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  1. #1
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    Mobile Internet Devices (MID)

    On my last trip I almost bought an Asus EEE PC but chickened out at the last minute. I did bring a bulky Garmin GPS and was surprised to find it very useful and fun even though we knew the area. I started searching and I think a MID might be a fun toy to have so I'd thought I'd see if anyone had a favorite.

    I'm hoping to get something that can surf the web to look things up like places to see or phone numbers for a place to eat (nothing big). Having something to take notes or a to-do list would be great too. Being able to play music is a must so it can replace my iPod. Videos wouldn't be bad but I don't record them to devices much because it was a major time killer. GPS was a requirement but now that I look it's not looking good.

    I searched and found a few. There's the iPhone of course but the monthly fee and switching to AT&T is a downer for me. Plus I don't think I need to connect to the internet at all times, only a Wi Fi hotspot should be fine for this device. The iPod Touch is a possible choice but it lacks a GPS you can use on the road, which would mean also taking the GPS too.

    The Nokia N810 (Nokia nSeries) gets some good reviews. But it's GPS requires a hefty fee to the provider to get driving directions. It is Linux based which means free apps but that is hard to predict prior to buying. It lacks any kind of to do list feature but again maybe a free download can handle that. Finally it's storage is low compared some other options.

    Archos has some new internet devices set to come out soon, but some of their older models are nice too. Drawbacks on these are they lack the to-do list type of stuff and GPS is extra via a bracket that actually has the GPS chip in it. They appear to have nice screens and would handle videos well. Storage is huge too.

  2. #2
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    I think the ITouch is the handiest device I have owned in a long time.
    I am a long time Treo Palm user and though I would like an Iphone I do not plan to switch as I despise AT&T but the Touch has been a great tool for me and I carry it everywhere.

    On a practical note though,I need a keyboard and full screen to really get anything done,even if it is leisure and not real work.

    I have tried or looked at all of the tiny portable machines I can and I either can not see the screen as I am getting too old and /or the entire form factor is just too small for the performance they give.
    Bad keyboards,Terrible battery life or spotty wi-fi/ They are all severly handicapped in my experience.

    I still prefer my 12" Powerbook to almost anything else.
    Everything is built-in,it is plenty fast and powerful,I can watch TV and Movies with it and it just makes me happy using it.
    Browsing is fast and reliable. I put a 320gig drive in it and can carry a lot.
    I also have two Brain Cell' and other cool stuff that goes with it.

    I also have recently been using a small Dell Lattitude D400 and it is a very nice package(for a Windows machine-XP Pro of cours)
    I especially like the heavy metal feel but the low actual weight of it and the trackpad has some great internet friendly features.The battery life is easily as good as the dinky little machines but it has a workable keyboard and 12 " screen. The best thing about the Dell is the under $200.00 I have in them as they are available from the off-lease market and are great little machines.


    I have not gotten to use the MSI Wind yet but it looks too small for me and underpowered but does have a decent sized screen.

    The Eee looks nice but I just can not see the screen.

    I have also used the Sony Micro and just small machines and in both cases I just can not use them.

    I have also tried every imaginable combination of computer and GPS and I have decided after all of it to carry a Garmin when I travel,No exceptions.
    I will even carry a Garmin when using a computer GPS solution too!
    I also use GPS to provide real time vehicle tracking when I am traveling and that works really well but I need Amateur radio gear to get that going.

    It feels like a Holy Quest or something but of course I need a bag for any machine I find.......don't I?!?

    Ed
    Last edited by AVService; 08-26-2008 at 06:26 PM. Reason: Why Not?

  3. #3
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    As a fellow PB12 owner, let me assure you that the MSI Wind and its Intel Atom processor run circles around the G4 laptop. In fact, I'm selling my PB12 and replacing it with a Wind, or possibly Lenovo's similar S10 when I get a chance to compare them in a month or so. The Atom-based laptops are much faster and more powerful than the Apple G4 laptops -- it's really quite an amazing little CPU.

    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    I still prefer my 12" Powerbook to almost anything else.
    Everything is built-in,it is plenty fast and powerful,I can watch TV and Movies with it and it just makes me happy using it.
    Browsing is fast and reliable. I put a 320gig drive in it and can carry a lot.
    I also have two Brain Cell' and other cool stuff that goes with it.


    I have not gotten to use the MSI Wind yet but it looks too small for me and underpowered but does have a decent sized screen.



    Ed

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonjake View Post
    As a fellow PB12 owner, let me assure you that the MSI Wind and its Intel Atom processor run circles around the G4 laptop. In fact, I'm selling my PB12 and replacing it with a Wind, or possibly Lenovo's similar S10 when I get a chance to compare them in a month or so. The Atom-based laptops are much faster and more powerful than the Apple G4 laptops -- it's really quite an amazing little CPU.
    For me the power of the G4 is not really a problem.
    The type of use for this tiny subset of computing dictates practical more than powerful,at least for me.
    So far I have not found one as practical as the PB for me.

    I would even go as far as saying I still prefer my HP Omnibook 800 to any of the tiny machines I have tried at length.

    I also really like the Dual-Boot ability of the Apple Intel machines but the MBA is priced too high for me right now.

    I would much rather buy at the bottem of the cycle of a used machine than throw so much money at a machine I really am not wild about anyway.

    I am looking at a refurbed Toughbook that is under 3lbs.They even have one with an optical drive built-in and another with a touchscreen.

    Again much more practical for me than any "Netbook" I have used so far.

    I am very anxious to try the Wind for sure.

  5. #5
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    At first I did consider the small notebook like the EEE PC but one nice thing about going smaller like the iPod Touch or Nokia n810 is that it would be something I could take with me to work everyday with my work laptop, just like I take my 80gb iPod now. Technically I could go with an MSI Wind or EEE PC because I have a Brain Bag but the idea of using one of those two to listen to mp3s at work seems like overkill to me. But those small notebooks would probably fit in my personal carry on (Red Oxx Gator - sorry TB).

    I am concerned with the screen and keyboard size though. But it is appealing to have internet browsing capability in the size of my current iPod. In theory, I hope it's usable enough where I can just get by.

    I think I may need to give up on getting GPS included. Seems like nothing can do both really well. I did read that Bluetooth GPS devices can communicate to PDAs well but these MID devices don't seem to do that.

  6. #6
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    I've been using an eee pc 1000h for a few weeks now and have it with me on the road as my work laptop. The screen is decent sized (10.2 in) and the laptop weighs about as much as a MBA. Comes standard with an 80GB hard drive, 3 usb ports and an SD card reader. Also includes wifi and bluetooth radios. It comes loaded with a modified for the machine version of Windows XP home. (People have commented that they are hacking it to dual boot OSX with Windows. I have not been so brave as yet.) Takes about 40-45 sec to boot. So far it has been getting 4-4.5 hours on a charge. I really like this machine. My only real gripe is the placement of the right shift key. When I type my finger wants to go elsewhere - and strikes the up arrow key which is just to the left. The keyboard otherwise is nice - almost full size - and does not feel as cramped as the one on the original eee pc. Cost is about the same as the MSI Wind or Acer machines.

  7. #7
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    I used to feel that my PB12 was all the power I needed in a laptop. I have a very powerful Mac Pro setup at my workstation and only do web browsing and some word processing on my laptop, and of course I like to watch movies on the road.

    But once Macs went Intel, the overall slowness of the G4 laptops really became apparent. Firefox launches instantly on my C2D MacBook, while the icon bounces and bounces on my PB12. Full-screen Flash video a la YouTube stresses the PB so much the fans kick in at max speed, and frames are dropped all over the place. This is stuff the C2D Macs sail through without breaking a sweat, and while running 10 other apps in the background.

    Leopard on an Atom-based computer falls somewhere in the middle of the PB12 and the C2D MacBook. I get a few icon bounces when an app loads, but not as many as the PB. Full-screen Flash video isn't a problem. Hell, full-screen 720p HD is flawless on a Leopard/Atom system.

    So while I agree with you that the PB12 is all anyone really needs in a laptop meant for web surfing and light duty, you'd be surprised how slow it feels when you get used to the newer Intel Macs and even one running on an Atom. Now, an Atom in a PB12 form factor? I'll buy five of them, today.


    Quote Originally Posted by AVService View Post
    For me the power of the G4 is not really a problem.
    The type of use for this tiny subset of computing dictates practical more than powerful,at least for me.
    So far I have not found one as practical as the PB for me.

    I would even go as far as saying I still prefer my HP Omnibook 800 to any of the tiny machines I have tried at length.

    I also really like the Dual-Boot ability of the Apple Intel machines but the MBA is priced too high for me right now.

    I would much rather buy at the bottem of the cycle of a used machine than throw so much money at a machine I really am not wild about anyway.

    I am looking at a refurbed Toughbook that is under 3lbs.They even have one with an optical drive built-in and another with a touchscreen.

    Again much more practical for me than any "Netbook" I have used so far.

    I am very anxious to try the Wind for sure.

  8. #8
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    I hear ya,I have three Intel Macs so far.

    A Mini,MacBook and MBPro.
    Each is certainly faster and more interesting in some way than their PPC counterparts.
    The problem is....the 12"PB has no true Intel ereplacement,at least not to me.

    I just feel for portability and general browsing,Itunes,etc, I really prefer the 12" Form and it is worth the tradeoffs.

    That said,I work the most with a Toughbook CF-29 that is big,heavy,waterproof,has a regular 6 hour battery and a Touchscreen and is truly armored in every way.
    I don't even need a case for it for protection or portability,it has a carry handle too.

    Ahh....Too many machines.too little time.

    Ed



    Quote Originally Posted by jonjake View Post
    I used to feel that my PB12 was all the power I needed in a laptop. I have a very powerful Mac Pro setup at my workstation and only do web browsing and some word processing on my laptop, and of course I like to watch movies on the road.

    But once Macs went Intel, the overall slowness of the G4 laptops really became apparent. Firefox launches instantly on my C2D MacBook, while the icon bounces and bounces on my PB12. Full-screen Flash video a la YouTube stresses the PB so much the fans kick in at max speed, and frames are dropped all over the place. This is stuff the C2D Macs sail through without breaking a sweat, and while running 10 other apps in the background.

    Leopard on an Atom-based computer falls somewhere in the middle of the PB12 and the C2D MacBook. I get a few icon bounces when an app loads, but not as many as the PB. Full-screen Flash video isn't a problem. Hell, full-screen 720p HD is flawless on a Leopard/Atom system.

    So while I agree with you that the PB12 is all anyone really needs in a laptop meant for web surfing and light duty, you'd be surprised how slow it feels when you get used to the newer Intel Macs and even one running on an Atom. Now, an Atom in a PB12 form factor? I'll buy five of them, today.

  9. #9
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    The problem is....the 12"PB has no true Intel ereplacement,at least not to me.
    I agree. That's the only thing making me hang on to my PB 12"... But I guess one day I'll have to give in as I don't think Apple will get back to the 12" form factor....
    In our household: Black/Steel Aeronaut (with 2 large packing cubes and Absolute shoulder strap), Forest/Steel Aeronaut (1 large and 2 small packing cubes), Olive/Wasabi medium Cafe Bag, Linen/Olive Medium Cafe Bag, Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Cardinal/Hemp/Steel Imago, Hemp Little Swift, Solar Shop Bag, Plum/Wasabi Side Effect, Black/Steel/Solar Smart Alec, Horizontal and Vertical Freudian Slips, TB Wallet, Hemp Little Swift, FOT pouch, Black/Olive ID

  10. #10
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    Don't get me wrong -- I looove my PB12. Best form factor of any laptop I've ever had. But my MacBook just flat runs circles around it, weighs less, runs longer on a charge, speeds through even HD video rendering while letting me surf and work on other stuff, and has what I feel is a superior keyboard. But man alive, if I could do a motherboardectomy and replace the PB12's guts with the MacBooks? Nirvana. The sky would rend usunder and the universe would collapse upon itself. Things can never be that perfect.

    Back to the Atom netbooks. Until Apple does a thin, lightweight laptop somewhere between the Air and the MacBook, perhaps with the new Atom Core Duo when it comes out this fall, the Atom-based minis like the Wind, the Lenovo, and the Acer are excellent candidates for ultralite OSX. It is downright shocking to see how snappy that tiny, watt-sipping CPU is running Leopard.

  11. #11
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    I have one of those smart phones, it is nice to be able to surf, play and do some task planning on the go.

    But... the screen and keyboard are terrible, the battery life is a joke and the
    operating system is...temperamental!

    I have been eying the Mac Book Air but I do not know if it is the right solution.

    I want something really light that I can take everywhere without back strain, I also want some sort of way to back up my data, the Air doesn't have a big hard drive and it is very expensive.

    I'll guess I wait until the Air is displaced by the latest craze at the next Mac World Expo.

  12. #12
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    If I could do my job on one of those small laptops it might be an option but I can't see myself needing a home laptop to go along with my home pc. I saw an Acer light notebook at Circuit City and though I don't like Acer it was a nifty little machine. I can see having fun just surfing with one of those tiny Linux based machines.

    I may see if the next iPod Touch has built in GPS. If so that might be something I can't ignore.

    Having done some research on phones, I wonder if the new ones based on Android (the Google sponsored phone development kit) will nudge the iPhone dominated market in a new direction.

  13. #13
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    Update: I had a chance to play around with an Acer Aspire One netbook over the past few days and it appears that the Windows XP version is not as OSX-friendly as the Linux/SSD version which which some have reported success in installing patched versions of OSX. Despite numerous attempts that have worked pefectly with similar Atom-based PCs, I couldn't get the Aspire One to run OSX.


    So I need to correct what I said before about the OP's Aspire One -- it is not a candidate for Hackintoshery, I'm afraid. Still a very nice little lappy, but it looks like you're limited to Linux and XP.


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