Need opinions........

bryansdaMay 19, 2012

I'm mainly a lurker, but thought I'd ask for some opinions on this.

I want a new 'toy'. My granddaughter will be in the hospital for several weeks this fall and I'll need something to help keep myself busy while there with her. I think I understand the differences between a netbook, laptop and tablet but can't decide which I want to get. I want something small and portable to mainly check emails, read forums, play a few games and maybe read a book, but not sure about the last one. I want to be able to multitask and really prefer using a keyboard. The screen needs to be at least the size of an ipad. I want to keep the price under $400 and the cheaper the better since I won't be using it for much more than I've stated above. We have a Kindle Fire, but I have trouble seeing it even with my cheaters.

What would you get and WHY?

Thank you for the help.


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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I have everything you mentioned, well I have several different tablets. To me it sounds like you would prefer a netbook, your keyboard comments make me lean that direction.

I love my tablets but if you have a fire and don't care for it then don't get another tablet.
With a netbook you have the portability plus a keyboard and there are many ereader programs to add to it including kindle for pc. I like my Acer Aspire netbook, it is not as light weight as my tablets, and you do have to be careful where you set it so that the fans on the bottom can work, I have a lapdesk for mine.
The new netbooks have more powerful processors than the early ones did and can run faster. I just posted about one here recently that was around $250. I believe it was an Acer.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 2:46AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Here is the thread where I posted about the Acer

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 2:53AM
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DD has the Acer netbook and uses it just like a computer. I think she added a portable hard drive for more space. She has used it for 3 years.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 8:33AM
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I have a laptop, a netbook, and an iPad.

I much prefer the iPad, and I have a separate bluetooth keyboard for it that rolls up. The only limitation (for me) on the iPad is the lack of ability to play flash-based games.

The netbook does sound ideal for you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 9:05AM
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You would have to make sure that the hospital has wifi available to you if you want the Internet if you get a wifi only computer.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 9:15AM
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I love my Asus tablet. I bought the separate keyboard that easily attaches, so you can use it alone as a tablet or with the keyboard as a netbook. I'm thrilled with the quality and the versatility. I like it much better than an Ipad.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Hi bryansda,

If you only want it for a short while ...

... would you be interested in finding one to borrow?

Maybe send out an email to your friends, asking if someone has an obsolete one that's lying around after they upgraded and that'd do the trick for you, that they'd be willing to ...

... lend ...

... rent ...

... or sell?

And possibly ask them to pass on your request to their email list?

After all ... why lay out a buck ... if you can get the same result for a dime?

Or - "free"'s even better - right?

Hope you have a great weekend.

Mine's to be interesting ... as this old, outdated clergyperson's to get back into harness!

Actually, having helped some refugees get their lives back into operable condition about 60 years ago, after the Korean War, I shared in part of the unofficial missionary training program of learning how to get a dollar's worth of work ...

... out of a nickel.

But - inflation having been what it has been, I guess that'd be a dime/quarter, by now.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 1:41PM
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Thank you for the ideas and information.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 4:16PM
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I'm not sure I made myself clear, it's not that I don't like the Kindle, it's I have a hard time seeing it. That's why I don't want anything with a smaller screen than 10. I'm not against a tablet and getting a keyboard to go with it when I want to use one. I'm looking more at keeping the price down.

joyfulguy I like the idea of borrowing something, but may be with my granddaughter for a couple of months. I hate to ask to borrow something for that long when my friend might need to use it in that time.

Marita40 I saw the Asus tablet yesterday at OfficeMax. I loved it and the key board, but it's way more than I want to spend.

ravencajun is the Acer a small laptop or netbook? Is my understanding correct, that I can do more with a laptop than a netbook? Can I load things on a netbook like I can on a laptop?

I'm roadkill on the internet highway and with it's tools.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:57PM
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I don't think you should consider this a "toy". That's where a lot of people run into problems. I really feel this is a tool for you in your situation and while you can use a screwdriver for a hammer especially with toys, it's usually better to use the right tool for the job.

I do not have much experience with netbooks but I know people who use them and none are too thrilled about them beyond their limited specialty use. That's not to say they're not right for some. More later.

I have a small tablet and it's fine for certain things but hasn't gotten and likely will not get much use from me. It's the take with in case I need to access the internet away from home unit and it works fine for that but it's slower and often frustratingly so. It can be useful in a waiting room for a couple of hours waiting for a car repair, Dr. appointment or something to check mail, search info like an address or something, etc. but beyond that it's not a good fit for me. I haven't found it more useful in a store for instance than a pen and paper going back to my PC. I much prefer a notebook computer, for screen size, speed and ease of use.

Generally (what's now commonly called) a laptop (it's actually a "notebook" so for this post the terms are interchangeable) will be more functional than a netbook. I'd go with a laptop if I were you and the reasons being:
1) Price. There's a lot of laptops well under $400. Newegg and Microcenter run them for $250-$350 all the time. You might choose to upgrade the RAM a bit, get an external mouse, a USB drive (for transfering & backing up files) and a good carrying case for it and still be about $400 or under.
2) Meeting your needs. It'll do it, and more. It'll also probably have more USB ports than the other options if that's a benefit and is for me.
3) You can use it to play DVDs, CDs and music CDs. You might want to consider something like Netflix or rent some DVDs and watch movies, especially if there's wifi issues at the hospital or even if there aren't such issues. Your granddaughter might like to watch a movie or listen to some of her favorite music. Tablet won't work as well and you'll need more gear with most netbooks.
Now let me add a caveat here. Many/most netbooks do not have optical drives (meaning CD/DVD). They'll probably have the ability to connect an external, but that's additional cost and more gear to carry, thus more weight so the netbook advantage there is lost to a notebook (laptop as often called these days).
4) Tagging onto Joyful's suggestion, you might find a used one more readily available if you choose that option.
5) Screen size. I can't say enough to people over about 30-35 looking for new "toys" as far as screen size. I'm using what's called a 17" notebook/laptop and still will zoom in for reading forums and the like. Netbooks will have a smaller screen as will tablets. My 7" tablet serves a limited purpose but would never work for much use at a time.
6) With the larger screen size you can both watch a movie together which could be very comforting to both of you or play a game together or any number of things. You could also connect an external mouse and keyboard to put in your lap and keep the unit on a sturdier table if that might be a benefit.
7) This is a rather small advantage but certainly worth consideration. Are you ready to explore a new technology when you're going to be under stress? A notebook will be far more familiar to you in operation than the others. A new one will likely have Windows7 on it but even if you're used to XP you can set it up or have it set up to look and feel like XP. Again, not a big thing, but worth mentioning.

I like a keyboard and mouse. For many things I also like they number keypad and you can get a USB external one for about $25. Your needs might not need one though.

Whichever of these you choose will be subject to theft so you need to keep security in mind. But your budget is reasonable and worst case, wouldn't be a huge loss.

Each piece of gear has it's advantages and disadvantages. If weight is a big consideration, then the tablet wins. Versatility, the laptop wins. Compromise, depending on needs a netbook could work. For me, I can't see a time where a netbook would be better for me than the 15" notebook. Screen size is important to me. The weight of my 15" is not objectionable. I used to take it with me when I traveled to look up routes on the mapping program and check email, etc.

I'm always annoyed when I see a situation where someone asks what they should get and give their needs and then someone says something like "I have the Binford 6000 and I LOVE it!" but won't say what *their* needs are and *why* it's perfect for them. Their needs may be different than yours so be sure to keep YOUR needs, desires and budget in mind rather than mine or theirs.

BTW, one suggestion, if you go with a netbook or notebook, toss a 6'-10' extension cord in the case to keep power available. You probably want to keep it fully charged anyway if you go someplace you don't have outlet access. A tablet might not need it as much.

Good luck to you and your granddaughter.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 5:45AM
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cynic, thank you for the information and thoughts on this. You gave me lots of things to consider.

I was talking to my daughter last night and she may have a solution for me. She has a friend that use to work for Dell. Her friend has both a netbook and laptop that he's fixed up and has for sale. She was thinking of getting one for her son and I told her to get me the other if she likes the looks of it. He's asking less for both units than anything else I've priced. I think either will do what I want, plus keep the price down. Now let's hope she likes what he has and my shopping will be done for me......LOL.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 1:22AM
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My suggestion related to the possibility that someone had upgraded and had their old one lying around not being used, that they hadn't disposed of, that lending to you for even a few months wouldn't inconvenience them at all.

Which is not uncommon, I think.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 3:22PM
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