Mini Notebook

Without a doubt, the most exciting computing product to appear in recent years has been the mini notebook. Sometimes called a netbook or sub-notebook, it is cheap and portable and definitely not a toy. It has many of the features of a regular notebook but falls short of its processing power. The growing popularity of the mini notebook has resulted in a shift away from desktop computers and a greater use of wireless technology. Buyers have many brands and models to choose from, but the features of each one should be reviewed carefully. The cheapest models can be quite different to models that are only slightly more expensive. Popular brands include the Asus Eee PC, Acer Aspire One, MSI Wind, and the Lenova IdeaPad.

Many notebook owners question why they need a mini notebook, given that current models are only useful for email and browsing websites, something which a regular notebook can already do. They cannot run intensive applications, such as video processors or graphics editors, and they have limited storage and connectivity options. One reason for the success of the mini notebook has been the shift to using these applications on the internet, a practice often referred to as cloud computing. End users only need a simple terminal and internet access to use applications that run on powerful computers and store their data in huge databases.

The mini notebook looks like a regular notebook but is different in many ways. Some features are good, like the minimal weight and cost, but other features are not so good, like the slower processor and smaller screen. The weight of a regular notebook is between three and twelve pounds, but a mini notebook normally weighs less than three pounds. The weight is less because it has a smaller screen and battery, and also because some models do not have an optical disk drive. A solid state drive is used in place of a regular hard drive to save more weight, reduce power usage, and improve battery life. The most common processor used in them is the Intel Atom, and the most common video graphics chip used is the Intel GMA.

The keyboard and touchpad on a mini notebook are slightly smaller than those found on a regular notebook. Typing with a keyboard that small can be very slow, and it starts to feel uncomfortable after a while. A USB notebook mouse can be used in place of the touchpad for more accurate cursor control. Screen sizes vary between seven and ten inches, and most screens have a native resolution of 1024×600. This is adequate for emails and for browsing most websites, but it may be hard to see detail in small photos. Some models have glossy screens instead of matte ones, while other models have touch screens.

The limited features and performance of a mini notebook are less of a problem when it is used as a client terminal to access websites and rich internet applications. This requires excellent internet connectivity, and practically all models have Wi-Fi wireless capability. They can connect to the internet using one of the many wireless hotspots that are located in public places, such as cafes and airport terminals. Some hotspots are provided for free but many require upfront payment or a monthly fee. Many models lack an Ethernet port but wired networking can be done with a USB port.

The design of a mini notebook usually involves a lot of compromises, especially with the cheaper models. Battery life varies between two and eleven hours, depending on how many cells the battery has. There is typically no optical disc drive, which means that software installations and file transfers have to be done with a USB flash drive, SDHC memory card, or over a network connection. While some models have Windows Vista installed, many do not because they fail to meet the system requirements. Instead, they use Windows XP, Windows 7 or one of the many free Linux distributions. Apple’s tablet computer, iPad, runs Mac OS.

This Mini Notebook Review is Written/Updated on Oct 21st, 2010 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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