How I roll

Until this week, I was schlepping my big laptop bag with my big laptop around everywhere I went. Now, my travel kit weighs in at about 3 pounds.

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I never really had much interest in the whole netbook idea until I read Erik Sink’s blog post about how he uses his Eee PC 901. I spend a lot of time in meetings, travelling to meetings, working in between meetings, etc. Once I got over the idea that a netbook couldn’t be my primary laptop, I figured out that a small laptop could be useful for me.

I finally broke down a week ago and picked up the HP Mini 1000. Although it doesn’t have to killer features I want (6-hour battery life, integrated AT&T 3g wireless data), HP seems to be on track to add these features to the line. The fit and polish on this machine is fantastic. After playing with some of the other netbooks out there, most of them feel like toys compared to the HP. And the price is right–$500 at Costco (and Costco’s 90-day return policy to boot).

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What I like:

  • Keyboard: at 92% size I adjusted quickly and type at almost full speed
  • Display: The LED-backlit display is bright and sharp
  • Size: About an inch thick and about the same size as the compact paper notepad I used to carry around
  • Price: HP priced this device aggressively at $500 for this config
  • Storage: The 60GB hard drive is a good size for how I use this machine

What I would improve:

  • Battery: The 3-cell standard battery gives me 2 to 3.5 hours depending on what I’m doing. I need more to make it through a long series of meetings. HP announced a 6-cell battery available in January.
  • 3G Wireless: This is rumored to be on the way in the next month or so
  • Display: A tick or two higher on resolution would help, but it’s usable
  • Bluetooth: what? this makes no sense to me… not a biggie, but an annoyance. that’s a cheap fix, though
  • RAM: 1GB is working remarkably well, but I’ll upgrade to 2GB for the price of a sushi dinner

What I run:

  • OS: Windows 7 (yeah, bleeding edge, but it works well so far)
  • Apps: IE8, Office Communicator (w/ VOIP – this is my corporate phone when I plug in a headset), Twhirl, OneNote, Mesh

Outlook runs better than I expected. Screen real estate is tight but it’s miles ahead of how I can manage mail on my phone’s 2.5” screen. I use Mesh to sync my OneNote notebook with my other PCs.

I’m a week in and settling into this machine nicely. I still use my Lenovo Thinkpad at the office and when I need to set down somewhere for ‘real work’. But for meetings, travel and just keeping up with work on the road, the Mini is handling the job nicely.

 

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