Sunday, August 12, 2012

I May Have Found Writer Netbook Nerdvana

hpminiI’m a computer nerd, but the focus of my nerdhood has been netbooks since the first tiny EEE pc came out. I owned it, in white, at the 7 inch intro size. I wore it out and later gave it away.  After that came the Lenovo S10 at 10 inches and several others—the Acer Apsire One, which would have been close to perfect if not for a buggy system restore and nearly impossible to replace (and unreliable) plug that liked to short.

I’ve been a Fujitsu gal since forever, and all my full sized notebooks are Fujitsu now. Ahmed and I both love their Lifebook tablet series. My last purchase was a gorgeous little mini tablet from them, and I did love it.  Still do, but Max tripped me in the kitchen and sent it sailing through the air. Even with the case cracked, it still zooms along happily with duct tape on the frame. But I decided, what with me living on netbooks, to replace it anyway.  I bought a Haanspree Haansbook that turned out to have been used in some… err… interesting and not cool ways. Returned that sucker tut suite.

Enter my latest obsession. Where has this been all my life?

The HP Mini 300-11037NR
3GB 160 ghz Nvidia Ion
Windows 7 Premium and a Dual Boot Windows 8

For the absolute first time in my nerdy obsession with netbooks, I have something that actually exceeds every spec.  The battery life was repped at 6.25 hours, but I’ve gotten 7 twice without draining it. (In fact, the last check showed it had 25% remaining when I plugged it back into AC power.)  If you are a Verizon person you may recognize this as their broadband netbook.  Mine is not a Verizon purchase, but has identical specs with the exception of the upgrade to 3GB.  *Note: I was not gaming or watching a lot of video during the battery usage. Mostly online surfing, but with several tabs open while also running virus software and Open Office.

It’s 12” with an 11 inch screen that is ultrabrite and absolutely gorgeous.  But that’s not the best part.
keyboardhpmini Are you a writer?  If you are a writer, go find one. Buy via a direct warehouse if you must (I did). Because the keyboard is a thing of wonder and miracles. Slightly concave horizontally, it’s full-sized and a joy.  The ‘1’ key is JUST slightly smaller, but this is barely noticeable and I have not had reach issues.  Slightly springy, but with amazing reaction, the slight scooping of the keys keeps fingers resting and somehow discourages slippage without being particularly obvious. 

keysconcave I type very fast. VERY fast. This is the most comfortable keyboard I’ve ever used.  The F keys across the top are small, but that actually works for me, since it allows the rest of the keys space vertically and I use them only occasionally, and not with my fingers on the “home keys.”  My fingernails tend to get absolutely ridiculous in length, and the curl is keeping them from sliding underneath adjacent keys, too.  Not a bonus for guys, probably, but you have no idea how much damage strong nails can do—I was purchasing keys in bulk on one of my larger, 17” laptops. 

So far having Windows 7 Premium (which would overload a netbook with a smaller capacity) is more of a joy than I expected, as well.  And man, this thing is FAST. Even with that relatively weenie 160 ghz, it uses marginally less grunt power, so it zooms along.  The screen being full-size, and the ability to change resolution (disabled in Basic and Starter) is a giant bonus.

Negatives? Like most slick netbooks (the surface is super-shiny) the trackpad is pretty sensitive.  I got used to it quickly, and don’t actually use mouse commands as often as most… I prefer keystroke shortcuts.  Like most Nvidia and truebrite screens, the color leans toward blue… but in Premium 7 adjusting and tweaking is easy.  I am also dual-booting with Windows 8.  I don’t care for it, which is a bummer, since early reports looked good.  Unfortunately, FWIW, Windows 8 is shaping up to be another Vista.  Some of the experimental (new, but let’s be real) options are cool, but the interface sucks BIG-TIME, the Desktop configuration looks childish, and a lot of “improvements” feel like massive steps backward.  I’ll be removing it and sticking with 7.

Otherwise? The perfect writer’s computer.  About as close as it gets.

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