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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bought a netbook....

Given Barcelona's reputation for "tea leaves", especially around the time of MWC, I'm a bit wary of carrying expensive stuff around with me next week. I know several people who've been mugged, pickpocketed, scammed - and I've even seen a cyclist snatch someone's bag off their shoulder right in front of me on one occasion. I like the city, but it's not the safest, especially during an event when every crim in Spain knows there will be tens of thousands of extra laptops and phones in peoples' bags and pockets.

Add to this the fact that I want to take notes directly into a PC during briefings and meetings, but don't want to heft a big computer and the power brick around all the time.

The answer - join the throng and buy a netbook. After two of the most gadget-tastic people I know (Andy Abramson and James Body) mentioned it to me in the space of a week, the Samsung NC10 went to the top of the list, especially as I've had two Samsung PCs before and have been happy with them.

The main spec-related arguments are the big battery (7+ hours of light use apparently) and the 10-inch keyboard and screen which are pretty useable. There's no built-in 3G modem, but I'm happier using dongles anyway, or perhaps a handset with Joiku on it. Cost - £280+VAT

Some observations - although clearly a lot of netbooks are being sold through mobile operators or mobile retailers like Carphone Warehouse, the general PC channel also seems to be doing a brisk trade. The shop that sold me the Samsung said it was the 12th one that they'd sold that day, plus another lot of MSI Wind netbooks. Apparently, almost nobody asks about integral 3G modems at the moment. Most of the ones in CPW or PC World in the UK are sold with separate dongles, if they bundle them with an MNO contract.


Hywel said...

280 plus VAT seems steep for an email/blogging machine. HP 2133 can be got hold of for 180 (inc. VAT), and is nearly as good (doesn't have multi-touch though).... 2133 is 1.2 GHz rather than 1.6GHz, but then you don't buy a netbook for speed.

Anonymous said...

""Apparently, almost nobody asks about integral 3G modems at the moment. Most of the ones in CPW or PC World in the UK are sold with separate dongles, if they bundle them with an MNO contract.""

Nice: PC Channel info segues into MNO channel anecdotes, unsubstantiated heresay passed off as being 100%representative info. Like many of us, you look for 'evidence' that supports your own particular bias.

You now have a netbook that will be 'type-ready' in <10s but will have to delve into your bag to find the carbuncle that plugs into the side, wait for Vista to recognise it, and now you can start the NW acquisition and PDP contaxt that the embedded module would have already completed. If you lose it, you won't be able to use any HSPA wake-on-wireless functionality to tap into the intel security functions to lock your PC from 3rd party use, since your dongle will be removed.

Dean Bubley said...


At no point did I extrapolate my personal experience to the market at large, nor suggest that it is broadly representative of either the UK market or internationally.

Yes, my experience in buying a netbook - and trying to buy another dongle yesterday - has broadly fit with my expectations. Good, I like it when I get empirical examples which fit in with my theses (biases? no). If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I often comment on personal experience as well as industry-wide measurables.

Amusingly, you fall into your own trap of "looking for evidence that supports your bias" - ie drawing unwarranted inferences about my motivations and observations. That's not even hearsay, it's projection and imagination.

I have no problem with embedded-3G netbooks as a concept per se. If the Samsung had offered one as a £20-30 option I would have bought it, as long as it was "vanilla" and not locked to a particular operator.

Unfortunately, it's still almost impossible to get data-only prepay SIMs in most countries - certainly Spain and the US which is where I am travelling over the next month.