After a longish, administration-overkill-caused break, a short notice. I finally got fed up of my Acer Aspire One (A110, the 512 MB model), as it was pretty impossible to do anything except the very basic html–surfing, even Ubuntu Netbook Remix edition was almost unbearably slow. After considering the options, I took the new Samsung N220 netbook model; it is a pretty basic system with Intel’s Atom N450 processor, 1 GB central memory and 250 GB disk. The positive sides are on the rather sturdy construction (they even claim the keyboard is ‘spill-proof’ and can take some liquid on top of it — I have not tested this). Keyboard feel is nice and the non-reflective 10,1″, led-backlighted display is also ok. The battery is advertised to enable 12 hour non-stop use, but to my experience if you do anything except hold the system on dark, quiet idle mode (the golden standard of battery testers, obviously), you will get something like 7-8 hours of battery life. That is also pretty good; if you plug the system in at the evenings, there is no need to load system during even a full working day. And this is with the standard battery, rather than an extended life battery.
A couple of minor irritations. One of the reasons I picked this particular system was its advertised dual-OS configuration: it has the Windows 7 Starter (I like it) and an “Instant-On” option called HyperSpace, which is actually a slim, stripped-down Linux version (see e.g. this story). This is supposedly fast, simple and substantially more energy efficient than Windows, which all might be true. However, I am not able to use it since it does not allow using Finnish keyboard layout (how silly, they ship this preconfigured with such keyboards that are not yet supported by the OS). It might get an update at some point, but for now, I need to stick to Windows.
Another irritation strikes even while I write this text, every few seconds. On their web pages, Samsung advertises N220 by boasting about its “strategically placed keys ensure that you’ll experience fewer errors – and faster typing”. All well, except the European N220 model actually has its “arrow bracket” (<>) key placed at an non-standard position next to the right shift key, which is made smaller than normal. This means that every time I try to have a capital letter, I will get < << plus a small letter. Oh well, need to just retrain my fingers…
And finally, if you decide to get N220, try disabling “One-Finger Scrolling” — it was just causing trouble by trying to scroll when I was trying to move the mouse/touchpad pointer. It has Two-Finger Scrolling (multi-touch gesture), if you want to use the touchpad for scrolling.