Friday, August 22, 2014

Cheap Laptops, Windows, Unix, thoughts

I just read this article about Windows vs Chromebooks in schools. I have been looking for a small, light alternative for my laptop recently and this got me to thinking about my search.


I really can't afford to spend $500 up on this type of laptop. I need something ideally around $200 up to $300. This puts most of Microsoft's offerings (Surface) well out of range, but keeps something like a Chromebook right in the sweet spot.


I want something that runs the programs I want to use.  I create content as well as consume it. Primary to my thinking is Microsoft OneNote or some equivalent (haven't really found any on *nix variants or Chrome). OneNote is the one application that Microsoft got right in my opinion. I know I can use it in the cloud, but I want something that works when I'm not connected. This makes Chrome problematic for me.

The device needs access to the Internet, naturally, but it can be just WiFi access. As you can tell, I'm budget constrained, so I probably won't opt for something with 4G access. I think if I needed that, I would try for an access point so I could use more devices with it.

Form Factor

I want a screen somewhere in the 10-11" size and a keyboard. I don't need a large keyboard -- I have small hands, but I want a responsive one. I would like the option of dealing with it as a tablet, but that's really secondary. This means that touch isn't really necessary.I'm creating this blog on a Dell Venue 8 which is proving, with my old eyes, to be a bit small for content creation. The Acer pictured here is just about right, but a bit under-powered even with Ubuntu on it.

For Windows and *nix, I find a mouse is essential for content creation and helpful for consumption.


The device doesn't need to be top of the line in performance, but it should be adequate. I'm not all that patient. I like the concept of an SSD in place of a hard drive. I think the ability to boot up quickly is a good one so I don't loose that thought that I just had.


Right now, I'm sticking with what I have and not spending anything. I keep looking for a viable solution, but, so far, have not found one. Chromebooks and just too limited, seeming to be more for consumption than creation. Ubuntu based laptops are appealing,but need that killer OneNote equivalent app. And Windows=based systems are just too expensive for what I have in mind. I keep looking and hoping.

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