Is a Netbook Safe for You?Jennifer Martinez
Mobile computing and communications is the hot segment of the technology market today. First came notebook PCs. Then smart phones. Now we have netbooks, which slide nicely into the space between smart phones and notebooks. Netbooks are bigger and more capable than a smart phone. Smaller, lighter, less capable, and less expensive than a notebook PC.
Netbooks are definitely hot. In fact, they’re so popular they’re cutting into the sales of notebook PCs. But is a netbook right for you? If you’re a student or road warrior, the answer is maybe. Here are some factors to consider:
Computing power. Netbooks are built around less powerful processors, so they handle basic tasks like email, Web browsing, and word processing very well. On the other hand, they’re not really up to handling graphics-intensive applications like photo-editing or gaming.
Screen. Most netbook screens range from 8-inches to 11-inches (measured diagonally), which is plenty of space for the tasks mentioned above, but may be too cramped for working on, say, large spreadsheets.
Memory. Most models ship with 512MB RAM, which is enough for basic applications but not much more. Some offer RAM upgrades, usually up to 2GB. Check the minimum memory requirements for the apps you run most often to see if a netbook will work for you. CD or DVD slots are not included, but card slots are.
Hard Drive. Netbooks feature solid state flash drives, usually 8 or 16GB. Items like music, photos, and video will fill that up pretty fast, so you may need an external drive or PC to which you can offload some of your files.
Operating System. Netbooks usually offer either Windows XP Home or Linux operating systems. Some Windows applications won’t run or don’t run well on XP Home. Linux only runs applications written for Linux, which rules out any existing Windows apps you may already have.
Software. The software that is pre-installed on most netbooks includes email, browser, and some productivity software, such as Microsoft Works or, on Linux models, OpenOffice.
Communications. All netbooks offer USB ports and WiFi, usually the slower wireless G which is fine for basic tasks. Some offer Bluetooth, often as an option.
Netbooks that include Windows XP Home should be protected by Internet security software. Not only should you look for a product that provides the up-to-the-minute protection you need, but look for one that has a lightweight footprint ideal for the memory and processing power limitations of netbooks.
A Netbook in Your Future?
As you can see, choosing a netbook involves some tradeoffs -- small size, weight, and price, versus advanced capabilities. It may be an ideal second computer for you or a perfect primary computer for your kids.
See for yourself. Safe computing!
Copyright (c) 2010 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.