gadget / 18/08/2009

the netbook square off

I’ve been using my Asus EEE pc since March this year and I’m happy with its performance. I wanted this particular brand of netbook because it was Asus who introduced us to the netbook (something along the lines of surely they know what they’re talking about). Since then, other brands have jumped on the bandwagon and came out with their versions too. I’m not disputing other brands; they saw the Asus EEE pc as a ‘prototype’ and fixed its ‘bugs’ by bringing out their versions.

netbooks

I currently have the Sony Vaio netbook on test (a review of it will appear in the next Digital Life magazine). I thought I’d do a post squaring off both these netbooks before Vaio gets collected.

Battery Life
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a netbook / laptop. My Asus EEE pc gave me 3 solid hours while the Sony Vaio W Series gave me only 2 hours 15 mins. I performed the same tasks on these netbooks: connected to the internet wirelessly, surfed and watched the occasional Youtube video (which is what netbooks are intended for).

Looks
The Asus is chunky compared to the Sony. Sony’s design is minimal and smooth with rounded edges. It has a matte finish which is great – no fingerprints. Both have large trackpads – always a good thing. The Sony weights 1.19kg and the Asus 1.4kg.

netbooks2Sound Quality
Both netbooks have stereo speakers but the quality on the Sony is very disappointing. Listening to music feels like you’re listening to the radio from the 70’s, it’s vile. You definitely would need portable speakers or earphones to go with the Sony. Sound on the Asus is clear – not wishy-washy like most netbooks / laptops.

Screen resolution
Sony wins, hands down. Their 10.1-inch display is crisp – I’d say it’s the best feature of the netbook. It has a 1366 x 768 resolution. The Asus has an 8.9-inch screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution – which is decent. You have nothing to complain about, only after using the Sony, you’d agree that it’s (Sony) awesome. Both netbooks are widescreen (I think most are).

netbooks3Just like most netbooks, both have 1GB of memory (therefore runs on Windows XP), built-in WLAN, Ethernet jack, VGA out and a webcam. One other thing I’d like to point out – the Sony only has 2 USB ports, while the Asus has 3. I think that any netbook should have a minimum of 3 USB ports. If you have a mini mouse and speakers connected to the Sony, you will have to remove one to access information from a flash stick.

I’d say that the Sony netbook would suit the busy fashionista or a spoilt rich kid. The Asus is a good choice for students and journalists who work from public hotspots every now and then (longer battery life a big plus).

Technical specs for both netbooks in my possession:
Asus EEE pc here and Sony Vaio W Series here.



Nafisa Akabor
Always online... except when I'm offline.




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  • I’ve been an ASUS fan for a while now. I’m currently running a 904 HD and get at least 5 hours battery life out of it doing everything you mentioned up there.

    As a freelance copywriter it’s great, because I can carry it in my backpack without any hassle and because it takes almost no time to boot up either I can haul it out at meetings for web info-searching or whatever. Best of all: I can use it on an airplane and still have room for my cooldrink.

    My only bugbear is the non-matte finish. Fingerprint Fail. But it’s a small price to pay for all the benefits of this little machine…

  • That’s the same one I’m using (80GB). I guess if I used a 3G dongle, I’d get more than 3 hours from mine. I misplaced the little cleaning cloth that came with it 🙁

  • I’m obssessed with my cleaning cloth. LOL. I think it’s approaching OCD. Got a little packing-away ritual and everything. OMG, I’m tragic. 🙂

    Quick question: are you running Windows XP on your machine? That could be why you’re only clocking 3 hours. I’ve uninstalled Windows and loaded up Linux Mint. There’s a little app you can download for Linux that increases battery life by killing off useless processes and kernel ticks.

  • Yes, running XP. I’ve toyed with the idea of running Ubuntu. I used to have a dual boot (on my desktop), but my pc crashed and thereafter I got the netbook.

  • Linux Mint is built on Ubuntu’s latest build (9.04). It’s super easy to install, run, update and troubleshoot (so far none of the last one – touch wood). You can load it on a flash disk and run it to almost full speed without killing your Windows install. Plus the commnunity is great in terms of support.

    I’ve got a CD copy Ubuntu if you want it (I think it’s got the NBR on it). It comes with stickers!! W00t!!

  • Lol @ stickers. Thank you, I do have access to it between my husband and a colleague – the resident Linux guru 😉

  • Groovy! Let me know how it works for ya.
    🙂

  • I choose the peeenk one..

    cos i read the technical specs of cos

  • Tally

    The Asus is a good choice for students and journalists who work from public hotspots every now and then (longer battery life a big plus).

    Yay 😀 Seems my baby was the right choice then!

  • @tally Of course it was 😉