nobbit
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:02 am

I own an Asus Eee PC 900. That was the second netbook model ever to hit the market, and the major feature it had over its predecessor is the 9" screen (the previous model only had a 7.5").

The specs:
Intel Celeron 900 MHz processor
1 GB RAM
20 GB SSD

It weighs in on 1.1 kg (roughly 2.5 lbs) and has a battery life of almost 2 hours on a good day. When I bought it the market price was around $400.

For the past year or so I've been looking to buy a new netbook, but the case seems hopeless. I guess I have the wrong demands, but I really can't find what I want on the market. All the netbooks out there are now sold with 250 GB hard drives and at least 1.2 GHz processors. That's not wrong per se, but they never seem to drop in price. Quite the opposite, in fact. They're increasing in size, weight and price.

What I want in a netbook:
9-10" size. Bigger than that and it's not for me.
At least 900 MHz. Lower might work, but I don't think so.
1 GB RAM. I've never needed more on the one I have.
20 GB SSD. Again, never needed more on the one I have.
Maximum 1 kg weight (slightly more than 2 lbs).
At least 8 hours battery.
When it comes to ports and connectors I'm happy if there's three USB ports, one ethernet, audio out and some way to connect it to a screen (VGA, DVI or HDMI, I don't care). WiFi is a must in a netbook, of course.

I'm thinking it'll probably have to be an ARM processor to have that battery life on such low weight, but I don't see a problem with that. How expensive would this be? Do you know any computer out there that fits the criterias? Would you be interested in one if it existed? How do I go about to have it manufactured en masse so that I can one for myself without spending a fortune?

Desmon
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:35 am

ACER ASPIRE ONE AOD257...its about 300 $ and it just about everything you asked for

but you could do so much better, your wrong, prices are at an all time low... you can get an Apu netbook with a dual-core 1.0/ 1.6 ghz ,10-11' each for 400$ like the Lenovo s205 or the Acer AO522 ... i don't know about you, but that's really cheap for me, since a few years ago netbooks with this specs either did not exist or went for over 1000 $

SlyFoxy
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:31 pm

ASUS make plenty of decent netbooks still like a few other brands out there... any of them with an Atom processer are great, I bought the 1000H opting for a HDD over SSD an it was worth it, ran windows XP perfectly fine. Had that for 3 years and the spec never really changed and still managed to resell for a good value once i no longer needed it, my suggestion is compromise a little, now a lot of people want SSDs in there netbooks, I certainty don't see any advantage myself.

My suggestion, by like an ASUS transformer or something if you want a netbook with an ARM processor, although they're not cheap sadly, but still... as an alternative there's the alwayinnovating smart book, which is pretty awesome.

obarthelemy
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:14 pm

Got a http://www.hercules.com/uk/eca.....hd-black-/ 150€ 10" ARM netbook, which I misuse as a home server. Nothing but good things to say about it, very hack-friendly, with dual boot from the internal SSD or one the the SDs so you can't brick it. Picky about its USB peripherals, couldn't get it to work with USB3 stuff, even at USB2 speeds.

nobbit
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:51 pm

The eCafé is probably the closest thing I've seen to fit my demands. I realise I didn't mention it in my original post, but I try to find a netbook with no moving pieces. I.e. no fan, no common hard drive.

I've looked at the Acer aspire one before, but it loses out in all the moving parts (that I didn't mention... sorry). Sadly the battery time on the sub-one-kilogram version is only 3 hours, too.

If it wasn't so incredibly expensive the 11" macbook air would be perfect for my needs.

dattaway
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:23 pm

I have the Acer Aspire One and hopefully they still make them. The battery lasts all day and the processor seems very fast, but I have a stripped down version of Linux installed on it (none of that gnome or kde stuff!)

rwaltman
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:20 pm

nobbit
... Do you know any computer out there that fits the criterias? ...


Answering to the ARM subset only:

* Toshiba AC100
* EFIKA MX Smartbook

(Both have 1/2 Gbyte memory, not 1Gb.)

--
Roberto Waltman

Josh
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:48 pm

Ah, this reminds me not only a couple of years ago when the very early EeePC was released. Came with a nice little Xandros system.
Now we have Windows 7 Starter (you can't even change the bloody wallpaper) on low spec computers... what a great idea that is.


Josh
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:59 pm

Quote from M1C4HTRON13 on December 12, 2011, 20:50
https://www.genesi-usa.com/products/smartbook
I was really liking it, until I saw that god awful touchpad - small, no buttons and same height as the keyboard... recipe for disaster.

nullstring
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:31 pm

Perhaps this is off topic since it's not exactly what you want, but I have an AMD C-50 based Acer AO722.

My general requirements-
~12" screen. 720p
High def playback.
No fan.
Long battery life.

AO722-
11.6" screen. 720p
1080p playback.
It has a fan, but it's damn near silent unless doing something extensive like gaming.
Has a battery life of 7 to 8 hours.
$200.

Honestly, I don't think it can be beat =)

j0z0r
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:34 pm

I think netbook manufacturers are trying to reach too wide of an audience when really they need to focus on doing what they do and doing it well. I noticed exactly what you describe and decided to buy a refurb unit from the "first wave" of netbooks. I scored a Lenovo Ideapad S9 for $130 about three months ago. It was upgraded to a Gb of RAM from the factory 512. The battery life is around 7 hours with XP, and more like 10 if you use a Linux distro that can scale processor frequencies. It's everything I wanted, minus that the SD slot doesn't work properly. But for the price I can't really complain. Also I learned later that Lenovo is made in China... So much for supporting American made, lol

obarthelemy
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:34 pm

Lenovo is actually Chinese, they're the ones who bought IBM's PC business when IBM exited the PC business.

linuxboi
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:06 am

I've got a HP2133 mini, it's only a 1200mhz CPU but has 2GiG of ram an awesome 1280x768 8.9" screen and very clear. Runs Windows 7 perfectly.

bnolsen
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:22 am

I've got a couple of the original acer aspire ones. One with a crappy SSD and the other with a hard drive. Both have 3 cell batteries (yuk).

I do find the 10" 1024x600 limiting and more importantly I really would think HDMI is necessary to make a netbook really meet my needs for portable/docked computing.

Next week staples is supposed to have an 11.6" samsung with a sandy bridge core i3 clocked at 1.25 on sale for $350. Except for the battery (which will probably need to be replaced), this should definitely do whatever you might need and do it far into the future.

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Luny
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:44 am

I can recommend the ASUS transformer Eee pad. If you don't want a 'full' XP / Linux OS, they do the job. Plenty of apps, nicely built machines. The keyboard dock is very convenient, adding a second battery and it is a nice keyboard too. Not sure why they put the trackpad on it, personally I hate trackpads, but it seems pointless with touchscreen.

But of course there is the price, not as cheap as an Eee PC, but worth it if you can stretch your budget that far. Also with the new one coming out, you might get good prices in January. Maybe!
Luny

kevco
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:19 am

Sorry to dig up a somewhat older thread but I was recently googling around to try to find a cheap ARM notebook without much luck beyond the Hercules eCafe.  So I came here and a search found this thread.  The Genesi EFIKA MX Smartbook seems like a nice little machine.  I found a review that seems pretty happy with it and their blog seems like they are somewhat actively supporing it.

Does anyone have any first hand experience with the Genesi or Hercules netbooks?  I realize the mass-market appeal of these is limited but it seems like there is a niche to be filled for an inexpensive but well made ARM laptop running linux.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:48 am

If you want a really cheap ARM based netbook, there's always the Disgo/Allfine models...

The only thing to recommend them is size and weight, they have an elderly 248MHz ARM processor, 64MB (!) RAM and 2GB "NAND-flash" for storage.  Display is 7" and there is a wierd arrangement for the USB ports - 2 are HID input, 1 is data i/o. They run WinCE 5 Pro, a neanderthal version from about 2004 which can't be removed....  They cost between £30 and £70 on eBay.  I wouldn't say they were worth buying, unless you want a curiosity!



As for Windows 7 Starter, its just a ploy by Microsoft to double dip the consumer.  First they buy a netbook with "Win 7 installed" and don't know/see that its actually the Starter edition.  Of curse, they've paid for Win 7 Starter because its licence was part of the Netbook cost.  Then once they get it home and find how limited Starter is, they go out and buy a copy of Home Premium, either "upgrade" or retail.

Kerching!!!
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

prodata
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:33 pm

Jongoleur said:


As for Windows 7 Starter, its just a ploy by Microsoft to double dip the consumer. ....Then once they get it home and find how limited Starter is...


That may well be and not wishing to pick an argument, but do many such buyers really, seriously find it limited? I would have guessed that most netbook buyers know very well that a netbook is not designed for use in a networked business environment and couldn't care less about some of the fripperies like Aero not being available. I can't say that I've ever come across anything that I might reasonably have expected to want to do on a Win7S netbook that I can't. Now if you want to talk about why Intel are so stupidly restrictive on Atom use in netbooks (1GB RAM max, no more than a 10" screen @ 1024x600 etc etc) then I'm with you all the way.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:02 pm

prodata said:

... but do many such buyers really, seriously find it limited? I would have guessed that most netbook buyers know very well that a netbook is not designed for use in a networked business environment and couldn't care less about some of the fripperies like Aero not being available. I can't say that I've ever come across anything that I might reasonably have expected to want to do on a Win7S netbook that I can't. Now if you want to talk about why Intel are so stupidly restrictive on Atom use in netbooks (1GB RAM max, no more than a 10" screen @ 1024x600 etc etc) then I'm with you all the way.
A fair number must, otherwise Tesco wouldn't have Starter-Home Premium upgrade packs alongside the netbooks, and when I was in the market for one myself (end 2010) I saw a few people picking up the cheapest netbook on offer (a Compaq Mini) and the Windows "upgrade".  I agree about the limited spec but when I did plump for the Compaq, I popped a 320 gig hard disk and 2 gig of ram into it (pricewise, the upgrades were still cheaper than the netbooks that came with the spec as standard).  It runs Ubuntu 10.10 very happily but as I'm not particularly enthused about the way Ubuntu is trending, I may put Fedora or Debian on it to match the Rasp Pi when it arrives....
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

hippy
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:49 pm

nobbit said:

For the past year or so I"ve been looking to buy a new netbook, but the case seems hopeless. I guess I have the wrong demands, but I really can"t find what I want on the market. All the netbooks out there are now sold with 250 GB hard drives and at least 1.2 GHz processors. That"s not wrong per se, but they never seem to drop in price. Quite the opposite, in fact. They"re increasing in size, weight and price.
I thought original netbooks were brilliant, limited in what they could do but a perfect fit for what they were intended to do.

But people started to complain they were limited, slow, not capable of DVD editing while streaming HD video and other such nonsense and the manufacturers were only too delighted to give more, bump the specs up and increase prices. Netbooks thus became laptops going under the netbook name.

The original netbook concept was simply drowned, those who still want what was a netbook are simply not catered for. A great shame. Manufacturers may not be wrong in catering to customer demands but I think they were wrong, or at least short-sighted, in abandoning those who were entirely happy with what netbooks were. The best hope now is a cheap tablet that fits the bill.

Prometheus
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:25 pm

kevco said:


Sorry to dig up a somewhat older thread but I was recently googling around to try to find a cheap ARM notebook without much luck beyond the Hercules eCafe.  So I came here and a search found this thread.  The Genesi EFIKA MX Smartbook seems like a nice little machine.  I found a review that seems pretty happy with it and their blog seems like they are somewhat actively supporing it.

Does anyone have any first hand experience with the Genesi or Hercules netbooks?  I realize the mass-market appeal of these is limited but it seems like there is a niche to be filled for an inexpensive but well made ARM laptop running linux.



Thanks very much for this! From doing some Googling, it appears to be exactly what I've been after for quite a while.

There seem to be some positive views from users out there, and it looks like Genesi's customer support is very good, too.

obarthelemy
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:43 pm

I got an eCafé EX HD a while back. It's OK, actually quite hacker friendly with a switch to boot from either its internal SSD or one of its 2 SD slots, so you cant' brick it.

I'm misusing it as a home server, so I can't comment on battery life and multimedia performance, but the hardware is OK, the OS is Ubuntu 10.04 slightly tweaked. The screen is nice, the trackpad not so much (small). The I/O and keyboard are OK.

gritz
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:05 pm

Funnily enough I'm typing this on a HP 2133 netbook - 1.2GHz processor, 2 gig ram, nice bright screen, pleasant enough keyboard. I got it cheap on ebay and set it up as a dual boot - XP pro + Ubuntu 9.4. Ubuntu 9.10 broke the wifi so it's been stuck in a timewarp ever since...

Regarding the "netbooks were better three years ago" thing, I think that a lot of this is down to the (ostensibly quite reasonable but ultimately hopelessly optimistic) expectations of people who weren't the manufacturers' target customers. In my field (digital music) a lot of people got very excited about small boxes with long battery life and plenty of processing power that could be used for creation on the road, or as part of a high quality mobile recording setup.

Of course, what we all forgot is that manufacturers aren't going to damage their own notebook and laptop sales by making a small device with performance to rival the more expensive boxes. Bit obvious really, but I guess we all got carried away...

Amusingly, if I press this netbook into proper audio number crunching it's 1.2Ghz processor has about the same raw grunt as the 833MHz PIII laptop that I still use for mobile recording (the PIII has a Texas Firewire interface which is worth it's weight in gold in this application). However, the netbook is plenty agile enough for browsing - which is what it was designed for, after all.

Finally, the 2GB of ram is becoming increasingly important, what with Firefox getting increasingly hoggy with every release. [/rant mode]

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Chromatix
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Re: Rant: Netbooks were better three years ago

Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:54 pm

If you used to like Ubuntu but hate Unity, try Mint.  They hate Unity too, so they work very hard to provide a decent alternative.  They seem to have managed to hammer Gnome 3 into some semblance of usability.

I still have an old version of Ubuntu Netbook on my EeePC - one that has the space-saving Maximus window manager.  Unfortunately it also has a very much *not* space-saving app launcher which was probably designed for tablets - a sort of precursor to Unity.  Sigh.
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