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#172877 - 05/07/09 01:25 PM EDC Laptop!!!
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
Well, I purchased a new laptop last week. Even though the one I was issues is doing fine, I wanted something more. Three reasons were:
1. Corpororate IT has my big laptop security configured in a way that limits some of the things I want to do on it.

2. The big laptop weighs 15 lbs. It is a CAD grade machine.

3. I wanted to be able to use it on the internet wherever I went, within reason.

Enter the new Acer Aspire One micro laptop. I did some shopping around and read the reviews, and settled on getting one from Radio Shack configured for 3G and Wi-Fi ops. Admittedly, I could've put a 3G card on the big laptop, but that only solved one of my problems. I do not like hodding the extra 15 lbs around every day on the commute. The little Aspire One weighs in at 2 lbs. Yes, there are compromises, but the trade off is well worth it. I also don't have to deal with the corporate IT limits either, which prohibit any sort of IM functionality and allow corporate to spy on my usage and files any time they want.


The Aspire One from Radio Shack comes with 1 gig of ram, Windows XP SP3 loaded, and All the other basic software that makes it work. There are also the usual trial versions of McAffee and Office pre-loaded with a 30 day expiration. It also has a 160 gig HDD and a 9" SVGA-X TFT screen. The keyboard is 3/4 size, so it takes a bit of geting used to. However the mouse pad has some cool scroll and zoom features that are quite handy. Here's the link:

Radio Shack Acer Aspire One

My price on the unit out the door was $50 with a two year AT&T 3G service agreement at $60 a month. That is competitive with what I was going to have to pay monthly for the external 3G on my big laptop anyways, so that was a wash. However, adding the 3G allows me to access the internet while riding the train to and from work, and at speeds high enough to watch You Tube videos and watch news video from the local channels, so far without any pausing effect. That is exactly what I wanted. In addition, since I have a sim card installed in the unit, I can also SMS text the wife and kids, so from an emergency comms perspective I am now able to place a regular voice call by cellphone, email, text, VoIP, IM, etc from anywhere I can get 3G coverage, which is considerable.

I do need to get an external CD drive (USB) so I can load external programs that I can't download off the internet yet. I also should probably upgrade to the 6 cell battery pack, with an advertised nominal run time of about 6 hours. The 3 cell pack is good for about 2.5 hours the way I use it. Other than that, this little unit is going to remain part of my EDC for the foreseeable future. It sure was nice walking out of the store with a new laptop in my hands for around $80 after all was said and done.

For anyone with commuting computer needs like mine, I hghly recommend this littl unit.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#172882 - 05/07/09 02:25 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: benjammin]
Tyber Offline
Sheriff
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 299
Loc: ST. Paul MN
I like the ultra mobile computers.. though I cary a 15 inch HP with Verizon card.

The one thing that I have learned is that as soon as you attach a USB hard drive or CD/DVD ROM to the ultra portable computers the battery starts to quickly discharge it's battery. But then again how often do we run the externals.

That sounds like a perfect EDC Computer..


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#172887 - 05/07/09 03:48 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: ]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
I won't run the peripherals unless I have ac power on. No need to really as an external drive use is a planned event.

I looked at Sony, Samsung, Dell, HP, and this Acer, and they're all pretty close on specs, but with the package deal on this unit and the big discount, I had to nod to it. I think I chose well.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#172891 - 05/07/09 04:08 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: ]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
I am surprised at how cheap netbooks have gotten.

Yes, they are amazingly reasonable nowadays. Even "full power" laptops are getting cheaper in many cases to compete, so the gap between netbooks and full size laptops is narrowing some.

I've been thinking of getting a netbook lately, too. Although not very powerful, for things like email and web browsing, you don't need a ton of processing power. Even for work, we all use Terminal Services anyway, so all the heavy lifting happens on the server, and not on our end, so there's little need to have oodles of RAM and hard drive space to run today's resource-hungry apps like Office.

Netbooks are definitely more grab 'n go friendly these days. Why simply store important documents on a thumb drive when you can also take a computer to actually read that thumb drive with you?! (Sorry, benjammin's excitement for his netbook is rubbing off on me.)

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#172894 - 05/07/09 04:59 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: Arney]
Tyber Offline
Sheriff
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 299
Loc: ST. Paul MN
OH I would say you did chose very well.


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#172897 - 05/07/09 06:08 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: Tyber]
el_diabl0 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/31/06
Posts: 301
Loc: NE Ohio
I am looking into getting about 30 of these for a mobile lab for the school I work for.

How is the battery life?
_________________________
Improvise, adapt, and overcome

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#172905 - 05/07/09 08:17 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: benjammin]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
How capable would such a unit be for running MS PowerPoint slideshows with embedded video clips, with the outputs being piped through to an LCD projector and externally powered speakers? This little Acer setup would be great for my training sessions if it could do this task well.

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#172906 - 05/07/09 08:27 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: Glock-A-Roo]
jshannon Offline
Addict

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 587
Loc: North Texas
Wonder what is the smallest of these small computers that could double as your edc digital television using a usb device/antenna?

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#172907 - 05/07/09 08:28 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: benjammin]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2166
Loc: Bucks County PA
++1 On the Acer, it's a really solid performer for basic tasks, and the price - man that's a good price.

In terms of other makes and models, the ASUS series of netbooks are good too, the Dell Mini-9 is good.

The 3G data plans @ $60 a month works out to about $90 a month with all the taxes here in PA, so the true cost of the Acer is quite a bit more, but if you're gonna buy wireless broadband, and you only plan to use one device, it's a good deal and AT&T 3G is widely available and good, except in New York metro, where Verizon is a lot better.

The think I like most about the Acer is that it's got a decent screen & keyboard.

In related news - ASUS will soon be releasing an all in one Monitor/computer/TV for about $500 - it's a netbook stuffed into a 22" LCD panel with a bluetooth keyboard.

Great time for cool hardware.


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#172908 - 05/07/09 08:32 PM Re: EDC Laptop!!! [Re: benjammin]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2166
Loc: Bucks County PA
One more thing about a netbook as EDC. You'd be amazed at how well OpenOffice 3.0 works as an MS Office Suite.

I also recommend using Truecrypt on your traveling files and if you DO decide to let your browser save passwords, use Firefox and set a "master password" which will encrypt your password store. If you don't set a master password your stored passwords are stored as plain text.

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