What a strange and wild ride it’s been through the
I’ve been through a gazillion different laptops over the past few years. Here’s just a few highlights. (And this isn’t even accounting for normal size laptops/work computers provided by employers/etc.)
For the longest time, I had an Averatec 3200 series laptop. It was a bit slow, but the price was right ($999 new when I bought it, back whenever that was), and it ran like a champ. It was tiny. 12” 1024x768 screen, only a few pounds, very tolerable for hauling around. I did much of my blogging on that laptop. I rarely traveled for work back then, so I didn’t take it on the road with me very often. The furthest I got with it was the Starbucks down the street. I’d still have that laptop today, but the power supply connector slowly came loose from the motherboard. I wasn’t up for soldering, so I gave the laptop to a more technically-inclined friend, who repaired it and gave it to his mother.
I’ve still go the Toshiba. But, I wasn’t finding it suitable for travel. So, in my quest for smaller, lighter, more easily transportable, I bought an OQO Model 02. I tricked it out. Max RAM, max disk, Sprint EVDO built-in, docking station, spare battery, rugged case, tablet pen, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, etc. Every appropriate piece of kit I could think of, all to help maximize my OQO experience.
I ordered the OQO Model 02 back in May, right after it became available. (I think shortly after people found their pre-orders getting filled.) After using it, here’s what I found: The OQO Model 02 is a piece of garbage.
I was traveling all the time for work, then. The point of having the OQO so was that I could catch up on emails or work projects while sitting bored at the airport. Or on a train. Or on a bus. Or at a café. But the EVDO connection flapped intermittently, seemingly right in the midst of me trying to fix some important problem while logged in to work. It drove me nuts. I had visions of throwing this thing out of the window off the train a number of times. And beyond that, something about the CPU speed, bus speed, backplane, or something else, is just too painfully slow for everyday use in Windows. And keep in mind that we’re talking XP – not
I ended up selling everything to a friend at a substantial loss. I was pretty frank with him that the Asus Eee was cheaper and way better. But, he really wanted it, so I gave him a good deal. There’s been no complaining since, so perhaps it’s better suited to what he wanted to do with it.
I even consider my Sony U750P UMPC better than the OQO. I’ve had the tiny Vaio for years, and will likely never sell it. Mostly, we use it as our bedroom TV. It’s an excellent companion to a Slingbox. It’s only got an 800x600 screen, but that’s more than enough for simple web surfing or watching videos. If it had a built in keyboard, I’d probably still be using it as my work computer, to this day. When I worked in an office and had to go to meetings constantly, I had my employer set it up as my work computer. When docked at my desk I had a large monitor and keyboard. When in a meeting, I had just the touchscreen and a stylus. I've since then left that job and taken another one, where I travel quite a bit more. Without an integrated keyboard, I just don’t find the Sony suitable for travel, so it stays at home. (It has a neat, foldable USB keyboard. But it’s not really something you can successfully wrangle on a plane or a train.)
And that brings me to my current primary work/travel computer: The Asus Eee! I love this little guy, and have spent endless hours tweaking settings and fiddling. It’s working great for work, it works great for blogging or surfing while traveling (with my external Sprint EVDO modem), and I’ve even used it as my sort-of-cell-phone, using Skype over hotel wifi or my EVDO connections.
Laptop Magazine calls the Eee, “pound for pound, the best value-priced notebook on the planet,” and I couldn’t agree more. I added a 2GB RAM stick to mine, and a 16GB SDHC card, and it does everything I need to do, easily. The keyboard, while small, is suitable for travel. I wrote a blog post on an airplane recently. I’ve never been able to do that. There’s just not enough room and not even a 12” laptop fits in there well enough to allow you to touch type. But the Eee did!
The Eee has a few rough edges here and there, stuff I’ll likely talk more about in follow-up posts. But overall, my experience has been extremely positive since I bought it back in November. We actually ended up a three-Eee household for a bit. My girlfriend saw how much I was using my white Eee, that she ordered a pink one. When the pink one arrived, it dawned on me how neat it would be to have one in some other color, so I ordered the Galaxy Black 701. Now the Eee has gone from “neat” and “cute” to just amazing looking – it looks really great in black, and I’m very happy.
I’m selling the white one to a friend.