After using a netbook for a few weeks I’m tracking back to a post I wrote when I bought the HP mini. I’ve also used a Dell.
The first reaction to this machine is, "Oh, that’s cute!" And it is. Netbooks look like their larger cousins, full feature laptops. The HP was cosmetically more appealing than its competitors when it arrived.
This appearance may be a liability, however. It may lead to the expectation the machine will also do what a laptop does, and it can’t. It isn’t made to perform at that level. Disappointment follows.
Netbooks are made to access the Internet and read email. They will play video and audio files and display photos. They do these things barely adequately. To expect more is to court frustration.
I’ve carried the netbook with me on the road. Its light weight is a distinct advantage. Its performance is hardly better than a Blackberry for email, however. I actually prefer the Blackberry because it’s far less frustrating to use and does what I want with greater speed.
Typing on the netbook, even with its wider keyboard is a chore for me. My fingers don’t travel the compact space easily.Typing longer notes is a trial with too many errors. I revert to one-finger typing and I can accomplish thumb typing on the Blackberry with greater ease and accuracy.
The netbook can become overworked easily. Attempting to type a blog post, review it and make corrections can be too much. Downloading photos taxes the system. Deleting email in bulk can make you think it’s locked up. It wasn’t made for this, remember.
Controlling the scroll rate on the touchpad is hit or miss with me despite slowing it down in preferences. It easily scrolls past where I want to go. You can use the arrow keys but the touchpad is more convenient and intuitive. To do this I have to think about it. Intuitive is better .Otherwise it’s just cumbersome.
The HP will display a full screen by pressing f11. This eliminates the toolbar and gives a fuller view of a webpage. In addition, most browsers allow you to hit control plus (still can’t figure out how to access the "plus" key) to zoom in.
I’ve concluded the netbook won’t replace my laptop on the road and that was my main reason for buying it. It does what it’s supposed to do. (Barely) It looks great. It’s wonderfully light weight. Yet with all this going for it, it doesn’t do what I need and what it does I can do with other appliances with less frustration. So it will stay home and probably collect dust unless someone else in the family takes a liking to it.
Never the less, I’ll bet these things sell by the millions because they’re so appealing. And I’ll bet many users will accept the compromises and love the frustrating little critters. Just not me.