Tag Archives: netbook

iPad Vs. Netbook: Does a Physical Keyboard Really Matter?

While his email is original, the question from community member “Tamloo” is an all-too-familiar one for me (unedited):

Hey Chris, I have been a really big fan of yous over the past couple of years. You are one of the main sources I get my technology news from. One thing I really like about you is that yes, you can be an “Apple Fanboy” at sometimes, but for the most part, you do reviews fairly and over a wide range of products and software. Unlike other tech reviews, you don’t just focus on one specific platform or company.

Well, the main reason why I am emailing you is because I recently purchased an Asus Netbook computer last year. It worked great for traveling since I travel very frequently; however I accidentally dropped my computer one week after the warranty expired and the screen completely shattered (huge crack down the middle, and I can’t see a thing on the screen). Sadly, during these rough economic times, I don’t know what kind of small-easy-to-use computer I could invest in at the moment.

Right now, all I have to use when I travel is my new iPhone4 (which I have grew to love over a month). I have not been much of an Apple fan, however I think it is actually coming out of me at the moment just like WilsonTech1 has lately. My main dilemma is what kind of computer should I get? Right now, I am extremely happy with my iPhone, and I am considering getting an iPad. But I don’t know if it is worth getting since I don’t know if the price is really right to me. If I get an iPad, I will most likely be getting the original as seeing the price has been dropped.

Now, the thing I like about a netbook is that it has a physical keyboard, but watching you videos, you state that the virtual keyboard isn’t that bad on the iPad. Is that really true? I like the iPhone’s keyboard and find it easy to use and normally don’t miss a key when typing. But does the iPad’s keyboard have that same easy and fluent functionality and can I type fast enough to have it replace a netbook?

What is your stance on this, should I go the extra $200 and buy an iPad or would a new netbook be worth it? Thanks for your opinion.

I appreciate that you’re asking for my opinion, but I can’t really tell you what to buy. It’s your money, and you need to be the one who makes the decision that works best for you. I’m only here to provide a good amount of perspective; I really have no horse in this race.

What I find most uplifting about the phrasing of your question is how you’re referring to an iPad as a computer — which it absolutely is. Few people have made this distinction, but I can tell you that the iPad can certainly do more than my first “home computer” could. The iPad is a computer.

Now, on to the crux of your quandary.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found super-compact notebook / netbook computers to have super-scrunched, unusable-for-anything-but-infant-hand keyboards — and this flat fact, to me, defeats the purpose of having a keyboard in the first place. If your WPM on an average netbook is half of what it is on a standard keyboard, I’d be shocked.

So, are you in love with the keyboard, or merely the idea of the keyboard?

If the lack of a physical keyboard is what’s keeping you from buying an iPad, rest assured that there are countless iPad cases that accommodate workable keyboards that couple with the iPad (AND iPhone) via Bluetooth. You could also pick up an Apple Wireless Keyboard and use that in a similar fashion.

Moreover, iOS typo correction kicks the shot out of anything I’ve ever seen as a default in Windows (outright, third-party tools notwithstanding). Doesn’t that count for something in relation to keyboarding?

So, if that doesn’t help you decide, you should also be considering battery life. I’ve yet to find a single netbook computer that came close to 10-hour battery life after any amount of usage. You’d be lucky to find one that lasted 5 hours when doing nothing. If you’re never more than three hours from an electrical outlet, this may be less of an issue for you.

I think you may be better off comparing the iPad against other tablet computers (no, not Tablet PCs). There are quite a few Android devices on the market that weigh in at the same price point as a netbook, although you’re more than likely sacrificing quality if you go that direction – not just in terms of construction, but in absolute hardware features (resistive screen, no multi-touch, et al).

You can always save money — but at what cost?

It’s this phrase alone that continues to poke holes in the “too expensive” theory. Ask any owner of a faulty product how much more they would have paid to have something that just worked.

Either way, if you’re looking to save money on your impending purchase, we have a coupon site for you to use that includes savings on Apple computers.

How to Buy a Netbook


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While using the I Am T-Pain Auto-Tune app the other night, someone in chat asked if I would buy a netbook through Sprint or just purchase one outright from a regular store. You know me – I had to keep singing along through the app as I gave my answer.

I would definitely buy the device outright and not through Sprint. Think about it this way: Sprint could be dead in the water in a couple of years. Yes, they have a large network. Many other companies have had large networks only to die out for no apparent reason. With the economy the way it is, you just never know what’s going to happen. Where will you be with your Sprint netbook then, my friend?

Buying a device outright whenever possible is just smart, in my opinion. You aren’t tethered to any specific network or service. You’re free to choose what you do with that device, and how (and where!) you do it. There’s no contracts to worry about and no being tied down to limitations of a company – such as Sprint.

Would YOU buy through Sprint or any other company, or would you just head to your local gadget store and pick one up there?

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Never Gonna Give You Up


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According to a study just released by Slate, the sale of laptops eclipsed the sale of desktops last year – 44% to 38%. The remainder of sales went to netbooks. These figures would lead one to believe that laptops may be replacing desktops as the primary machines people own. Lamarr is here to tell you that as far as he’s concerned, that isn’t going to happen.

Lamarr says that laptops are useful, but don’t have the same workhorse power as his desktop. He won’t give up the power of his desktop, and says he can upgrade “old reliable” easily. Lamarr even went to Fry’s to check out some new notebooks just to see what the hype is all about.

While many of the notebooks there were “very nice,” they just don’t measure up to a desktop machine. Yes – a desktop keeps you chained to your desk. But for those of us who work at home – from a DESK – it makes sense to have a workhorse.

For Lamarr, a laptop is great for traveling. If he had to choose only one machine, Lamarr tells his desktop that he will “never give you up.”

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No Kids Meal Toys in Fattening Fare

Santa Clara County out in California has announced that they will now regulate what kids meals are allowed to give away toys in the hopes that your children will become healthier. Any meal which has more than 485 calories, 600 milligrams of sodium will no longer be allowed to offer a toy along with dinner. Additionally, if the meal has more than 35 percent of calories from fat or more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar, the toy ban will be imposed.

County Supervisor Ken Yeager says that the new ordinance will “prevent restaurants from preying on children’s love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids’ meals.” This, of course, rules out those super-awesome Happy Meal toys that every child crave. Can you imagine where the world would be right now if we had never had the Beanie Baby craze several years ago? I shudder to think about it, honestly.

While I applaud the fact that the county wants to promote healthy eating, I cannot help but think there has to be a better way. Why are you going to deprive children of something they love because of bad choices their parents make for them?

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iPad vs Netbooks


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TechJohnson is a regular member of our live chat room. He recently asked if I thought that the iPad will “overtake” the market for netbooks. Keep in mind that an iPad isn’t technically a netbook before you even decide what your answer is going to be.

I happen to have both an iPad and a netbook… both purchased with my own hard-earned money. While the netbook I have certainly works, I rarely use it or take it with me anywhere. The keyboard is too small, and it’s just slow. All netbooks I’ve played around with seem to be sloooooooow. That’s not a good common denominator in my opinion.

The iPad is fast. It has a wealth of apps. You don’t have to worry about spyware or viruses. You can watch HD videos and browse the web. It’s clean and uncluttered with a great user experience.

I don’t know that the iPad is going to “kill” anything, though. It’s not a killer. It won’t displace notebooks, and it won’t displace netbooks. I do feel, however, that it has raised the bar for touch experience.

Apple doesn’t produce junk when it comes to hardware. The accessories are somewhat in question at times, but that’s better left for a different blog post. When it comes to hardware and devices, Apple definitely has it going on.

Depite all of its pros, the iPad won’t kill off iPhones or netbooks. It is a different type of device entirely.

I will go on record as saying that the iPad could possibly replace portable game consoles. I’ll go as far as to say that the iPad will triumph in mobile gaming in ways that the PSP and Nintendo DS never could. Mark my words… gaming is always the killer app. Am I wrong?

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Correcting a Malware Untruth

There is a malware fallacy that needs to be corrected immediately. Some students have netbooks for taking notes because the machines are light and easily carried… and some even have terrific battery life. As students, they use their netbooks almost exclusively for taking lecture notes and checking email. There is a belief that, because the little machine is used just to check email online, security software is not needed.

This is incorrect.

It does not matter where you go online. Simply being online is a danger, and the same precautions should be taken, whether on a netbook, a laptop, or a desktop. There are reports that 2009 was a record breaking year for malware. There were millions of these malicious programs circulating online. Millions is not an exaggeration.

Every machine that you use to go online, no matter how briefly, has to be protected. One of the software programs that is recommended is the award winning security offered by Spyware Doctor.

“Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus is a top-rated malware, spyware & virus removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, viruses, keyloggers, spybots, and tracking threats.” It has won numerous awards and Spyware Doctor is good for “Microsoft Windows 7 (32bit, 64bit), Windows Vista SP1+ (32bit, 64bit), Windows XP SP2+ (32bit).”

This is one of the premier, well-recognized security programs. PC Tools is allowing three computers to be protected under one license. That means that, for under seventeen dollars each, three computers can be protected from viruses, spyware, malware, and other security threats.

This is a bargain to protect every online computer in the house. If you are online, you need to be protected. We recommend Spyware Doctor as one of the programs to use. And when you use Spyware Doctor, update the security definitions regularly. It is doubtful that malware will decrease in the new year. Unfortunately, there will be millions more malware programs identified by the end of this new year.

What are Your Greatest Accomplishments?

Reading threads on Geeks a little while ago, one headline in particular jumped out at me. The poster asks: What are your greatest accomplishments in life?. Even if you feel you have gone “nowhere” in life, the fact remains that you still have things to be proud of. So what if you haven’t reached all of your goals yet? The point is that if you really look at yourself and your past, you will indeed find many things to be proud of.

I’m interested in hearing your stories. Did you ace a test you thought for sure you would bomb? Did you win a scholarship that you had prayed for? Did your website or business garner more attention than you dreamed it could? It doesn’t matter how “small” an accomplishment may seem to you, the fact is that it is still something you should gloat about! So go ahead – share it with all of us!

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How Did Friday Get Here Already?

I noticed a little while ago that my friend Mark Horvath mentioned that he somehow lost a day, and it’s now Thursday. Well, let’s correct that. Since it’s well after midnight now, it’s actually Friday already! How the heck did that happen? I swear the week just started. You’re telling me it’s over already?!

I know I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to get done this week. Did you? How does the time slip away so fast during this time of year? The holidays are creeping in closer and faster, and I’m not ready yet! I haven’t hung my stocking. I haven’t finished decorating my house. I haven’t baked cookies for Santa yet!!! How am I supposed to get any work done with all of these uber-important things hanging over me? Heck – let’s not even TALK about shopping for presents!

TGIF, everyone!

What Toy Would You Want for Christmas?

I admitted in a video earlier today that I still enjoy playing with LEGO Bricks. I also apparently still like the Lite Brite!

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally letting your inner child come out to play when you’re a grown-up. I personally think it can help keep you sane and stress-free if you let your hair down once in awhile, and take the time to remember what it’s like to play. What do you do during occasions like these? Do you indulge yourself with crayons? Do you prefer to duke it out with action figures?

What toys do your inner child still love to play with?

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