Laptop or Netbook
Laptop or Netbook?
Working with Intel, a lot of people imagine that you get free computer chips galore and laptops piling high in your garage. Sadly, it isn't true. But being a technology enthusiast, I do tend to be very interested in the latest PCs.
Lately I have been looking over the weekly ads looking for some inspiration on what to buy for a new laptop. I have really zeroed in on 2 categories because I definitely want to go mobile: laptop and netbook. While I definitely like full-sized laptops, the one feature I continue to want is really good energy efficiency. Since my desire is to go mobile, I want whatever I get to last a good long time on one charge and not to be plugged in all the time.
The other challenge has been that I also like bigger screens. Unfortunately, the bigger your LCD screen, the less battery life you typically get. So while svelte 10" and 11" screens really sip electricity, the luxurious 16" and 17" screens take bigger slurps. The other side effect is that the bigger your screen, the heavier your laptop gets. It seems that the perfect laptop requires a sort of zen mastery of size, weight, battery cells and the perfect blend of components. Well for me, it all starts with Intel inside but there are so many great choices it is hard to decide!
As I looked around a local computer retailer, it became clear to me that the 10 and 11" screens common on netbooks simply weren't big enough for me personally. I had visited a few of my local retailers and discovered that netbooks were an acceptable experience for web basics. However, I really am a multi-tasker at heart. I was willing to live without an optical drive (netbooks typically don't have them) but I really do value snappy performance. Sorry Mr. netbook.
Now the choice became whether to get an Ultra Thin Laptop with one of Intel's ULV processors:
Or one of the sexy new 2010 Core(TM) i5 processor-based laptops:
I really liked the Ultra Thin laptops. Some of them have AMAZING battery life. But I have to admit that I really wanted a 15" or bigger screen and at minimum an Intel Core i3 processor. One trick that I have been using since I no longer subscribe to a newspaper is to click the weekly ads link from the big box retailers. Doing this every Sunday morning gives you all the great deals of the week. I also regularly checked in with online retailers. But I found that there are a number of new sites that search for the deals for you! This one is regularly featured on Laptopmag.com:
These can save you a lot of time and turn up some great online coupons (use your favorite search engine for even more options). So what did I finally get? I found a terrific deal on a Core i5 laptop with a 17" screen. One of the more remarkable things I learned was that I could actually get pretty good battery life with a 17" screen if I used the new 2010 Core family! And it's not terribly heavy (6.3lbs ). So far I have been really pleased with the performance. It's a little slower than my Core i7 desktop but it's still got plenty of snap.