Ultralight bleg II

Two years ago I posted a bleg asking for tips on buying an ultralight laptop.  I ended up getting an ASUS U2e which has not been particularly good.  Anyway, it may have been Vista that was the problem but it’s a pretty underpowered machine – with a 1.07 Ghz Intel Core-Duo processor.

So I’m gonna buy another one.  I’d consider Apple but for the fact that their approach to the ultra-light strained to maximise screen size. I don’t want to maximise screen size because

  1. Except when I’m on planes and in hotel rooms I use an external screen.
  2. When I’m in a plane, space limitations make a large screen a nightmare in economy class

So I’m back in the market for another ultra-light laptop.  It’s possible that a netbook would be good enough, but it’s my main machine so I don’t mind spending more money than that.  I want reliability, light weight and enough power to multi-task happily though I’m not a serious power user and don’t want it for any more fancy gaming apps than chess! I’d also prefer an external optical drive, but if there’s a drive in it and it’s light, that’s OK.

So any suggestions you have would be gratefully accepted . . .

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conrad
conrad
11 years ago

Have you tried installing XP on your old machine? That might save you a few bucks if you already have the CD. Vista is basically awful — I have 1.7Ghz Duo-core and it doesn’t run well on that, but XP is just fine.

Duncan
Duncan
11 years ago

Nothing wrong with the 13″ Macbook Pro. All the benefits of the 17″ (I owned an 06 model before) but nice an lite for travel + great on planes. Sure, it’s not a netbook, but it does everything a bigger laptop does. Unlike a Windows laptop, if just deals with the space better.

Arch
Arch
11 years ago

@conrad – Ditto my 2Ghz Duo-core VIAO. It came with Vista, which was rubbish, but I’ve been running an XP / ubuntu dual-boot on it for 3.5 years with no problems. Give it a try.

Or get a new Toshiba. Don’t worry about the quality of Windows 7, it is much better than Vista.

hc
hc
11 years ago

I bought a Toshiba NB200 (the 10.5 inch model) for about retail from a friend for $475 – he supplied extra stuff on it and it was almost brand new. It has 2GB of RAM (an extra GB over than supplied) and runs (this was extra to my friend) Windows 7 professional, Office 2007 and Nortons. A bit slow to load but it has a battery life of 9 hours – there is a tradeoff here – and I have used it for almost half of a recent flight to Europe studying a language I am learning and listening to music. No problem with wireless or mobile internet connections overseas. I had to buy an external DVD drive to install some extra stuff which I did for $80.

Windows 7 is less greedy on memory than Vista. It is also very intuitive.

I think my Toshiba is brilliant – it fits into the pouch in front of an airline seat. I have a massive great Dell laptop that cost around $4000 several years ago – it has enough grunt to replace a desktop – but I prefer my little Toshiba which is 1/8th the price. Does the same thing and doesn’t destroy your shoulder when travelling.

bfd
bfd
11 years ago

Acer Aspire 1810t

dual core, 4 gb ram, netbook form factor. currently running 64 bit sql server without lag.

make sure you get part # LX.SA202.006, there are lesser powered versions out there. check prices here.

Tammy
Tammy
11 years ago

You could go and see Bruce at Home Computer Centre in Mawson. He’s worth it because you can just tell him what you need and trust him to do the rest at a reasonable price (if you shop around, you can probably find what he recommends cheaper, but only marginally, and you’ll get the support/after sale service from Bruce if you need it). Got Walter a laptop for Xmas from Bruce – was under $1300 and is perfect for him. Like you, its his main computer, so needed a hard drive, etc, though his screen is probably bigger than you may want.

joe2
joe2
11 years ago

This discussion, elsewhere, from a while back, may interest you Nicholas. But definitely kill vista on the unit you have and see what happens, first.

http://www.scottbridges.id.au/2009/09/17/purchased/#comments

ps Are you going to go for Crikey group buy again?

Felix
11 years ago

Lenovo X series laptops are incredibly light and thin and have a good range of options. I bought a X200 tablet last year – and love it – but if you dont need the tablet you can save yourself some weight and space and go for a very nice, very portable “road warrior”. http://bit.ly/auemppp

Would steer away from Toshiba, as my experience with the more recent one was they didnt have as nice a build quality as maybe a toshiba of 5 years ago (felt plasticy, and not very solid).

Also – go for a hdd with full disk encryption (FDE) – if you can (lenovo offers it as an option – not sure about other manufacturers) – very worthwhile peice of mind for a mobile machine – no other security solutions compare really…

Also once you’re up and running – JungleDisk or a similar solution for automatic backups…

Note that the link above gets you some extra discounts.

Aidan
Aidan
11 years ago

How light? The 13″ Macbook Pros are 2kg.

Andrew Reynolds
11 years ago

Nick,
A much cheaper solution might be to go out and purchase a copy of Windows 7 and install it on your old box. The usual suspects sell it for $249.95 for a three machine home premium license (meaning you can either use them all yourself if you have three boxes) or you can hand the extra licenses to someone else.
I have recently upgraded a variety of machines (laptops and desktops) to Windows 7 from both Vista and XP and it is noticeably more stable that Vista and more featured than XP – while seeming faster than either on lower specced machines.

Nabakov
Nabakov
11 years ago

Have you tried one of these Nick?

Aidan
Aidan
11 years ago

1K too much.

And too big. No good for economy class in planes. And the rest of the time I’ve got an external screen.

Crikey! I reckon you’re pretty tough.

You are quite approving of an Acer that is 400g lighter, thicker than the Macbook with only a slightly smaller footprint (Acer: 1.20? x 11.20? x 8? Macbook: 0.95″ x 12.78″ x 8.94″).

SJ
SJ
11 years ago

Nick

I bought three netbooks about a month ago, and they’ve recieved a lot of use since then with no problems. All of them have the 10.2 inch screens, and run Windows 7 Starter.

Windows 7 doesn’t seem to cause the horrible difficulties that Vista did.

Anyway, all of the machines cost less than $400, they do the job, and I couldn’t really recommend one of them over another. They are:

1) ASUS Eee PC
2) MSI U100
3) Acer Aspire AO532

Battery life on all of them is about 6 hours, which is much better than I’ve gotten out of any full-size laptop.

SJ
SJ
11 years ago

P.S.

I just weighed them all, and the lightest is 1.1 kg (MSI), and the heaviest is 1.25 kg (ASUS), all including batteries.

SJ
SJ
11 years ago

P.P.S.

My daughters have just informed me that the battery life on the ASUS is longer than on the other two, so I guess there’s a trade off there between the weight and the battery life.

Felix
11 years ago

Nick,

I dont see how you could go past the Lenovo Thinkpad X200s or X201s

Starts at 1.1kg, 12.1 inch screen, 12+ hours of battery life, real processor (ie 2ghz +) and you have the option of a HDD with full disk encryption (FDE) – 250gb too. Again – for a portable computer, I wouldn’t buy something which, if stolen, provides all of your personal data to the theif.

A X200s or X201s would beat the ACER hands down (except, no doubt, on price)…

They’re having a huge sale at the moment too. Use the link in my original post for an even better deal.

Felix

Anthony
Anthony
11 years ago

I remember reading a favourable review of a Samsung laptop in Wired magazine. It stuck in my mind because Wired are a critical lot, so I was surprised that they had written so positively about this machine:
http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/pr_0428_samsung_NC20

guy rundle
guy rundle
11 years ago

i can endorse the acer 1810t – or 1810tz as a parallel model in some places.

it’s slightly over 1kg – about 1.3kg – but the crucial thing is area and thickness surely (as the bishop said…). and this one is thin and compact.

the only light laptop with real power.

only trouble is heating up and fan noise, due to compactness, i’m told.

if you want to go smaller, the sony vaio vgn series is a sort of laptop sawn-off, not sure if its available in oz yet

Richard
Richard
11 years ago

I bought the Samsung last year and used it to complete my thesis while travelling overseas. Very happy with it. Excellent for word processing, spreadsheets, net browsing, mail etc. Runs streaming video fine (I can wander round the house watching ABC on iView no problems).
Light (<1.5kg), 12.1in screen, about 9 hrs battery life and decent build quality.
it's called a netbook but its really somewhere between that and a laptop (terminology in these cases is not particularly useful).