Netbooks – why I won’t buy another


OK. I very nearly bought a new tablety netbook earlier in the year, and I’d still like an s10-3t (or similar)[1], but I’m in no hurry to buy a new netbook and here’s why.

Netbooks are good enough. They’re good enough for web surfing. They’re good enough for watching SD video (maybe even 720p if you have the right screen and graphics chipset). They’re good enough for casual document and presentation editing. They’re good enough for pretty much everything that I’d like to do with a portable machine – and that’s it. The netbook that I bought more than a year ago is still good enough for all those things. I’ve had the chance to play with the latest Lenovo and HP machines in the last few weeks, and they’re a tiny bit better than what I have already. But not enough better that I’m going to splash another £250 or so on a new machine. I’ll buy a new netbook when the one I have breaks, and that could take a very long time – they’re built to a price, but not flimsy.

The press are starting to run articles along the lines of ‘tablets hit netbook sales’ (e.g. on  The Register). This misses a couple of important points for me:

  1. Tablets (like the iPad) and netbooks share a lot of functionality, but they aren’t interchangable purchases. Somebody who wants a netbook won’t buy a tablet instead.
  2. Pretty much everybody that does want a netbook got one already, it should be no surprise that sales are slowing up. The market is probably reaching that saturation point that mobiles hit a decade ago (when everybody in the civilised world already had two).

Dave Winer points out that the one thing that has improved in the last year is battery life. Batteries are an important consideration, particularly as they deteriorate over time. Maybe when the battery on my s10e gets to the stage that it’s frustrating I’ll be faced with a tough choice between buying a vastly overpriced replacement, or just getting a new netbook with a new battery?

[1] Lenovo never did get me the s10-3t that was promised, and they don’t seem to have made a reappearance on their UK direct sales web site. Whilst I’m still happy with the X201 Tablet that was sent as a substitute it would be nice to have something a little lighter.

3 Responses to “Netbooks – why I won’t buy another”

  1. My Lenovo X200 is a “regular” laptop. The spec is good, it’s ~100g heavier than the Asus EEE PC and 100g lighter and the Dell and HP netbooks. Why would you want a netbook? Is the X201 a lot heavier than the X200?

    • 2 Chris Swan

      The X20x tablets are a fair bit heavier than their laptop siblings. Mine weighs in at over 700g more than my s10e. Of course the s10-3t is heavier than the s10-3, but that’s the price that you pay for scribbling in OneNote and reading stuff in portrait format.

  2. 3 Chris Swan

    and then along comes the N550 with dual core, and Intel’s blessing for better specs on screens etc.

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