Thanks to Asus, just about everyone knows what a netbook is. With major retail stores like Radio Shack and Best Buy pushing ultraportables like the Eee PC and Acer’s Aspire One this season, there are bound to be many new netbook owners come holiday time.
Is anyone on your list a good fit? A new netbook would make a great gift for any one of these seven different types of people:
1. The student. It’s been years since I had to carry a backpack, but my memory is good enough that I know I wouldn’t want the added weight of a 14 or 15 inch laptop to lug around school. I’d recommend a model with a good battery: six cells (or better) will provide most students with enough power to handle a full day of classes without missing a beat.
2. The travelling professional. With security and luggage regulations as tight as they are, the frequent flyer on your list would defenitely enjoy a netbook. Models with a 10″ LCD (like the Wind) are less than nine inches wide and leave plenty of room in a carry-on bag for other necessities. There’s still plenty of computing power inside, too – so replying to emails, typing documents, and running PowerPoint presentations is no problem at all. Most models sport a built-in webcam, so they’ll even be able to videoconference using an app like Skype.
3. The green consumer. Netbooks are great computers for the environmentally conscious. Apart from requiring less energy and resources to produce because of their size, they’re very easy on the electrical grid. Even running full-bore on AC power an Intel Atom-based netbook is unlikely to consume more than 20 watts or so, substantially less than other computers. Models that sport an LED-backlit display (like the MSI Wind) are usually the most efficient.
4. The pixie. There’s a good reason Acer and MSI produce pink models, and they’re extremely popular. Let’s face it: a cute girl will love a cute laptop. It’s been a real struggle for many retail stores in North America to keep up with the demand for pink, so start looking early if you’re thinking of picking one up for a gift.
5. The writer. I bought my Wind about four months after I started blogging for Download Squad, and I’ve never made a better job-related purchase. No matter where I am I can pull out my netbook and type up an article, brainstorm, or rant. I tried doing it before with a traditional laptop, and there’s no comparison: the battery life and portability are far better, and that’s what I need most when I’m not writing at home.
6. The on-site technician. There are any number of reasons a computer technician needs his or her own computer when doing work on-site for a client. A netbook is a fantastic way to cram an arsenal of troubleshooting and repair tools into what is likely an already-overstuffed kit. Having my Wind makes it much easier for me to perform all sorts of tasks, from backing up files to diagnosing network troubles.
7. The smartphone hater. I have a cell phone to make and receive calls. I want it to do that – and only that – as well as it possibly can. Sure, handsets like the iPhone are about eight times smaller than a netbook. For someone that needs a portable computing device but can’t stand the idea of using a tiny phone, however, a netbook is a great alternative.
8. The visual artist/designer. I’ve got to give my wife credit for this one. She designs and creates handmade jewelry, and everything gets added to her massive My Pictures folder. A netbook is the perfect way for her (or any creative professional) to display the full range of her work anywhere, any time. It’s lot more convenient to carry around than a massive zippered portfolio.
Lee Mathews is a computer technician in Manitoba, Canada. He’s a regular contributor to Download Squad, and the proud owner of an MSI Wind U100 netbook.