I’ve been doing a bit of thinking recently about getting a new laptop. I’ve never really owned my own laptop before, and using the office one for personal projects is a bit inconvenient. After watching everyone around me buy huge shiny MacBooks, a feeling has precipitated in my mind about exactly what I don’t want in a laptop. Namely something big, expensive and heavy.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire the quality and the engineering that goes into something like a MacBook Pro. I admire the expertise that’s gone into turning BSD into OS X. I just don’t want to pay for it, or carry it around.
The logical place to look at this point is the Asus Eee. This is on its third revision or so by now, and actually has a decent screen res (1024x600 on the latest), 20Gb of space, upgradable RAM, and most importantly a teeny form- factor and price tag. Now I know a lot of people get worked up, because the original Eee was very cheap, and the latest one is a bit more expensive, but to be honest I don’t really care. It’s cheaper than I’d expect to pay for something that small.
I have a number of issues which prevent me from running out there and getting an Eee. Firstly, the battery life. It sucks. Officially it’s 2 hours 30 minutes, but many reviews are putting it at under 2 hours. This really isn’t very good - I think I read a comment somewhere that said the problem would be a lot better if they supplied a separate battery charger. Presumably so that you can buy two batteries, and charge one up whilst using the other one. A reasonable point, but I still don’t want to carry spare batteries to the park with me.
Secondly, they’re just about to bring out a version which has the Intel Atom CPU in it. Now, this may do wonders for the battery life, which is a good thing. However, it’s not out until June, so I’ll see what happens then.
Thirdly, everyone else is jumping on the bandwagon. I played with an HP UMPC the other day, and I was impressed. It ran Vista, had a huuuuge amount of space in it, and a crazy screen resolution. However, as a result, the screen was practically unreadable, the battery life was still crap, and it got very very hot. Still, a good first go. The one I’m really keeping my eye on is the MSI Wind. Same price as the Eee Atom, but better specced. 6 hour battery life as well. If the reviews of these are good, I might just get one.