very useful to keep in touch.
I upgraded the ram to 1GB and added a 16GB SDHC card which I used to transfer the photos off my camera. Wireless internet was very handy as well.

Since I have returned, I have installed Mandriva 2008.1 to my 16GB sdhc card which came out while I was away. It is the 1st distro to officially support the 701 and works great.

The keyboard takes some practice and after a while you get the hang of it.

Lately, my daughter has been using it to chat.

I still have it listed in the buy&sell forum if anyone is interested ...
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Old August 26, 2008, 05:23 PM
Conky's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: North Bay,Ontario
Posts: 52
Default Aspire one good decision or not!

My wife and I purchased the acer aspire one and overall we are pretty impressed with its performance and stability with wifi and lan. Were we think this product excells is the video quality thumbs up to intel's 950 media accelerator and the crystal bright technology, video's and movies play great as well as online streaming. The worst thing we have noticed is how loud the fan is, it is alot louder than my htpc but admitingly its realy silent so maybee its just me. If we were to by another wich we are I think that I would puchase the Asus 1000 it has bluetooth and a larger keyboard and screen size than the 901 or the aspire one, and at about $550. it would be the most I would pay for one of these subnotes.

We bought this as a learning and communication tool for our disabled daughter, we were worried about the keyboard but even with the awkward use of her large hands she seems to be having no real difficulties with size difference between this and a normal keyboard. She uses a cordless mouse so she doesnt have to deal with the track pad.

I would recomend the aspire one for anyone on a budget and the asus 1000 for quality and more advanced options but a few more bucks.
1. Zalman 501HTPC, Maximus III Formula, i7 875K, Mushkin Chronos 120 deluxe, Mushkin Blackline 2x4 1600mh, Seasonic 650 Gold, XFX 6870 Black Edition,Samsung 22x, Windows 7 Home Premium 64X

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Old August 26, 2008, 05:41 PM
Wankerfx's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 583

The Asus 1000 is another good one.
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Old August 26, 2008, 05:42 PM
Cptn Vortex's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 4,000

I have the Aspire One, linux 8GB SSD model. Upgraded to 1.5GB ram, and installed XP home. Works like a charm. I like the screen too, its very nice to look at. And Dirt cheap! As low as $325!
The Vortex H20

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HP OMEN 32 1440p 75hz

Benq W1070 Pojector.

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  #8 (permalink)  
Old August 29, 2008, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: GTA
Posts: 30

I bought my wife an MSI Wind (3 cell battery) a couple of weeks ago... so far so good. She uses it to stream video from the internet, from a Slingbox PRO hooked to our cable box, and from DVDs ripped directly, or encoded (H.264, xVid, or DivX format) into a media server PC. She also uses it for browsing, chatting and emailing. It has Bluetooth built-in which she uses to connect a Logitech Bluetooth mouse an a Motorola Bluetooth Headphone (Rokr S2).

I have toyed with it and hooked it up to an external 24" monitor to see if it could display the screen at the native 1920 x 1200... it can with no problems. I also enabled dual monitor mode, displaying 1920 x 1200 on the external monitor and 1024 x 600 on its LED backlit screen.

Last edited by cyclo; August 30, 2008 at 06:22 AM.
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