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Oh, boy! A new toy!

January 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I hate to admit it, but I’m getting old and lazy.

Lazy because I have school some nights and I’m getting tired of packing the MacBook Pro to and from campus.  Yes, it’s only about 6 1/2 pounds with power adapter, but with books and such, it gets tedious for me to carry around.  Also, since it’s getting a little older (along with me), the battery only goes for about two hours.  Since my classes are usually 2 1/2 hours long, I’d need to make sure I’m near a power outlet and that’s just not possible a lot of times. (Pshah, did someone say paper notes?  Luddite)  The other reason is that it’d just be nice to grab-‘n-go when I’m at home.  Right now with the MBP, I have to disconnect the power, two usb connectors, the speakers, the external monitor, etc.

So the solution?  Buy myself something that lasts longer and is lighter to carry, but that is also light on the wallet.  I took a look at various Mac based solutions, but even an older MacBook started at $750 and I really wanted to keep it under $600  (I actually wanted it to be under $500, but I gave myself a cushion).  I then turned to netbooks.  Many of them met much of my criteria, such as light weight–around 3 pounds–and inexpensive–around $400–but this is where the old comes into play.  My eyes can’t handle those little 10″ screens!  The resolution at 1024×600 wasn’t too great either.  So maybe I would have to save up a little and spring for the MacBook after all.

But while I was doing some research on netbooks through Liliputing and NetbookTech among other websites, I came across the Asus UL30A.  It seemed to be getting good reviews from any number of places but its specs were what really did it for me…

  • 13.3″ 1366×768 screen (just totally trumped the 10.1″ 1024×600, although I may have been able to get by with an 11.6″ or 12.1″ 1366×768 that a few of the netbooks I looked at had, but that extra inch really does help the old eyes.)
  • Core 2 duo CULV processor (as opposed to single-core or Atom).  This one (the 7300) even supports Intel’s Virtualization Technology.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (as opposed to Home Starter–definitely a no-no).
  • 4GB RAM
  • 320GB HD
  • 12 hour(!) battery life.  This one blew me away, and I found it hard to believe. (Stay tuned for more real-life testing)
  • 3.7 pounds.  Not the lightest, but certainly not heavy, especially when I don’t need the power plug!
  • and other features, which I’ll probably write about in later posts.

I managed to find it at newegg.com on sale for $630 (so just a little over my budget).  Unfortunately, the price is back up to $750, but even then, that’s not a bad price for the features.

And you know what?  I kind of like Windows 7!   I am sure I will be writing more about it as well as the little notebook in the future as I play with them some more.

Categories: ASUS UL30A, Hardware, Windows 7