Recently I purchased a new Acer Netbook. When I say recently, I mean I bought it last Friday. I have been meaning to purchase a new laptop for the last couple of years or so, but have always put off such a large purchase for one reason or other. One of the reasons for not making the purchase was:
I had a job that didn't require a laptop (or any computer for that matter). I worked all the time, and worked many hours, but I never really went anywhere or did anything other than work. At the end of the day all I really wanted was a good meal and a good sleep. Although I wanted a laptop for the portability factor and basically to use as a toy, I had a fully functional desktop for all my computing needs. I was also secretly curious to see what kind of developments in technology would come about with the passage of time—not because I wanted cutting edge, but because I wanted more gadgetry for my money.
And as recently as one year ago I was still making up excuses for not purchasing a laptop:
About a year ago I changed jobs. This new job was within the same industry, doing primarily the same thing, but it was also a job where I was given more time off, more leisure time. I had money to spare, enough for a decent laptop, but I was again putting off the purchase. I didn't need one like I “needed” a Playstation 3. I will admit that it wasn't the most productive use of my time, but I had a fulltime job and it was nice to spend a few hours playing Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Rock Band 2 while enjoying a few brews.
Fast forward to last month and…I lose that good paying job. Life has suddenly taken an interesting turn. I have to start pounding out the resumes, and researching the jobs that are available for the companies that are actually hiring. Meanwhile, my wife is a full-time nursing student and basically needs our desktop computer 24/7. Almost instantaneously there is a real need for a laptop in our household. And, not only is there a need, I also must find a machine that is extremely friendly on the pocket book. I start looking around.
I know that I have a “satisfaction” grace period for this sort of purchase, usually 14 days and longer at some membership places like Costco. My first purchase was an entry level 15.4 inch laptop that I found at Wal-Mart; it was listed at $499.99. I brought it home, tried it out, and soon discovered that this model wasn't really for me. First off, it was pretty limited in its video capabilities. YouTube played alright, but as soon as I started to watch a web-based Divx video, that's when the machine started having problems.
Unsatisfied, I returned the product.
However, instead of doing what is expected of a good consumer and buying a model that is the next step up on the spectrum, I went in reverse: I decided to check out what was at the lower end of the field. My reasoning was that I wasn't really looking for a video player anyway, but instead a machine on which I could write documents. Why spend extra money on something that doesn't even really play videos well in the first place?
So I left Wal-Mart with my money in hand and walked over to Future Shop. I wanted to check out those netbooks I had been reading about. Turns out Future Shop had just received a shipment of a new model of Acer netbook [ AOD150-1885 ]. They hadn't even been unloaded from the truck yet, and so I had to wait patiently as a salesperson tracked one down. There wasn't even a display model to play with. I browsed, looking at the multitude of doodads and gadgets in the meantime, but wasn't really interested.
Finally the salesperson brought out the new model; once it was out of the box, I was instantly impressed. With the slightly larger 10.1” screen, compared to the older 8.9” inch Acer, this little model is great to look at. It's surprising how much a difference that extra inch and a bit makes. This particular netbook also seemed quite sturdy, and had adequate hard drive space and memory (160 gig and 1 gig respectively). Most importantly, it had a decent sized keyboard on which someone could actually type like Mavis Beacon showed us.
I knew nothing of the model but decided to go ahead and make the purchase. I would find out what it was like and I could return it if I wasn't satisfied. And the first thing I discovered: I had about a hundred bucks left in my pocket from the return money from the former Wal-Mart laptop. The second thing I discovered when I got home: this little machine plays Divx amazingly well! Granted it doesn't have a DVD player, but with the sheer amount of digital files available from a multitude of sources, this detail isn't really an obstacle. I was just impressed that the video didn't get all jittery and then freeze on me.
Now what does someone like me do with such a tiny laptop? Well, I bring it everywhere I go! It's easy to do so, being the size of a hardcover novel. I'm constantly working on documents, whether resumes or more recreational writing, and this little guy is a great way to get those documents done. When it comes to writing on a computer, I believe that the human/machine interface should be as transparent as possible; this netbook facilitates that transparency easily. The weight of it alone, less than a hardcover novel, makes using this machine a pleasant experience. And it doesn't get hot on your lap like other laptops often do. Heck, I could even write with it standing up, holding it in the palm of one hand—if I really had to!
To sum up this article, I'm glad to see how technology has finally developed to a point where a machine of this dimension, which is adequate in size and speed, can be had for under five hundred bucks—including tax. The only trade-off is really that of a DVD drive not being present, but that would only add to the weight and size of the machine anyway, and a small thumb drive is much more convenient. Anyone considering a machine for the purposes of document creation, portability and affordability might really like what Acer offers in this little package. I know I like it. Judging from the current economic climate, reason dictates that many more netbooks will be introduced in the months and years ahead.