Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Feature of the Moment: Netbook Review!
Ha! You'd think I'm only interested in reviewing the runways huh? Well, I have a thing for criticizing electronics too. Well, criticizing is too harsh a word, I'm more on evaluating its purpose and function. I couple of months ago, my dad bought me a netbook as a spring break gift. He really shocked me with the present because, first, I didn't take him seriously when he said he'd buy me a laptop and, second, I was dubious he'd buy me a netbook after he protested that the screen's "too small." Oh, Papa, bigger isn't always better.
And so he did purchase an ASUS Eee 1001PXD in blue. Measuring at a very compact 10.3 inches wide, 7 inches depth and 1 inch at the thinnest point, the netbook comes with a 10.1 inch screen, a neat but teeny touchpad, and a full keyboard. The touchpad and keyboard takes some time getting used to but with my pretty long digits, I found the keyboard tolerable although they are a bit too close to each other. Another note, ASUS markets the keyboard as "chiclet-style" but they really aren't modeled à la Macbook. ASUS has newer models that have true chiclet-style keyboards but I found them too small--it's like texting on a phone.
Bigger isn't always better.
The touchpad has some special features to it; others may recognize some of the commands because Apple products also feature these: two-finger scrolling, multi-touch zooming and three-finger page flipping. For reading periodicals online, I found the scrolling feature very, very convenient. Still, it's useful to purchase an auxiliary mouse in case you feel carpal tunnel is coming in too soon.
The 1001PXD comes with Windows 7 Starter edition and Microsoft Word and Excel Starter. The operating system is not too bad but I'd suggest you buy the complete Office 2010 suite. With an Intel Atom N455 processor (it's not dual core) the netbook swiftly handles office documents, music playback and internet surfing. Mind you, the netbook ships with bloatware or software that has no real use to it but ASUS decided to install them to keep the netbook's price down (as my tech wizard friend parlayed). They are easy to uninstall, and in case you're wondering what to replace the standard anti-virus software, let me tell you, Microsoft offers a lightweight, robust software called Microsoft Security Essentials. The price: $0 and available at Microsoft's website.
Regarding the screen, it's obvious it's not the biggest even in the netbook category, but it's definitely useful when dealing with office work and light multimedia use. It's not an HD screen so picking on celebs' imperfection or playing graphics-heavy video games must be deferred. Still, I enjoyed watching Youtube videos and live streams of runway shows.
Worried about memory? No problem! The 1001PXD comes with a 255 GB hard drive and 1 GB RAM. The hard drive is actually divided in two, one with 99.99 GB and the other with 117 GB. The RAM can handle regular computing tasks described above and possibly more but I'm too delicate with my precious. Nevertheless, computing with the 1001PXD is one of the most hassle-free I've ever experienced. Other features are 2 USB ports, a VGA port, a headphone jack, an SD card reader, an ethernet connector, and a slot for Lojack.
For networking, the netbook is armed with 802.11 b/g/n. Sadly, mine isn't equipped with bluetooth but I don't mind. It also has a VGA camera that is pretty decent, a speaker that leans on the low side (it won't overpower other sources of noise so external speakers are necessary for audiophiles), and a battery that just won't quit. Surely, battery power depends on what you do with the computer but expect 4-5 hours in a single charge. It's below the advertised 8 hours but, heck, 5 hours is still a lot!
Can't beat its miniature size... it's perfect for the traveling student like me.
Lastly, and I must mention this, the case of the netbook is so seamless (ASUS says it's inspired by seashells and I can see it), it makes the netbook, usually the midget ugly sister of laptops, a stunner. The lid and the wrist rest is patterned with concentric squares so it adds to the visual appeal and also evades finger marks. Genius! Trust me, an all-matte case is something that should come standard if you're finicky about smudges and the 1001PXD doesn't disappoint.
If you're interested in the ASUS Eee 1001PXD, why not hit up your local electronics dealer? Unlike other laptops or netbooks, this one won't charge an arm and a leg. This is one of the cheaper but oh so valuable netbooks you can find in the market. And you can't beat its miniature size! Perfect for the traveling student like me. I'm sure a lot of these are available online too for even less! Happy hunting, everyone.
Image from asus.com