<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–>With ‘Netbook’ manufacturers currently riding a giant wave of economic grisliness, on a well carved long board made from ignorant consumers with a need for instant gratification, the Netbook mob really have got it good just now
I did a two day promotional stint in UK electrical giant Comet last December, witnessing first-hand a brand new breed of laptop consumer. No longer intimidated by laptops, these buyers have grasped their simple operation, realised their fun side, and are no longer willing to share with anyone anymore – they want their own laptop and they want it now!
Armed with little money, no concept of saving, and a greediness to purchase today, out jumps a selection of sexy little laptops for under £300. Just like speed dating, consumers were in and out of that store in minutes. Drawn in by cute exteriors and low prices, they only ask two questions, “does it do email?” and “will it connect to the internet?”, but, back home, the impulsive shoppers get a great big slap in the face from the now obvious shortcomings of their blinkered buy.
Call it what you want but a Netbook is a laptop, a small computer that doesn’t have to sit on a desk, so not a desktop, but a portable computer that you can sit on your lap, so a laptop. Laptops have variable specifications. Recently the term Netbook has been exploited by manufacturers as an excuse to sell sub-standard laptops with limited usability. I believe the majority of people, as they get more competent with technology, or if they had more money or the patience to save, would prefer a ‘real’ laptop, big or small.
But, these small laptops are now planted in homes all over the world, (I’m told nearly six million Netbooks were shipped worldwide in the three months up to Christmas 08), and everyone with one of these miniature laptops, at least in the UK, has been cleverly convinced that what they have is not a ‘laptop’, that it was never meant to be a laptop, it is a ‘Netbook’, and “by chance”, (for chance read ignorance), “you have unconsciously bought into a new concept”, (for concept read con), “how perceptive of you”, (for perceptive read blind). Ask anyone with one of these things and I guarantee at some point during the conversation they will tell you that “it is not a laptop, it is a netbook”.
The reason I am discussing this right now is because we are currently being introduced to our 3rd generation of Netbooks. I have started to refer to these new Netbooks now as ‘shit laptops’. Take the Samsung NC10 for example; Samsung can no longer hide behind their Netbook excuse with the NC10. With its 160GB hard drive, and Genuine Windows XP OS, the only remaining part staying loyal to the Netbook definition is the Atom N270 processor, but the rest doesn’t match up!
Sony on the other hand have sat back and watched this con play out, the result, a beautiful teeny weeny laptop, which is most definitely not a Netbook. Unlike Samsung Sony have not made excuses for the Atom Z processor in their beautifully crafted VAIO P Series laptop. If you think you might be offended by the Atom then do some homework, the bottom line being this processor is a convenient size and a bright little spark. Sony made a very small laptop which called for a suitably small processor, which is more than capable of doing the job in hand, so thank you very much. Add this to a Vista OS, 2GB RAM, a cleverly crafted keyboard, with its limited travel easily made up for by its more ergonomic keys, an XMB menu mode, allowing you to easily access all your media without hunting them down through windows, (just like your PS3 or new BRAVIA TV). Built in WWAN, WIFI up to draft n, a 1600 x 768 res 8” screen, and built in GPS. All in all this is a brilliant small laptop.
As usual buyers have been quick to complain about the starting £849 price tag of the P. I don’t think that it is too much it’s just that a real laptop with decent insides will cost a more realistic amount of money. I truly believe that if money was no object, or if people were at least prepared to save some money, then anyone in the market for any type of small laptop would much prefer a Sony VAIO P series over a Samsung NC10. Personally my piggy bank is collecting for a Sony VAIO TT 25X. This includes everything I might ever want from my laptop, but I expect will probably only be used to check my tweets 95% of the time. I only have another £2500 to go, but it’ll be worth it I know it will.
3 thoughts on “What Book?”
Forgive me if I’m being thick here, but what’s your point? Netbooks serve a definite purpose – I have my macbook pro for “real work” and I have a dell mini 9 (running os x, but that’s another story) for travelling (when all I’ll need is email, internet and basic text editing). I have this set up for two main reasons:
1) (the main one) My 15″ MBP is just too heavy to carry around all day. The dell is just the right size for carting about all day.
2) Expense – my dell cost just over £300 when all was said and done (not including the OS unfortunately) – I’m not quite so bothered if some young vagrant decides that my dell would be better suited in their crack den than my living room than if they thought the same about my macbook pro that’s either tucked up safely at home or in the office waiting for when I need to sit down to some photoshop or similar.
And simply calling the cheaper netbooks “shit laptops” is downright ignorant. My mini 9 has a 1.6Ghz Atom, 2Gb ram and a 32Gb SSD – more than enough for a second computer for a nerd (and more than enough for the average user), and certainly plenty to run my OS of choice. Sure, some are a bit cheap and cheerful, but calling them shit because they run XP is silly – many people who are technologically adept prefer XP over Vista.
And if it ticks the boxes of email and internet (and I guess to be able to use iTunes and watch video), then why will they be disappointed? I’ve not seen too many “average people” who want to do more.
Kinda with Graham here on missing your point. It seemed to me normal laptops have always been fairly big in size (my last two were widescreen, bulky Toshibas for example, and there are plenty more in that style by other manufacturers), and while you could buy them for a reasonable price, if you wanted a smaller, more portable one you’d have to cough up a lot more or settle for something like a palmtop. “netbooks” fill the gap between palmtops and laptops in size and are reasonably cheap considering. They seem to be mostly geared towards accessing the ‘net while you’re out and about (if you get the Eee PCs with Linux, for example, the first thing you’re greeted with is a load of ‘net orientated shortcuts and applications). If I wanted to do anything more (but without the clunky desktop setup), like gaming or developing, I’d want something a bit more substantial than a 10″ or less screen for a start.
As for the 160GB HDD, that’s clearly for storing all the stuff you’ve downloaded from “iTunes” to watch while on the move or wherever 😛
Bingo! You get it! A netbook is a small laptop….I mean a 12″ netbook is coming out now? Come on really. Once Atom is powerful enough, there won’t be any distinction in performance.