Sunday, December 14, 2008

How To Choose a Netbook : Tips

Netbook is booming!

Within a year after Asus release their first UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) EEE PC 2G, now we have soo many UMPC (now also called Netbook) to choose. Not only the big brands like Asus, HP, Acer and Lenovo, smaller brands are also come up with their latest netbook such as Zyrex (local), MSI, Benq, and Axioo.

With too many netbooks to pick, how can we select the one for us? below are few items to consider:

a. CPU: most netbooks now are using intel Atom N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache), the older ones use intel Celeron ULV (mostly Asus EEE earlier generation). HP Mini Note uses VIA instead of Intel

b. RAM: most netbooks now equipped with 1GB RAM DDR2, some can be upgraded to 2GB

c. Screen Size, dimension, weight : most netbooks now have 8.9" LCD, some have 10" LCD (eg. zyrex, Ideapad S10, Axioo Pico), while older netbooks have 7" LCD (EEE 8G and older). Dont worry about VGA memory, you will not playing hi-res game with this gadget. Most netbooks are within the same size range (25x19x3) and weigh 1.2kg, except Asus EEE older generation (22x18x3) and weigh 0.9kg

d. Storage : older netbooks use SSD (solid state drive) with max storage of 20GB, nowadays many netbooks already use HD with storage up to 160GB

e. Bluetooth, Wifi, Modem, LAN, 3G, Card reader, USB slot, Webcam : Not many netbooks have bluetooth, but most if not all of them will have Wifi and LAN connection. Also most netbooks don't have internal dial up modem. Acer aspire one at the moment is the only one with internal 3G slot, so you directly insert your 3G chip into the machine. Card reader is standard for most netbook, and good netbooks will have 3 USB slot. I think we need many USB slot since we may have to connect to many external devices, such as optical drive and external HD. Webcam is also a standard feature in current netbooks, either VGA (0.3MP) or 1.3MP.

g. Warranty and After Sales Service : most netbooks come with 1 yr warranty. I think most of them are made in Asia (China, Malaysia, Indonesia) anyway so after sales service and parts availability are so-so. Unless you are in the State where 24hr technical support hotline is available and running.

f. Price and design. Basically all netbooks now have more or less the same specs, the only differences are price and design. Therefore, the KEY CRITERIA is the design of the netbook itself. Dont look at the brochure, the will fool you. Most brochure are not accurate, the will simply put a picture of a similar type, not the real unit, especially if they are the latest release. So you have to go to the stores and look for your self. Not all white colors are the same, some of them looks cheap.

Happy hunting!