Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Ranting

I was ready to publish a rant today when I realized...I don't have anything to rant about. In fact, I'm pretty satisfied with the gadgets and sites that I use.

I prefer to write about a cool mid-tech product that I've been using for the past five months: my Toshiba Satellite notebook. I purchased it in early June since I no longer worked with an employer-provided notebook. I hadn't purchased a new computer for my business for close to two years.

When I started searching for a new notebook, I considered portability as the highest priority requirement. I'm in and out of my home office quite a lot. In fact, even at home, I move in and out of the yard to take advantage of the California weather.

As to performance, the hardware just needed to handle the MS Office products, including MS Project and Visio, as well as the occasional use of MS Visual Studio. The second important criterion was cost. I wanted to keep to a $500 budget.

Last, I wanted basic multimedia functionality, just enough to listen to music online on the few occasions I do, along with storage of video and pictures to keep me entertainment on any trips away from home.

At the onset I thought of the various netbooks now available by HP, Toshiba, Dell, and Acer. They were priced in my budget, but lacked power. All those that I reviewed had a sub-par processor and a maximum of 1 GB of memory. I knew 1 GB could be enough, but I also knew that MS Visual Studio would run like a lazy hog with that much memory.

To my surprise there were a number of notebooks by Dell, Toshiba and Acer that sold for about $500. After a preliminary review of the products and their features, including keyboard comfort, battery life and weight, I chose the Toshiba Satellite. This notebook comes with an Intel Pentium Dual CPU (T3400) 2.16GHz processor, 2 GB of memory, a 250 GB hard-drive, a DVD recorder, SD card reader, and built-in 802.11 b/g wireless card.

Though I've had one issue with the touchpad when I setup the notebook for dual-display with an external monitor, the notebook has been stellar. I've noticed very little to no lag in coming out of sleep mode and in switching between multiple applications. In fact, as I write this entry, I have MS Outlook, four Internet Explorer browsers (each with multiple tabs), TextPad (a java compiler enabled text editor), an ftp Windows Explorer instance, and iTunes connected to the home Media Center's music library running with no delays in switching applications. This is all running on the Windows Vista Basic to boot!

Suffice it to note, I'd recommend the Toshiba Satellite as an entry-level notebook.