Looking for a small, but somewhat powerful laptop/netbook
July 14, 2010 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a small, but somewhat powerful laptop/netbook. Ideally, would have the following features: - around a 10' - 11" screen - 2 Gig or more RAM - Windows 7 - Available now & not a Dell * Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) More details inside...

I'm going to be traveling a lot soon & would like a portable laptop / netbook that I can use. Mostly, I'll be using it for reading/writing emails, reviewing documents, listening to podcasts (itunes) and watching movies (quicktime). Occasionally, I'd like to be able to use Adobe Photoshop & Microsoft Visio if I have to even if it isn't optimal (I have a desktop for that).

I've looked at the HP DM1Z, but it isn't available and I've had bad experiences with Dell's in the past so no Adamo for me.

Having a SSD hard drive isn't crucial, but I was told that it would be very helpful. Price is not really that big of a deal, but I'd like it to be cheaper than a Macbook Air w/ SSD
posted by cuando to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you can accept a 9" screen instead, this sounds very similar to the Asus EEE PC 900A I bought refurbished for $170, then spent an extra $90 to upgrade it to 2 GB RAM and a 16GB faster SSD than the stock 4GB one that it came with. It came with a strange Linux version called Xandros, which I switched to a dual boot of WinXP and Puppeee. I've heard that people have put Windows 7 on these. I don't watch movies on mine, but it should do everything else. I've heard that other people watch movies on them, though. The keyboard isn't full size, and takes some getting used to. It's been working great for over a year.
posted by rfs at 9:18 PM on July 14, 2010

If you want somewhat powerful, stay away from netbooks. You want a notebook with a C2D ULV processor. The SSD is easily added on as a second purchase.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:56 PM on July 14, 2010

My recommendation is this:


(sorry long link :D) But what i think is you should get the "recommended configuration" but get the best CPU option for an extra 50$ for some extra umpth when you doing things like photoshop. The built in graphics card should give you light photo shopping abilities. I have this laptop but its parts are a little older. It has an ATI 3200 instead of the 5430. Really kicking myself for not waiting a little bit longer for that to roll around. But I love it regardless. I can play light games and the internet is very snappy. There is an option to have a 128gig hard drive installed for an extra 280$ if you really want it that bad. But if you were tech savvy enough, I would get my own SSD and install that. SSDs are not all the same. Some are dramatically faster than others. Some have problems with locking up, I can't say what the SSD is that they can give you, but I doubt they will give you the best one. Then on top of that, they will probably charge a premium for it.


If you really want to know what your getting for your money, it would be wise to buy something like this and install it yourself, its cheaper, and you know what kind of performance you should be expecting. Also, since you would have to reinstall windows 7, you don't have to deal with any bloatware :) If your not the type that doesn't like messing with their computers, you can take the gamble and get what they give you, but you have been warned :D

Its a 13in laptop, but the difference of a few inches means a huge leap in performance between this and a netbook. You can forget running photoshop on netbooks (even with an ION netbook, your still stuck with the Atom) for the Atom won't be able to crunch enough numbers to keep up. Keep in mind, raw ghz don't mean anything. So the 1.5ghz CPU you can get with the DM3z is significantly faster than a 1.6ghz Atom.

I have this laptop, I love it, seems to fit well with what you want, hope I helped :D
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 10:08 PM on July 14, 2010

Have you looked at the Lenovo X-series Thinkpads? Small screens, light weight, good batteries, nice keyboards. They come as powerful as you're willing to spend, from $450 to $2000+.
posted by zjacreman at 11:55 PM on July 14, 2010

I'm holding out for my next upgrade: Asus EEE 1215N. It should be released in August. It doesn't come with SSD, but I'm going to upgrade.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:02 AM on July 15, 2010

If an 11.6" screen isn't too large, you might consider an Acer TimelineX. The two options are a Core i3 processor with 3 GB of RAM for about $599 or a Core i5 processor with 4 GB of RAM for $699, though the latter configuration appears to be out of stock everywhere at the moment (but should be available in a couple of weeks).
posted by capsizing at 5:12 AM on July 15, 2010

Probably would not be ideal, but play around with an iPad. It might do most of what you want it for.
posted by empath at 5:49 AM on July 15, 2010

I have a Samsung NC10, by no means powerful - basic netbook: 1GB RAM, Windows XP, 160GB HD, 10" matte screen, 93% sized keyboard, 802.11 b/g, SD card reader, 3 USB ports. It's lightweight, feels comfortable to type on, doesn't get overly hot, and I get 6-8 hours of battery life. I slip it into my backpack (with a padded pocket for a laptop) and carry it all day easily. I could bump it up to 2GB RAM, but so far I haven't found the need to. Probably I would if I went to Windows 7.

This is a 2008 model and Samsung has since come out with newer models, but the hardware specs seem amazingly quite similar (as they do with most netbooks on the market).
posted by indigo4963 at 7:01 AM on July 15, 2010

I am typing this on an Alienware M11x. Meets all your specs, and only $800 direct. Yes, Alienware is owned by Dell, but the build quality is excellent.
posted by Master Gunner at 7:55 AM on July 15, 2010

If you're willing to go up a bit in size, the Lenovo X201 is an excellent excellent ultraportable. I got mine a few months ago and I'm loving it.
posted by kmz at 10:40 AM on July 15, 2010

Lenovo X201 was recommended to me by a friend at Canonical (Ubuntu). I'm tempted, but wouldn't mind a better screen for the money.
posted by Freaky at 11:05 AM on July 15, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'll go through all of them and report back when I've made my purchase.

Empath: Sorry the iPad is really not the right device for me. I write a lot of emails & like I mentioned I occasionally need to use Photoshop & Visio.
posted by cuando at 1:02 PM on July 15, 2010

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