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Hardware Thread, Netbook or Notebook? in Technical; OK, the set of Tecra A2 notebooks have finally reached their end of life and require replacement. We are a ...
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    Netbook or Notebook?

    OK, the set of Tecra A2 notebooks have finally reached their end of life and require replacement.

    We are a large primary so I can see the advantages of a smaller form factor, lighter machine and as we don't use the optical drives I'm having difficulties seeing any downsides..

    Whats the downside of Netbooks?

    Ta.

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    Atom processors are good for power consumption but on more intensive tasks then can lack a bit of oomph.

    I suppose they're easier to steal and harder to replace parts on as they're so small - but you get a warranty!

    Although, no complaints really just yet - I am buying more to replace the loaning laptops we have, bye-bye travelmates, wont be missed!

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    i personally would hate to use a netbook for long i find the keys too small and the low res screens tend to annoy me. Some software may have issues with the pixel height if it needs to run in say 800*600 (thinking lexia and sherston stuff)

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    freak's Avatar
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    One issue that we had was the quality of the machine itself. We had countless 701's (at least 60) broken within a year at a secondary school. By broken I mean dead m/b, smashed screen (very common), or just totally destroyed. It's easy to swap parts in most netbooks, but getting hold of spares probably isn't easy. Of course, the kids here were allowed to take them home with them and were quite careless with them.

    Another is peoples inability to accept a different OS other than Windows (only if you go with Linux). Our pupil's were quite thrown off, and even though they were not allowed to install their own software, and were restricted from doing so, we still found the odd setup.exe in their documents However as your school is a primary school, I'm sure they could adapt to either as they may not be Windows dependent yet.

    Another which you may come across, depending on what make and model you go for, is hard drive space. Most of the first netbooks had tiny 4 gig solid state drives. This is fine for Linux, but Windows will quickly fill this space unless you use something like WinLite to cut it down. I'm not saying go for Linux, but if they have small HD's prepare to tinker with it!

    Of course if you go for something more robust (in our case anyway) like the HP Mininote 2133, a lot of these problems will be resolved (nice HD, tough screen, decent keyboard). But you'll find that they are quite expensive compared to the others.

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    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by IT_Guy View Post
    OK, the set of Tecra A2 notebooks have finally reached their end of life and require replacement.

    We are a large primary so I can see the advantages of a smaller form factor, lighter machine and as we don't use the optical drives I'm having difficulties seeing any downsides..

    Whats the downside of Netbooks?

    Ta.
    The other thing to consider is that many netbooks come pre-installed with XP Home, which, if my memory serves me right, cannot [easily] connect to a domain.

    You can of course use Xteq X-Setup, but just one other thing for you to consider in respect of netbooks.

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    We bought one of the first linux powered Asuses to have a look at, we've also got a current Acer Aspire One Pro (with XP pro).

    The Acer is much better. I'd say the biggest problems are ergonomic, which might not be an issue when it's being used by little kids. I spend several hours doing shell stuff on the Asus (I'm hopeless with Linux) and it by the end of it my eyes and hands were suffering. The Acer has a slightly better keyboard, but it's still tiny. The screen is a vast improvment, but still quite small. I think the biggest problems will come if you envisage several children working round the same netbook.

    They don't have much grunt but for web and office work they'll be fine. Just make sure you tell management via email that they won't be anygood for graphic/video editing (not that I'm implying school management would procure equipment and then expect it to do something they were told it wouldn't ). Bare in mind most ship with XP home, if you don't have a school's agreement you'll have to budget for an upgrade to pro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by K.C.Leblanc View Post
    Bare in mind most ship with XP home, if you don't have a school's agreement you'll have to budget for an upgrade to pro.
    and by the time you have added an xp pro/vista business/win7 pro licence to them cost wise you could buy an ok laptop with a decent sized screen usually anyway

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    OK, so the main issues are that they are uncomfortable to use, kids can be 'careless' with them and the XP home software installed.

    As they are for use by primary children I suspect the erganomics will be better for them on a netbook than they are on our present notebooks and they won't be taken home, just used as a 'classroom set' in a controlled envoronment so won't be thrown around much.

    As they are about £120 cheaper than a decent notebook I'm definately tempted..

    Any other downsides that spring to mind?

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    freak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IT_Guy View Post
    Any other downsides that spring to mind?
    Depends, what ones are you looking at?

    Forgot to mention, the 701's chargers seem to die randomly. We've had at least 40 die on us for no apparent reason. It was quite hard at the time to find replacements, though I'm not sure how the market has changed since then. The only advice I can offer is that you find a source of parts before buying. If you can't, buy extra and cannibalize a few broken ones to get at least one working one out of them. Although as you're in a controlled environment, I suspect there would be less breakages

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    Not a downside, but potentially still useful...
    I'd definately recommend the Samsung NC10 or NC310 - they feel much more solid and have a 98% full size keyboard (or maybe slightly higher - can't remember specifically!) I have one for personal use and don't have a problem with my fingers typing at normal speed! Although they come with 1GB RAM in one slot you could consider upgrading to 2GB - you might find a reseller willing to do this for you, or you might have to do it yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freak View Post
    Depends, what ones are you looking at?
    Looks like the Samsung NC130 or similar, hoping to get one on loan to check it out.

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    Would recommend both NC10 & NC20 (bigger, easier for typing) - both very good, can take a drop on the floor too

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    freak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IT_Guy View Post
    Looks like the Samsung NC130 or similar, hoping to get one on loan to check it out.
    Never got to play with one of those, sorry

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