Computers and Gadgets

>So, you all know that my laptop was stolen and I lost a bunch of valuable stuff…yadda, yadda. Old news.

Well, yesterday, when my daughter’s computer wouldn’t boot up (the one I spent hours fixing and am using until my new laptop comes – now not until the beginning of the year) I had a horrible flashback of losing the one chapter I had rewritten of the new WIP.

That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I headed to the stores. Couldn’t write anyway…right?

I had been researching netbooks, trying to decide whether or not I wanted to forgo the heavy, clunky laptops and get a little mini notebook instead, and ultimately decided against it. So, I had some basic knowledge of there makeups–overall quite similar.

I live in a small town and even the Best Buy and Circuit City that had been in the next largest city 30 minutes away closed last year. Needless to say, I was limited in my options. I looked at Walmart, Office Max, Staples and Target and much to my surprise, I found my best deal at Target.

I’m no computer whiz, but from my research I’ve gathered that mini’s aren’t all that different from each other. They don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. Most have the same processors, same RAM, etc. The big differences are in the operating system, the battery life and software.

I’m not married to any particular OS. I’ve used Microsoft since the dawn of time and have loved all of them (except maybe millennium). So, to me, whether the netbook ran XP or 7 or whatever, wasn’t a concern. I did have someone tell me (can’t remember who, but he was a computer geek) that laptops don’t run as well with 7 as they do with XP. Whatever. I’m going for the deal.

I bought: HP 110 mini with 6cell (longer life) battery.

I looked at the Acer, the Dell, the Toshiba and the HP. The important elements for me were the keyboard comfort and battery life, as I use it for writing 1st, surfing 2nd.

The Acer’s keyboard is just a tiny bit smaller…and these keyboards, while they love to taut 92% of the original keyboard size, you definitely feel that 8% loss. Even another 1% is too much.

The Toshiba keyboard had raised keys. And that, in my opinion, is just wrong.

I’m a big Dell fan and liked the keyboard size and feel, but the only one I could find available for immediate purchase at a decent price was at Walmart and they only had the Nickelodeon series. Now, I love Nickelodeon, raised my kids on their cartoons, but I think it would be difficult to be considered a serious writer with neon green slime running down the cover of my laptop. Just sayin‘….

Ultimately, for price, keyboard size and quality, I went with the HP. Here’s a quick comparison for you:

HP 110:
Target: $330 w/6 cell battery
Walmart: $350 w/3 cell battery

Extended warranty:
Target: $45 – 3yr including all accidents except liquid spills
Walmart: $60 – 2yr w/ no accidental coverage – normal wear and tear only

The office supply stores were 1) little more expensive and 2) charge more for their extended warranties.

So, there you have it…my take on choosing a mini for your writing/surfing needs.

Pretty happy with mine, although I didn’t call Dell and cancel my order for the regular laptop. A mini is a great little machine for portability and flexibility. It’s not a replacement for a full-fledged computer. At least, not yet.