5 Tips for Buying an Ergonomic Netbook

Last Updated Jun 22, 2009 11:00 PM EDT

There are a lot of great reasons to get a netbook, either as a replacement for an aging laptop or as a secondary portable for trips when you want to travel light. Web Worker Daily just offered five tips for buying a netbook that you won't regret a month later, and I thought I'd pass them along.

  • Don't buy in cyberspace without first handling your netbook in the meatspace. A netbook is so small and makes so many ergonomic compromises that it exaggerates all the typical complaints about clunky laptops. You really need to try a specific model out with your own two hands to know if it'll work for you.
  • Pay particular attention to the keyboard. The easiest way to make a compact netbook is to shrink the keyboard, so make sure you can type more than a password on it comfortably.
  • Make sure it has your preferred pointing device. Some folks like pointing sticks, others like track pads. It's a Beatles/Stones thing; if you like one you'll never be happy with the other. But this is another case where hands-on time is important. Make sure the controller isn't crazy insane sensitive, or at least adjustable.
  • Display size is a key discriminator. Netbooks come in a wide range of screen sizes, from 7 inches to 10 inches. Make sure the screen works for you.
  • Battery life varies widely. Netbooks are all over the map, from 2 or 3 hours all the way up to a dozen. The way I see it, if you're going to get a netbook, you might as well invest in one that can run for twice as long as your current laptop.
Personally, I'm going to keep looking and waiting for netbooks to improve for a few more generations. Rick is more of a netbook advocate; he content that a netbook can replace a notebook. I, on the other hand, would be happy if it could do the job of a Kindle. Photo by zieak

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