Roman Sturgis Take care of each other and make good decisions.

July 17, 2008

Tiny solid state laptops

Filed under: Blog — Roman @ 1:20 pm

At the Apple Store in Boston the other day, a friend and I were told that Apple doesn’t make laptops anymore. There is a clear initiative to rebrand the computers as “portables” as putting them on your lap, or watching a movie in bed causes them to overheat. News to me.

I was further dismayed to learn that I will never again find a new Apple product that is similar to my beloved 12 inch IBook G4, which is approaching it’s fifth birthday, and therefore death. The MacBook Air interests me because it is light and runs cooler than a spinning hard-drive computer (because of the solid-state hard drive). I don’t mind not having a lot of hard drive space, as I recently purchased an external hard drive. What I do mind is the price. $1,500 is a rip off. Much better, I think, to further investigate the $200-$400 solid state ultra-portable laptops from HP and ASUS and other companies. These run a version of Unix which boots quickly and doesn’t take a lot of space. For my purposes, namely web browsing and word processing, it’s perfect. Hopefully I’ll be able to find more options when I get to Thailand, as I sense that the Asian markets are more developed when it comes to these wonderful little machines.

One problem I’ve noticed already, though, is that I need a close to full size keyboard. I don’t mind the small screen so much as the small keys. The tiny keys may work well for thin Asian fingers, but not for my fat American ones. The ASUS EEE PC keyboard is way too tiny for long writing sessions. I haven’t seen the HP ultra portable IRL yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in the next year, with newer models.

And what about my Mac? Well, the age of the square screen Mac is over. No more. Only widescreen from now on, despite the compromise that is made in size. Will Apple come out with a tiny, ultra-portable, smaller than even the Air? That would be pretty neat, but I get the sense that that low-cost market is not something the company of I-pods and I-phones is interested in. Such a shame.

1 Comment »

  1. Dell is about to put out a sub-compact (that’s what the product category is called) as well.

    Many of them boot Vista default, so try to opt for a free downgrade to XP, as it’s a much better OS, that is if you do end up buying a PC. Also, free word-processing software at

    I too am depressed they don’t make the 12-13 inch Mac laptops (oops, “portables”) any longer. I haven’t seen any major rumors of a true Mac sub-compact on the intarwebs. The Air only sort of is, as it’s super skinny, but still has a fairly large square-footage.

    I’m probably going to be looking for one soon as well, so let me know what you uncover.

    Comment by Morgan — August 22, 2008 @ 10:19 am

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