Advice needed for netbook purchase

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Advice needed for netbook purchase

Postby shaddack » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:57 am

Hi.

I guess there are few threads like this already but I did not find one that fully answers my questions so I start a new one.

The thing is that I want a netbook with decent performance and that can run Linux.

I will use the the device for programming and editing text in general using open office (or the like) as well as surfing the web. If I can watch movies it is a bonus.

I do not want it to be bigger than 10.1" but I would like an almost full keyboard since I expect to type quite a lot (I now there are a few of these).

It would be great if the device has built in 3G modem as well as WiFi and that the build in 3G modem works under linux. If it does not have a built in 3G modem that is ok since I have a Huawei 3G USB modem already. But it would be nice if was built in ant that it worked with Linux.

So, which netbook/linux combination do you think would be best for me? How does a "full" linux distro perform on the more modern netbooks? I would like a distro that is as small as possible.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Postby gn2 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:36 am

All netbooks have very similar hardware, so get the cheapest one, you'll struggle to find better value than this in the UK:

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/179804

If the battery life isn't long enough you can get aftermarket high capacity ones on eBay for £35ish.

My son has that model and it runs very nicely with Mint 8.
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Postby Captain_Tux » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:50 am

Many, if not all netbooks can run Linux... your mileage varies depending on distro, but generally speaking, all the netbook-sized distros (for a lack of better terminology - should it be mobile Linux distros instead?) run well. Wasn't it last month that the mag ran an article on netbook distros?

Not sure about movies... part of the reason that netbooks are netbooks is because they tend not to have optical drives.
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Postby shaddack » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:23 pm

gn2 wrote:All netbooks have very similar hardware, so get the cheapest one, you'll struggle to find better value than this in the UK:

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/179804

If the battery life isn't long enough you can get aftermarket high capacity ones on eBay for £35ish.

My son has that model and it runs very nicely with Mint 8.


Thanks for the reply. Does the built in WiFi och 3G modem work well with Linux Mint?
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Postby shaddack » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:41 pm

Captain_Tux wrote:Many, if not all netbooks can run Linux... your mileage varies depending on distro, but generally speaking, all the netbook-sized distros (for a lack of better terminology - should it be mobile Linux distros instead?) run well. Wasn't it last month that the mag ran an article on netbook distros?

Not sure about movies... part of the reason that netbooks are netbooks is because they tend not to have optical drives.


Yes it seems to be good support. My main concern, I guess, is that they work well with built in WiFi and 3G modems. But maybe that is not a problem at all.

The Acer Aspire One D250 that was recommended in another reply seems like a good choice. Then install maybe Ubuntu or Mint or some other slimmed distro. I think I want a full distro anyway.
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Postby nelz » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:09 pm

I now use an Eee PC 1005HA and really like it. It's larger than my old 900 but the keyboard is a lot better. It plays movies well. No it doesn't have an optical drive, but movies are not necessarily DVD. I use it to watch transcoded DVDs and programmes recorded with MythTV. It doesn't have built in 3G, but I use it with a Mi-Fi modem, so there are no driver issues to worry about, although it does work perfectly with a Huawei dongle too.
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Postby shaddack » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:16 pm

nelz wrote:I now use an Eee PC 1005HA and really like it. It's larger than my old 900 but the keyboard is a lot better. It plays movies well. No it doesn't have an optical drive, but movies are not necessarily DVD. I use it to watch transcoded DVDs and programmes recorded with MythTV. It doesn't have built in 3G, but I use it with a Mi-Fi modem, so there are no driver issues to worry about, although it does work perfectly with a Huawei dongle too.


Which distro are you using?
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Postby towy71 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:30 pm

I have an Acer Aspire One ZA3 which has an 11.5" screen and a keyboard that allows my fat fingers to use it ;-) using UNR and everything "just works" :D
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Postby gn2 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:30 pm

shaddack wrote:Does the built in WiFi och 3G modem work well with Linux Mint?


AFAIK most USB 3G adapters work in Linux these days.

The D250's b/g WiFi adapter works with addition of the required drivers. Mint will offer to supply them if you are connected by a wired connection when you attempt to configure the wireless.

It took me a few mouse clicks and less than five minutes to get the wireless running.
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Postby shaddack » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:52 am

gn2 wrote:
shaddack wrote:Does the built in WiFi och 3G modem work well with Linux Mint?


AFAIK most USB 3G adapters work in Linux these days.

The D250's b/g WiFi adapter works with addition of the required drivers. Mint will offer to supply them if you are connected by a wired connection when you attempt to configure the wireless.

It took me a few mouse clicks and less than five minutes to get the wireless running.


Ok. Sounds great.

Yeah, the Acer Aspire One D250 seems quite nice and so does the Asus Eee PC 1005.
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Postby Captain_Tux » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:54 am

Here's an article I just found... there's no mention of UNR, which is peculiar... be sure to check out the comments and views section at the bottom of the article.

http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Software/11218.html
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Postby nelz » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:37 pm

shaddack wrote:Which distro are you using?


Gentoo, but you probably didn't want to hear that :)
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Postby nordle » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:58 pm

The Samsung NC10 got loads of great reviews for, well, most stuff, but particularly its keyboard.

But it has been out for a year, so theres probably better now.

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Postby shaddack » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:27 am

nelz wrote:
shaddack wrote:Which distro are you using?


Gentoo, but you probably didn't want to hear that :)


Gentoo is definitely an interesting distro and I also find Arch Linux very interesting. But, for some reason, I did not think they had enough support for the hardware of netbooks. Their nature is very interesting for netbooks since they make it quite easy to build an optimal and slimmed installation.

Gentoo runs well then? Good support for the hardware?
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Postby shaddack » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:33 am

nordle wrote:The Samsung NC10 got loads of great reviews for, well, most stuff, but particularly its keyboard.

But it has been out for a year, so theres probably better now.


I don't think I need the latest and greatest so this might be a good alternative. I think both the NC10 and their N140 was found to work well with UNR according to UNR's wiki of supported devices.

The hardware is probably enough but I'd like good battery performance and I guess that has developed a bit the last couple of years?
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