Time to start evaluating my netbook needs


So I’m nearing 60-days of living in a web browser. Yup, for 97% of my time over the last two months, I’ve been using Firefox on my Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium UMPC and have been quite happy. There’s still a few activities where I need a client application and perhaps the UMPC is overkill for my usage scenario. Then again, maybe it’s not. Remember that I’ve upgraded the RAM from 1- to 2 GB in my device, and it does have a 1.33 GHz Core Solo that runs for 5 to 6 hours. This setup actually works quite well for me when I’m out and about or when I’m at the home office driving a 24-inch monitor at 1920 x 1200 resolution. There’s times when things seem to come to a halt, but it’s not that often. Overall, the experience has been more positive than I expected and I don’t fell like I’m missing all that much in terms of apps or functionality.

So now I’m on the fence with all of the netbooks out there. In fact, I’m wondering if I need one at all at this point due to a few questions I have. Will an Intel Atom or VIA Nano device perform as well as my Core Solo or will Firefox be choking on my my all-day, multi-tab usage? How many netbook batteries will I need to have the same 10 to 12 hours of runtime that I enjoy today with the two 6-cell batteries? Part of my web-only challenge was to see if a meager netbook could actually meet my needs, but perhaps the activity has proved to me that what I’m using today is more than adequate.

I’m still in the early evaluation stages at this point, especially because the netbook market continues to grow wildly in terms of product choices. I do know that I really don’t need a Core 2 Duo notebook for what I do. I have that in the MacBook Pro, but that device isn’t nearly as portable, nor does it run for hours and hours. I love my MBP, but it’s effectively become a desktop replacement for me: only getting used at home and even then, just for limited activities like podcast and video production plus photo imaging. But even photo imaging is starting to migrate to the cloud for me.

Honestly, any netbook right now will be hard pressed to beat my UMPC. The biggest difference between any netbook and my current device is the price: the UMPC cost me between two and four times any of the netbooks out there. Still, I enjoyed the Asus Eee PC 701 while I had it and comparable, new devices are much improved, so I’m still tempted. I’ll definitely be waiting to see what Dell releases in a few weeks, but for now, I’m making a list of pros / cons / needs. I know that’s the logical thing to do, but I’m afraid that when all is said and done, my current mobile device will meet or exceed everything on that list!