I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Re: Netbooks

Andrew Fox:

Marco, if you’re out there, could you give me your thoughts on netbooks?  Specifically, of using one as a main computer for nothing much more than internet, music, and office - student needs.

I don’t think a netbook (such as the $350-$500 Asus Eee PC) is appropriate to be anyone’s primary or only computer unless you’re very price-sensitive and truly can’t afford a bargain-basement 13”-15” PC laptop. (In which case a cheap desktop, or no computer at all, may be more sensible.)

First, there’s the OS discussion. There’s no OS X option. Windows does work, but on such low-end hardware, it performs horribly (and costs extra). And it’s Windows. You’re generally stuck with Linux, and desktop Linux is horrible. Having to choose Windows XP for usability and compatibility in 2008 is pretty sad.

Then there are the hardware limitations:

The hardware limitations and desktop-Linux are tolerable when it’s a secondary computer to bring on the bus or occasional trips if you have a desktop at home. But as your primary or only computer, the shortcomings will get to you very quickly.

I can’t even recommend the MacBook Air to be your primary or only computer, and it’s miles ahead of every “netbook” (albeit far more expensive) in its performance and capabilities.

I’d love to hear feedback if anyone reads this who uses a netbook as their primary or only computer.