Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 22, 2017
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Notes on netbooks

1. Netbooks are ultra-thin, ultra-light, ultra-cheap laptop computers. The latest generation of these minis has appealed to all the right consumers to put the netbook in a computer category of its own. According to PriceGrabber, netbooks surpassed traditional laptops in market shares late last year.

2. Everything about netbooks is petite. They’re usually under 13 inches in size (screens are eight to 10 inches) and weigh three pounds at most. I tested the Toshiba NB200 (pictured here) for a couple weeks. I took it back and forth from work and out of the city on weekends. Basically, I felt like I was carrying around a book.

3. Size is neatly matched by price tag. Typically, netbooks cost well under $500. The Toshiba NB200 ranges from $429 to $479, depending on the model. The keys are regular size, which makes a big difference. It weighs 2.5 pounds and, conveniently enough, comes with the added perk of password-free, facial recognition sign-in.

4. All netbooks come with several USB ports, a webcam, LED backlit screens, integrated speakers, Wi-Fi and more. Most don’t have internal disc drives for playing movies or burning DVDs. You’ll also want to make sure the netbook you pick has sufficient RAM to run quickly. The Toshiba comes with 1GB DDR2 memory and a 160GB harddrive that can store 100 movies or 1 million photos.

5. For travellers, netbooks are a long-awaited dream-come-true. You can stay in touch with family, get some writing done and use your diminutive netbook for conference presentations (you can install PowerPoint). When the conference is over, shove it in a backpack and go off and explore the city. If you forget it in an overhead bin on your flight, the loss is less painful than if it were a $2000 laptop.

6. Best of all, netbooks have a long battery life. Toshiba claims its NB200 can go six to nine hours (depending on the model) before needing a recharge, which means you can lighten your load at the conference by leaving that brick of a charger back at your hotel.

7. However netbooks can’t run demanding software like games and photo-editing programs.

8. About 80 percent of netbooks sold today run Windows XP or Linux rather than more intensive operating systems like Windows Vista.

9. If you’re a Mac person, Apple’s netbook is, unfortunately, the expensive MacBook Air. At US$1794, it almost makes you wonder if you should insure the backpack you’re carrying it in.

10. Expect to hear a lot about netbooks this year. Technology writers say they’ll get smaller, cheaper and more powerful. And possibly even replace the traditional laptop as we know it.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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