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Cartwheel Newsletter May 2009 - Netbooks4


									By now, you’ve probably heard of the “netbook” – an ultra-light, inexpensive, and very portable class of
laptops that’s recently been taking the world of consumer computers by storm. More and more of our
customers have been asking about them – which are the best, how they should be configured, how they
can best be used… and whether they’re actually robust enough to be useful for business or home users.


What makes a netbook a netbook?
Netbooks are primarily designed for e-mailing and internet access. Their processors and hard drives
aren’t as powerful or as large as those in most other personal computers, so they’re best used for “light
computing”: accessing web-based applications such as online e-mail and Google Docs. Netbooks are
usually outfitted with Windows XP or Linux instead of Windows Vista, which requires more processing
power. Netbooks can be very small – the smallest has a screen of about 5 inches, though some are as
large as 13 inches diagonal. Most weigh less than 2 or 3 pounds, and all of them cost significantly less
than traditional laptops; in fact, some are less than $100.

Why are they so popular?
It may be a sign of the times that people are flocking toward less expensive netbooks and abandoning
expensive, high-powered desktop and laptop computers. But we wouldn’t be surprised if netbooks’
popularity continues to rise after the recession is over. Why? Because as more and more applications
become available online, “cloud computing” is becoming a practical option for both individuals and
businesses. Instead of accessing e-mail through Outlook or writing documents in Microsoft Word, people
can use web-based applications like OWA (Outlook Web Access) or Gmail, Google docs, and Acrobat
Online to handle day-to-day tasks and communication. The internet has become the go-to place for
everything from storing photo albums to social networking and streaming video from sites like Facebook
and YouTube... and soon, it will be a viable platform for work as well.

Is a netbook for me?
Even though netbooks’ rising popularity and low prices can be appealing, they’re not for everyone. The
netbook user experience can be significantly different than your old laptop’s, and applications such as
Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, or graphics programs may be too slow to use. Before you buy, spend some
time at a computer store using one. You’ll have a much better sense of whether they’ll fit your needs and

Some things to look out for:
•   Is the keyboard big enough for you? Are your hands comfortable when resting near the trackpad?
•   Is the screen large enough and bright enough? A smaller screen might frustrate those who don’t like
    squinting at tiny text.
•   Which operating system is it using? Are you comfortable with learning a new one, no matter how
    small the learning curve?
•   Are you easily frustrated when your computer is slow? Remember that netbooks will be slower than
    you may be used to, especially if you're running big programs.

6 West 18th Street
2nd Floor
New York NY 10011
Tel 212 206 9619
Which do we recommend?
If you’d like a netbook, we have a few to recommend:

Dell Inspiron Mini 9
The Dell Mini 9 features an 8.9 inch LED display and a solid state hard drive. It’s very light, and comes
loaded with the Windows XP operating system – which will be familiar to most users. The hard drive is
small, so it’s not a good option if you plan to store a lot of music or video files. Dell occasionally shows
this model on sale for less than $200 – so if you keep a watch on it, you may be able to take advantage
of the low price.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 and Mini 12
Both options are similar to the Dell Mini 9 – but they feature larger screens (10 and 12 inches,
respectively), a little bit more storage space, and a more comfortable keyboard.

Asus Eee PC
The smallest Eee PC weighs about 2 lbs and has 7” screen. Eee PCs have a GNU Linux operating system
that’s relatively easy to learn and use – and can also be outfitted with Windows XP for users who’d rather
stick with a familiar operating system. Larger versions of the Eee have as much as 170GB of hard drive
space. And they’re all energy efficient – some have up to 9 hours of battery life.

Some final thoughts
Netbooks are good options for some people, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road and online.
If you accept their limitations, you’ll be pretty happy with them. However, if cost isn’t a big concern,
consider that for around $1,200, you can have the best of both worlds: a powerful, light laptop with all
the features of a bigger computer. And while a $100 computer seems like a steal, the good ones aren’t
that cheap.

If you want to know more about netbooks, or you’d like to talk to one of our techs about them, contact us
at 212-206-9619. We’ll be happy to share our thoughts and recommendations, and can also assist you
in purchasing one that fits your needs.

Best regards,
The Cartwheel Team

6 West 18th Street
2nd Floor
New York NY 10011
Tel 212 206 9619

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