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Anyone recommend a good netbook?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jk2447, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi All, just got back from Turkey and noticed a lot of the chaps had netbooks. I've never taken them seriously TBH but having checked a few out the spec on them seems to have leaped right up! The kind of things I'll be wanting to do are obviously Word, Excel etc but also maybe my CBT's, MP3's and possibly a movie when I'm out and about. 2GB Ram ideally but I could just upgrade this myself. Anyone have any thoughts for me? Checking review sites is a waste of time because I found one rated very highly, but it was now outdated and its better performing model now scores lower for something daft like a glossy finish :S
    Thanks all
    Jim
     
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  2. cisco lab rat

    cisco lab rat Megabyte Poster

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    I have been using an acer one D250 for the last year, running XP and Linux, I can't fault it. I get 6 hours of battery life out of it without any trouble, 160gb drive, with 1gb of memory.

    I use it for pretty much everything and now you can't pick it up for less than 200 of your english pounds
     
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  3. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

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    Check the RAM can be upgraded, I've seen a few netbooks where it can't. Some in the range supported by me can only take 1GB.
    I've also seen netbooks where not all the USB ports are fully functional (i.e. recommended mouse and keyboard only)
    I've also seen netbooks where external DVD playback is not supported out of the box.
    TBH, I think they're a waste of cash unless you only need what they offer and are quite prepared to live with their limitations.
    <rant>
    I've had customers complaining because they "run their business" on our bottom of the range netbook (circa £225, or free with a range of HSDPA contracts). No backups and then they go into a little tizzy cos we have to take it in for a 7 business day service. "How am I supposed to run my business?" Sorry mate, if you have no backups and your hard-drive fails that's not our problem. If you have a mission critical piece of hardware, why don't you have a back-up piece of hardware and a back-up of your data.
    In fact, our bottom of the range netbook should BE your backup hardware if your running a one-(wo)man business, not your one and only.
    I even had one customer complaining cos he "had" to run a "multi-million pound contract" from one of our netbooks, but didn't realise Office 2007 was only a trial, in fact didn't even know it came with Office 2007 at all. Then he wanted to complain that the thing he never even knew he had when he parted with the cash was only a trial.
    </rant>
     
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  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Not a netbook but if you want a more capable small laptop look at the Asus U30JC, pretty happy with mine so far.

    Decent netbooks are around £300, the Asus cost me £650 but its much higher spec, no point putting £300 towards a machine that can't do what you want. Its got a integrated DVD so I can watch movies on planes, its go NVidia ION chipset so I can use CUDA and watch HD movies, its got an i5 so I can run MS Visual studio, SQL server etc. If I want I can upgrade ram and stick in an SSD etc. Has optimus technology to save battery life and switch between GPU and Integrated graphics. Its got a usable screen and keyboard for real work.

    If you really want a smaller model can also get a model without the DVD drive. Theres even a bamboo model ASUS U33Jt.

    If you want a netbook I'd try get a dual core ATOM and an ION2 chipset in the spec. Asus Eee PC 1215N.

    The samsung netbooks also look ok but are lower spec. Higher spec means less battery life so depends what you want.

    ATOM specs here :-
    http://www.intel.com/cd/products/services/emea/eng/processors/atom/specifications/418312.htm

    Z560 appears to have best performance per Watt.

    Maybe also consider an Ipad if its just for playing around.
     
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  5. invierno

    invierno Nibble Poster

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  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Last dell I had was nothing but trouble, they had millions with faulty NVidia GPU's, did they offer a recall, no they kept quiet released a BIO's fan speed-up patch and waited until people were out of waranty, now they prefer ATI for nearly all laptops. Frequently my screen turned to multicoloured vertical lines of garbage and I just had to turn machine off, called Dell but was just told out of waranty.

    Also they had a nasty built in obsolescence feature with their power adapters, batteries also ran down pretty quick, probably joined to the faulty charging accompanied with the power adapters, the faulty GPU's and the constant fan spinning caused by the patch. To make matters worse the system would report an unrecognised power adapter and purposely take 2 minutes to boot. All this on a £1200+ laptop, unbelievable!

    Lets hope they've stopped the silly games and started making proper kit, but I won't be fooled again.
     
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  7. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I've had a Dell laptop (Inspiron 5160) for 6 years with no such issue... and although my two batteries are weaker than they once were, I still get a fair amount of uptime with them... perhaps an hour apiece for heavy wireless/video/drive access, and much more than that for light app usage (Word, PDFs, etc).

    Nor did we have this issue with the Dell laptops we bought at Tennessee Orthopaedic (or the other Dells I've personally owned). Sure, power adapters go bad... but I doubt there's a built-in obsolescence feature. If there were, I'd surely have encountered it by now.
     
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  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    I experienced the issues mentioned on my DELL XPS M1710, numerous other people report similar issues on the same model and other models. It appears there was a common practice of putting ID chips in power adapters and using the screening as a sort of serial link, this had two major faults, one the screening is brittle and not suitable for such a purpose long term as it breaks, two it can pick up major EMF and power surges and blow the ID chip.

    This was well researched and reported by the guy on that site. The DELL BIOS absolutely checks for DELL own brand power adapters on boot, even if your adapter is good if it does not get the ID signal it will not charge and will report your adapter as unregognized, it then ensures the POST process takes >2 minutes to punish you for 'not having' a DELL approved adapter even though you do.

    I tested my adapter with a multimeter, it was delivering the correct voltage and current. Switched it out for a new £50 identical adapter and laptop worked again without the symptoms, indicating that it was the ID chip described.

    This also ensures perfecty good adapters are going into landfil, not very green.

    My laptop required a high power adapter and a 9 cell battery, it had a power hungry GPU, the normal business laptops do not have quite same issues. I could ironically slowly charge my laptop at work with the weaker business chargers that had working ID chips, however I could not run GPU intensive stuff without warnings.

    I don't know why you immediately seem to assume you know everything on these forums. Just because you've not experienced something doesn't mean it does not exist, as you are keen to remind us when it comes to issues of faith.

    http://www.hotukdeals.com/misc/help-do-you-own-a-dell-studio-1535-/598796
    http://www.computer.solvemyproblem.co.uk/answers/1124/laptopchargerproblemsdellinspiron1525.html
    http://www.product-reviews.net/prod...40-problems-media-buttons-palm-rest-and-more/
    http://www.howtomendit.com/answers.php?id=141277
    http://www.vistaheads.com/forums/mi...66466-laptop-power-supply-not-recognized.html

    Lots of people mis-report the problem as broken pins or sockets, but I suspect that the ID chips the issue in most cases, that fact that some people 'fix it' with a BIOS patch points to this. The breaking ID comms wire fault seems like a bad socket because any movement of the cable can cause it to start/stop working for several months until finally the comms cable breaks completely and you need a new DELL approved adapter.

    The fact that the adapter becomes erractic means you end up running off battery power more often and doing more discharge cycles, so again it will shorten battery life. So you are likey to have to replace your power pack yearly and your battery every two years by my experience.
     
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  9. BosonMichael
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    I understand that the Dell BIOS checks to see whether you've got a Dell power adapter... and I'm sure that the chip that sends the ID signal could certainly fail... but it's not a built-in "planned obsolescence" feature, because if it were, they'd all stop working, wouldn't they? :blink

    I don't know everything, and on those issues, I remain silent. I simply say that I haven't experienced this problem on several hundred Dell laptops. That's all.

    Please, D, refrain from the personal attacks. Please? Pretty please?

    Again, I'm sure it does break. And it may very well be a more common failure than other components. But to say that it's intentionally designed to fail is irresponsible.

    If you don't like Dell, by all means, don't buy them. Personally, I think it's a smart business decision to require Dell-approved adapters. This prevents Joe User from going out and buying a power adapter that he THINKS fits his laptop, frying everything, and expecting Dell to make it right.
     
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  10. ThomasMc

    ThomasMc Gigabyte Poster

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    You guys should really avoid each other :D
     
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  11. BosonMichael
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    I'd be fine without the personal attacks. :rolleyes:
     
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  12. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    No to design it that way is irresponsible, and this design dates back years, meaning DELL know about its failure rate, read the orignal article's in full :-

    http://www.laptops-battery.co.uk/blog/dell-ac-power-adapter-type-cannot-be-determined-solution/

    You reccomend people use anti-static wristbands don't you ? Why would anyone in their right mind put a sensitive IC in a power circuit where its susceptable to EMF, static, power surges etc ?

    Requiring DELL parts also means you can charge a premium when they break, IBM and Sony have known that for years.

    So now you have to give DELL £50 a year to use the laptop you already bought and suffer the inconvenience !

    They are not personal attacks, just pointing out where I think you make some rather incoherant arguments. You seem very keen to deride other people on the forums on a regular basis and often set yourself up as a self appointed forum spokesperson.
     
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  13. BosonMichael
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    Do I "officially" recommend them? Yes. Do I use them? No. :oops: I'm sure static failures happen, but I haven't experienced one in 30 years, so I don't bother with them. That said, I do take quick precautions by touching the case or something else metal before grabbing components.

    Yep. If you don't like the policy, or you don't like their prices, speak with your wallet don't buy it.

    I had a power adapter fail on me once... I wasn't careful with it and, over time, I had bent the wire at the end of the adapter a bit too much. Know what I did? I bought an official Dell power adapter from eBay, taking care to avoid scams and third-party knockoffs as much as possible. And I didn't pay anywhere near Dell's exorbitant rates.

    Had an LCD inverter fail on another laptop. Again, I did my research and bought an official replacement online for a small fraction of what Dell would have charged me.

    Buying Dell parts doesn't mean you have to buy Dell parts from Dell. ;)

    £50 a year? Sorry, I don't understand how you get that figure.

    It's a personal attack when you tell me that "I don't know why you immediately seem to assume you know everything on these forums," and when you start bringing my faith into it.

    It's pretty logical to assume that if the fault were intentionally designed, most people would have experienced the problem.

    Not deriding you at all, nor am I a spokesperson. I simply disagree with your (and that blog's) allegation that the fault is intentional.
     
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  14. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Thanks fellas, I think I'm gonna go for one of these
    1.83GHz, USB 3 ports, 3G, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, Bluetooth, Finger Print Scanner, Alloy case etc. Not out until August which is when I wanted one, for my birthday
     
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  15. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Looks good mate.

    What everyone needs these days. :biggrin :wink:
     
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  16. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Mod's I think Sparky's account has been hacked, 1st he's saying its too early to drink and now he's dissin technology that you don't need but looks good! Who ever you are, get off my mate Sparky's account! :twisted:

    No looks decent for a netbook don't it, I was amazed how far they have come on :eek:
     
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  17. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hee Hee! I'm a changed man since we get free iPhones at work. :biggrin
     
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  18. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    iphone! I know we haven't spoken for a bit mate but I'm thinkin some kind of invasion of the body snatchers scenarios here :eek:
     
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  19. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Once components are in a PCB their chances of ESD damage reduce massively, however it still exists and power circuits have heavy duty components to resist surges, take high currents etc. Putting a sensitive IC in one is bad. However I agree that it seems most failures are simple cable breaks, again the power cables are heavy duty twisted copper, they last for years, but the ID cables are like an old persons hair, thin and brittle.

    Thanks, thats why I bought ASUS this time, thats why I'm telling others of the issues. You want me to reccomend bad to kit people on certforums ? Sorry not gonna do it, you reccomend DELL all you like.

    Read my post the power adapter is fully functional in all aspects apart for the ID comms cable which has broken inside the cable, this wire is small and extremely brittle. The adapter only suffered normal use. I bought a replacement part from Ebay from China which was still offical DELL part, it cost around £39. The adpters fail every 9-12 months with regular normal use, some people have reported having three free under warranty.

    There are many issues with fake parts from China nowadays, it can be impossible to determine the parts authenticity until you recieve it and by then its too late, Ebay tend to pull the accounts every now and then but you generally don't get your money back. Its not a great solution to the problem, which DELL should fix at the root. Just as you would do in IT with root cause analysis after an issue.

    Agreed, but by doing so you are taking a risk, which you shouldn't have to take, rather like you complaining about the possible dodgy generic adapters.

    The adapter is a high power adapter, from DELL its like £50 or more, add tax and delivery etc. The anecdotal failure rate from my experience and others on the web appears to be 9-12 months, my new Ebay bought adapter is already failing again with exact same issue. Of course it I never moved my laptop then the cable would not break, but that makes my laptop a desktop doesn't it ? Hardly fit for purpose.

    Maybe not designed to fail, but DELL must have known it was an unwise design that was likely to fail. I'm not saying that it's going to have a 100% failure rate. You misinterpret my point, its an unwise design choice that increases chance of failure, I'm pretty sure other companies don't design their adapters like this for a reason. I'm pretty sure DELL knows its a bad design from their failure rates, the only saving grace is the DELL warranty scheme. Look around Ebay countless breakfix DELL parts, look at the fault reports on the web, look at comments on DELL's own forums, look at the amount of reconditioned DELL hardware around on Ebay and DELL outlet. DELL laptops had a pretty high failure rate during the past few years. Much of this was NVidia related with engineers replacing GPU's daily.

    Fine disagree, but don't try and insinuate that I didn't experience what I experienced or that I throw my laptop around etc. Plenty of other evidence around if you want to see it on the faults I've described.

    Here look at these reviews on the latest apdater (This ones rounded both my older ones are square) :-

    http://accessories.euro.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=uk&l=en&s=bsd&cs=ukbsdt1&sku=450-11261

    Appologies to JK for the thread Hijack, hope you enjoy your laptop ! :D
     
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  20. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I prefer ASUS. That's what I used to build my gaming rig.

    I understood exactly what you said. I'm saying that I have yet to experience a failed ID chip in hundreds of Dell laptops, that's all. I'm not saying it doesn't happen... but it is my opinion that it is not as widespread as you have alleged.

    Just my opinion. You don't have to agree.

    I don't buy electronics from China.

    Yep, and I accept that risk... because I know where to buy from (and where not to buy from).

    So now it's not a built-in obsolescence feature?

    You mean, just like Sony must have known that their batteries were going to explode, or just like Microsoft must have known that their Xbox 360s were going to overheat and fail?

    Never said you alleged a 100% failure rate, so no, I don't misinterpret your point. You say it has a high failure rate. I simply disagree.

    I might be able to contact someone here at Dell Nashville and check on those failure rates.

    I'm sure there are comments on Dell's forums, and reconditioned hardware on eBay and Dell outlet (the latter typically being people who change their mind on orders). But how does that mean the failure rate is high?

    I never insinuated anything of the sort. I'm sure you have experienced what you said you experienced, and I'm pretty sure that you don't throw your laptop around. So you've experienced it with your one laptop - multiple times, in fact. I haven't experienced it once with over a hundred. Neither statement "proves" anything. However, logic dictates that it's not likely a widespread problem, though it CAN happen (as you said), and people have complained about it happening.

    Hope that clears up your misunderstandings about what I said and didn't say.

    Yep... I see! Reviews from six whole people! :biggrin
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
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