Rather than do a complete review and describe all the features (both of which can be found elsewhere on the web), I’ll just summarize the key things I like about this netbook. Some of these I knew about before buying, some not until afterwards:
- Long battery life (9.5 hours advertised, if I get half that I’ll be happy) – the main reason I bought this model
- Keyboard improved over previous models (location of right shift key no longer a problem)
- Easily accessible hard drive and memory compartment (can eventually replace the 160GB HD with a SSD when the technology and price come up to speed)
- Bootable off a SD card or USB thumb drive
The latter point was of recent interest. All my program files take about 12GB, so I just bought a 16GB USB flash drive for doing a complete backup of the operating system (XP Home) and program files. Furthermore, all my old too-small-to-be-useful SD cards can be repurposed as bootable recovery disks. (I didn’t think it was worth it to spring for an external DVD drive that would be rarely used.)
Telling the netbook to look for the SD card or USB drive upon booting is easy, it’s just a setting in the BIOS. The challenge has been formatting the removable media and making it bootable. In my next post I’ll talk about how I created the bootable SD card and USB drive.