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View Full Version : Err, are netbooks actually netbooks anymore?



vexorian
November 8th, 2009, 01:14 AM
Hey, I am the proud owner of an ASUS eee 701 4G, and it was very nice and useful, yet I kept hearing stories about netbooks with Atom processors and better resolution. For Karmic, I knew that it would focus on 1024x600 resolution instead of my eee's 800x480 resolution, and I could remember how time consuming it was to tweak Jaunty to work fine in my resolution... decided to updgrade...

First of all, I was just unable to buy any one without windows, and hell I looked. The only Linux netbooks that there were were the remaining 701 eees... There was also an Intel Classmate, but although it came with an atom processor, it didn't have a 1024x600 resolution, and - worse - it didn't have any video out.

I thought of Dell inspiron mini netbooks with ubuntu. But honestly, it would cost me 200 USD to bring the ordered netbook to my country, and they only have HDMI output - the projectors at college only support have VGA input - so it was out of the question.

Ended up buying one with a mandatory windows XP license -An Aspire One 250 -. I cleansed the OS (god, these windows machines come with tons of crapware and trials, not funny) . Installed UNR (Jaunty as I didn't download Karmic UNR yet), spent 40 minutes making ubuntu support ethernet. Anyway... what I didn't notice while buying this new "netbook" is that it is actually huge... Compare it to my 701 eee, and it is a juggernaut!. (Though it is thinner) It has 160 GB of storage in a HARD DRIVE...

Considering they are now huge, come with mandatory windows, and also a hard drive. I ask - maybe "netbooks" have become just laptops without a CD drive? Or are netbooks with CD drives coming soon...?

Not like I don't like my new computer (which actually costs less than what my eee costed last year) But is there really a point in calling it a netbook anymore?

Mehall
November 8th, 2009, 01:27 AM
It's WINTEL making the market only have netbooks that are overpriced and underspecced.

For the spec we're seeing just now, they should be pretty much spot on the 200 mark.

the prices we're paying just now should be supporting some kind of gfx card, something like the nVidia ION systems perhaps.

Naiki Muliaina
November 8th, 2009, 01:42 AM
I noticed this in my local PC world the other day.... No netbooks for less than roughly 300... They all have bigger screens and all seem to be grasping for just under laptop specs....

What happened to the idea of cheap nippy little things intended for web use?

TheNessus
November 8th, 2009, 02:05 AM
What happened to the idea of cheap nippy little things intended for web use?

People realized the screen is too small for looking at it more than 5 minutes straight, and the keyboard was ridiculously small, and the touchpad was even more so. The N270 Atom appeared to be miserably weak since people don't want to just surf text-based websites but also media-based websites such as youtube, and want to watch movies on the airplane or train, but having a jerking movie is no fun.

So they made lappies that can hold more for less (harddrives instead of small SSD's), bigger screens (12", 11.6"), broader keyboards with better touchpads and better chips (N280). This is only a welcomed development, and soon these things will turn out to be what laptops really were supposed to be to begin with, a minimally-speced, lightweight computer instead of a portable full-fledged computer we now call a notebook.

So yes, it has a harddrive and not an SSD drive - it's a lot cheaper and holds a lot more memory, because that's what people generally want. The market adapts itself to the people, not the other way around.

Mr. Picklesworth
November 8th, 2009, 02:07 AM
I noticed this in my local PC world the other day.... No netbooks for less than roughly 300... They all have bigger screens and all seem to be grasping for just under laptop specs....

What happened to the idea of cheap nippy little things intended for web use?

http://randombuzz.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/homersimpsoncar.gif
(Thanks, in large part, to Redmond).

It's nice to see that these are driving a reduction in the size of regular notebook computers, though. Those things are WAY too big to be portable (really, I would guesstimate that about a quarter - if that - of notebook computers on the market can actually serve their stated purpose, let alone be placed on somebody's lap). The netbooks seem to be creating a thinning trend.
Then again, it could also be Apple, who continue to make computers about half as thick as their competition. (While the competition, for some reason, continues to claim that 1.6 inches at 6lbs is thin).

vexorian
November 8th, 2009, 02:45 AM
People realized the screen is too small for looking at it more than 5 minutes straight,

Not really.


and the keyboard was ridiculously small, I was able to use it for programming a lot of times.


and the touchpad was even more so.


I don't think netbook touchpads were ever particularly small.


The N270 Atom appeared to be miserably weak since people don't want to just surf text-based websites but also media-based websites such as youtube,

There is something wrong with your post here. The celeron in old eees was fine for youtube. Higher def maybe was a problem but with that screen, you wouldn't have cared about high def either.

The celeron -> atom leap was a nice one.

The speed differences between N270 and N280 are incredibly small, specially when compared with the difference between the celeron and the N270.

and want to watch movies on the airplane or train, but having a jerking movie is no fun.

N280 is no less portable than the N270, it is ever better at power saving. So I don't think the atom is what is making them less of a netbook, but the other parts.



So they made lappies that can hold more for less (harddrives instead of small SSD's), bigger screens (12", 11.6"), broader keyboards with better touchpads and better chips (N280)But the real netbooks were ever so convenient. They would fit even small backbacks... For presentations it was amazing as well. Let people buy laptops if they want to see high def video, but I think that with the current technology an 7 inches netbook like the 701 eees would be able to still keep the atom processor and be much cheaper and lighter than in 2007. Usable for presentations and books and web browsing. There is of course marketshare for that kind of 'netbook' as a lot of people loved the initial eees. But for some reason that sort of netbook have been the victim of genocide...

kavon89
November 8th, 2009, 03:05 AM
Generally, if it's got a screen <= 12" and has no optical drive, it's considered a netbook.

hobo14
November 8th, 2009, 04:46 AM
Generally, if it's got a screen <= 12" and has no optical drive, it's considered a netbook.

Fair enough, but that 12" has crept up there from a much lower value in the last year or two.
I'm sitting here at my desk with my 11.6" laptop (older than the first netbook), and in my experience carrying it around for use elsewhere is possible, but far from convenient.

IMHO a "netbook" should be less than 10". 10" is quite a large netbook.

My next computer purchase will be a netbook, and I plan to buy one that's 8.9".

Frak
November 8th, 2009, 04:55 AM
The only reason Linux was on Netbooks in the first place was to provoke Microsoft to release a cheaper version of XP.

They didn't actually want to stick with it. They knew their customers wouldn't like it.

TwiceOver
November 8th, 2009, 05:04 AM
I just bought an Aspire One 10.1" netbook for work and it is only slightly larger than the 701 collecting dust in the corner.

Thinking about going back to a netbook, but the Atom really sucks as a processor. Maybe if they can get me a 10" netbook with an su2700ish processor I'll go back.

sgtbug
November 8th, 2009, 05:06 AM
I have been using my Asus EEE 1000HE for 4-5 months now. It is extremely handy.

I used a Notebook earlier and the major problem I had with it was battery. No reasonable priced machine had a >2.5hr power backup. My Netbook gives me 7hrs.

I agree 1080p is only a pipe dream but 720p plays perfectly fine on it on Ubuntu (dshowserver+coreavc).

IMHO, 12" is too bulky a size to sacrifice an optical drive. 8.9" is almost perfect.

The keyboard of my 1000HE is in no way cramped. I am able to type normally, even while programming.

If mobility is your major concern, I think a netbook is a way better choice than a notebook..

kavon89
November 8th, 2009, 05:22 AM
Fair enough, but that 12" has crept up there from a much lower value in the last year or two.
I'm sitting here at my desk with my 11.6" laptop (older than the first netbook), and in my experience carrying it around for use elsewhere is possible, but far from convenient.

IMHO a "netbook" should be less than 10". 10" is quite a large netbook.

My next computer purchase will be a netbook, and I plan to buy one that's 8.9".

Eh, I guess it would also have to be a new model too.

Older 12" laptops are indeed heavier and thicker. My 12" iBook is considerably heavier and even thicker than my ThinkPad. But nowadays that's a different (http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=8198552921644667494) story (http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=135A781CA29B4ECB9ADAD8E72CF6FD61&tabname=Features#tabstart).



IMHO, 12" is too bulky a size to sacrifice an optical drive. 8.9" is almost perfect.

If mobility is your major concern, I think a netbook is a way better choice than a notebook..


For moderate mobility needs, sure. However, for someone who does the majority of their computing away from home, a 10" screen doesn't cut it, a high resolution 12" or 13" is perfect. Also, consider how often you actually use CDs or DVDs. I switched my drive out for a secondary battery and pop the optical in as needed, which is not very often.

JDShu
November 8th, 2009, 05:51 AM
The only reason Linux was on Netbooks in the first place was to provoke Microsoft to release a cheaper version of XP.

They didn't actually want to stick with it. They knew their customers wouldn't like it.

LOL @ conspiracy theory

Frak
November 8th, 2009, 06:20 AM
LOL @ conspiracy theory
When Microsoft announced they'd lower prices for the OEM's, they dropped Linux THAT DAY. It's not a conspiracy.

JDShu
November 8th, 2009, 06:32 AM
When Microsoft announced they'd lower prices for the OEM's, they dropped Linux THAT DAY. It's not a conspiracy.

I'll trust you on that, but a source would be helpful to figure out which OEMs you mean. In any case it was more likely to just be an easy decision to make. Yes, customers prefer Windows over Linux, so now that Microsoft lowered prices, its a no-brainer. That doesn't mean OEMs were banking on the price drop.

I don't think it was a conspiracy... you make it sound like it was.

Frak
November 8th, 2009, 06:36 AM
I'll trust you on that, but a source would be helpful to figure out which OEMs you mean. In any case it was more likely to just be an easy decision to make. Yes, customers prefer Windows over Linux, so now that Microsoft lowered prices, its a no-brainer. That doesn't mean OEMs were banking on the price drop.

I don't think it was a conspiracy... you make it sound like it was.
Asus... and that's about it. I can't think of any other Netbook manu. that sold Linux.

phrostbyte
November 8th, 2009, 06:38 AM
Asus... and that's about it. I can't think of any other Netbook manu. that sold Linux.

Acer, HP, Dell, just to name a few. I know Dell still does, at least, seeing how I recently purchased an Ubuntu netbook from them.

JDShu
November 8th, 2009, 06:43 AM
Asus... and that's about it. I can't think of any other Netbook manu. that sold Linux.

Hmmm they must have brought it back after dropping it then. (http://eeepc.asus.com/global/product1101ha-spec.html)

gn2
November 8th, 2009, 08:31 AM
Did the netbook ever exist in the first place?

It's really just a marketing term, a shorthand to distinguish one type of portable computer from another.

There were small ultra-portables long before the term netbook was ever coined.

What rally set the "netbooks" apart from the rest was price, they were just so cheap.

Nowadays prices are up on many models and they no longer represent good value.

Michaeljs1990
November 8th, 2009, 08:49 AM
From everything i have read all netbooks are now is a reason to bump up the price on a crappy laptop... well not necessarily crappy but you know what i mean. I also own a EEE pc 701 sd i run Linux Netbook remix though and it works awesome it is actually pretty close to my laptop when it comes to surfing the web and boot time. Anyway i think netbooks have come and gone and just led the industry to realize the desire for smaller laptops.

Michael
Michaeljs1990.blogspot.com

ElSlunko
November 8th, 2009, 09:26 AM
Hmmm they must have brought it back after dropping it then. (http://eeepc.asus.com/global/product1101ha-spec.html)

OoOoo face!

Dimitriid
November 8th, 2009, 10:06 AM
10-11" is the sweet spot if you ask me: a smaller netbook usually can't reasonably fit a 6 cell battery, a bigger one its too unwieldy to carry around in a small portfolio for example. The resolution they usually have ( 1024x640 I believe? ) its a very nice balance between quality and size.

Larger models have mainly the advantage of a very good battery life ( 11+ hours claims are common ) but I've found that you hardly ever need more battery life than what my current system provides ( a bit under 6 hours using wifi ). I really don't miss an optical drive at all, I barely use it even on my desktop.

benmoran
November 8th, 2009, 10:12 AM
I think it's one of those cases where consumers are responsible for their own dissapointment. The manufacturers kept hearing things like "this is great, but I wish it had a bigger screen", or "this is nice but the hard drive is too small". In the end consumers got what they wanted, but lost the things that made the "netbook" cool to begin with.

Personally i'm really looking forward to the ARM powered stuff. Those are going to be the real netbooks going forward. With ARM, super-thin devices with great battery life are possible. No worries about cooling. I'm personally waiting for a nice ARM powered device with a 9~10 inch screen and great battery life for around $200.

mivo
November 8th, 2009, 10:39 AM
The original Eees had a too small screen and a too tiny keyboard for me to be useful, and I have normal sized hands. They were good for a little browsing, but even that seemed tedious. I bought a HP/Compaq 2140, with a 10.1" display and a keyboard with keys that are 92% of the regular size. This works well for me. It is thin and, compared to laptops I had before, light and very portable. It features the usual netbook specs, 1.6 GHz Atom CPU, 160 GB HDD. It was more expensive than I had hoped (400 Euro), and I could have gotten a low price notebook with better specs for the same money, but I wanted something small with a decent keyboard, HDD shock protection and a good screen (it is brilliant).

As for Windows vs Linux on the netbooks: Selling consumer machines with Linux is a support nightmare, especially when the distros upgrade every six months and you basically have to reinstall to stay current. It is easier to just offer one OS, which doesn't require extra support personnel. Tesco stopped offering Linux machines, saying that too many people brought them back, claiming they were defective, and then wanting one with Windows installed.

hobo14
November 8th, 2009, 11:23 AM
Personally i'm really looking forward to the ARM powered stuff. Those are going to be the real netbooks going forward. With ARM, super-thin devices with great battery life are possible. No worries about cooling. I'm personally waiting for a nice ARM powered device with a 9~10 inch screen and great battery life for around $200.

Snap!



I bought a HP/Compaq 2140, with a 10.1" display and a keyboard with keys that are 92% of the regular size. This works well for me.

Yeah, gotta love those HP keyboards. They really are the best.

mivo
November 8th, 2009, 11:36 AM
I'm personally waiting for a nice ARM powered device with a 9~10 inch screen and great battery life for around $200.

I've been keeping an eye on those, too. Actually expected them earlier in fall already, but this didn't quite happen. $200 would be nice, but here in Europe we'll probably look at $350 or so. Still, if they are under 300 Euro, I'd probably snatch up one, just to have one. (Lately I am haunted by the feeling to have too many computers around.) :)

vexorian
November 9th, 2009, 04:58 PM
Acer, HP, Dell, just to name a few. I know Dell still does, at least, seeing how I recently purchased an Ubuntu netbook from them.
BTW, did you notice the windows mini10 is cheaper than the ubuntu mini10 ?

It is also rather annoying that in the dell website you have to go through a small link to choose ubuntu, instead of it beign as an OS option in the 'normal' route.

Anyway, I think 10 inches is great for a computer, this thing is very thin so weight-wise it is not an issue either. Size may be a problem, but it is still as big as a large (paper) note book (the eee was as big as a small note book).

PS : I think that the new karmic UNR interface is awesome.

Frak
November 9th, 2009, 11:10 PM
BTW, did you notice the windows mini10 is cheaper than the ubuntu mini10 ?

Microsoft was liek, U BETTR SELL IT LESS THAN DAT UBUNTU STUFF, 'n Dell was liek, OK MAN, W/E, JUST PUT DOWN THE DISC MAN.

And that's why Windows costs less than Ubuntu, because Microsoft stood over Dell with a broken DVD and threatened to cut them with it. That would cause a big boo-boo.

Icehuck
November 9th, 2009, 11:15 PM
Microsoft was liek, U BETTR SELL IT LESS THAN DAT UBUNTU STUFF, 'n Dell was liek, OK MAN, W/E, JUST PUT DOWN THE DISC MAN.

And that's why Windows costs less than Ubuntu, because Microsoft stood over Dell with a broken DVD and threatened to cut them with it. That would cause a big boo-boo.

It could get infected and then where would they be?

Dark_Stang
November 9th, 2009, 11:52 PM
This is probably the only netbook I would find myself buying... linky. (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Nokia+-+Booklet+3G+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Atom%26%23153%3 B+Processor+-+Black/9572063.p?id=1218127199731&skuId=9572063) But then again, it's $600 (or $300 with a 2 year data plan) and it's still slow because it's a netbook. There are a lot of relatively inexpensive laptops that are much faster than a netbook with 12"-14" screens. The way cell phones are advancing and how cheap the 12"-14" laptops are getting, netbooks are just going to die out over the next few years.

Zoot7
November 10th, 2009, 12:07 AM
The increased physical size of them now I'd say is thanks to Microsoft restricting Windows 7 starter to a minimum hardware requirements, merely because it's not light enough to run on the earlier netbook models.
At least that's the general consensus floating around the pipeline at the moment. Sad really, because they've lost the point now IMO.
You'd be far far better off to buy an entry level laptop with a 13 or so inch screen.