Martin Tithonium (tithonium) wrote,
Martin Tithonium
tithonium

So, I've been looking for a new... something. I gave my 17" Powerbook to beaq some time back, and have been using my work-supplied macbook air for sitting around the living room. I'd like to get something else to be my new personal 'laptop', but I'm not sure I really need a full power - and full sized - laptop. So I've been looking at UMPCs, handhelds, netbooks, etc.

My requirements:
  • must be able to run a multi-network IM client. AIM, MSN, Y!IM, and Jabber support minimum.
  • must be able to run firefox.
  • must be able to run thunderbird or have a compellingly good alternative email client.
  • must be able to run a terminal to ssh out.
  • must have a physical keyboard that I can type and, when needed, code on.
I'd prefer to spend less than $400, but if I found the ZOMGPERFECT device, I'd be willing to go higher. Absolute cap is a kilobuck. Which pushes a new mac laptop off the table.

What I really think I want is the Raon Everun. But the best price I've found from anywhere I'm willing to purchase from is $600. And that's frankly more than I'm willing to pay for something I haven't been able to touch beforehand. I don't imagine there's anywhere local that would have them. Fry's didn't, and it's not the sort of thing Best Buy or Circuit City would be likely to have.

So, then I was looking at the HP 2133. User upgradable hard drive, user upgradable ram. So I could buy the cheapest version, with the smallest drive and least memory, for $300 now, then upgrade later when I find it isn't enough and SSD drives have gotten cheaper.
But, then I went to Fry's and played with one. It's bigger than the pictures make it look, and the keys are huge and wobbly and just UGH, no. I'd hate hate hate it.

Target is carrying the EEE now, so I went over to westwood to look at them. The ones they have on display are non-working models with plastic panels over the keyboard. You can't even tap at the probably-not-the-same-as-the-real-ones-anyway keyboard to see if it feels okay. Lame. BUT, I did discover that they're a lot /smaller/ than the pictures make them look. They've got a better selection online, and their prices range from $270 to $380, give or take. Their prices might actually be better than Amazon's, tho Target's site doesn't give model numbers. From a quick google search, not so much with the upgrading of ram or drive.

Fry's also had the Fujitsu Lifebook. It's bloody TINY. It totally fits any criterion I might have for portability. I could fit it into a jeans pocket if I had to. The drawbacks are that it's very expensive and the keyboard is small enough I'm not sure I could code on it at all well, or even carry on an IM conversation comfortably. I can adapt to just about any size keyboard, and have coded on Atari Portfolios and HP 100LXs, but I didn't have to pay for those. If this one cost $500 or less, it would probably win on the size factor alone.

Finally, again while I was at Fry's, I looked at the Acer Aspire One for the first time. It's smaller than the 2133, has a /quite/ acceptable keyboard in terms of both size and feel, and the cheapest model comes with the same cpu speed as the most expensive 2133 (1.6GHz). Looks like it's got a ram slot for upgrades, but it's unclear whether you can replace the drive. Their website is very thin on useful information.

I've also looked at the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, which would run me around $460 even with the oh-so-useless employee purchase plan. I can't remember why I dismissed this as an option when I looked at it before. Maybe disgust at the purchase plan.


Ok. So. What haven't I looked at that I should? And, do you have any concrete suggestions of which one to choose? Or which ones I should definitely drop from consideration?
Tags: computers, shopping, shopping is hard
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