About two years ago I wrote an entry titled “This Old Machine” in which I described my search for a travel laptop – something to use on casual trips when I didn’t need to lug around the full sized laptop I used for conferences. I had some specific requirements – it had to be small and light, and low stress – meaning that if it did get lost, broken or stolen, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. And while the goal was to use it primarily for Email, web access, and storage/editing of vacation photos, it had to have enough horsepower to handle serious applications in a pinch: Visual Studio, SQL Server Express, etc – the kinds of applications that a professional developer might need to use.
At the time, I ended up upgrading an old Thinkpad 240 – a machine that today would be called a Netbook, but that anticipated that class of machines by almost a decade. And it served tolerably well. It was slow enough to be annoying, and the battery life was worthless, but it was good enough.
This summer I wanted something better, and with all the talk about NetBooks I decided it was time to take a look and see if any of the new machines would serve my needs. After reviewing specifications and reviews, I ended up snagging an Asus Eee 1000HE PC.
Honestly, I did not have high hopes – laptops are almost by definition studies in compromise. But I ended up being blown away. This is a nice machine. You can read the full review in my gadget column. Suffice to say that with a 2GB memory upgrade, it has plenty of power for casual development work, is easily small enough to fit into a book bag or backpack, and at a hair over 3 pounds with over 7 hours of battery life is truly portable.
Oh yes, and I will never buy another laptop without a multi-touch touchpad.