Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
12/8/2006
02:32 PM
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Traveling Light

Recently, a Metafacts study stated that most mobile PCs are used at two locations rather than all around town. The reason? Lack of Internet connections and, according to principal analyst Dan Ness, "the weight and hassle of carrying around a notebook." You said it, Dan.

Recently, a Metafacts study stated that most mobile PCs are used at two locations rather than all around town. The reason? Lack of Internet connections and, according to principal analyst Dan Ness, "the weight and hassle of carrying around a notebook."

You said it, Dan.I like having a notebook with me. I'm a writer, a Web surfer, an e-mail addict, and a constant note-taker -- and I take notes a lot faster when I can type them. However, dragging around my six-pound ThinkPad (more when you add the power brick) is not something I can do casually -- unless I plan to spend the next few weeks popping painkillers for an aching back.

I've tried other solutions. Way back in the early days of PCs, I was the proud owner of a Gateway Handbook, a very early DOS ultraportable that weighed less than three pounds. Later, I carried around a Psion Revo, a European PDA that came with a surprisingly useable keyboard.

After Psion dropped support for its PDAs, I gave up on the idea of a take-it-everywhere PC. However, I've started making plans for January's Las Vegas CES, one of the only trade shows left that can be described as "huge," and I'm going to need a blogging tool. Should I start looking into some of the really small ultraportables now out there, such as the 14-ounce oqo or Sony's 1.2-pound VAIO UX280P? Or should I investigate the lighter three-pound-plus notebooks like Gateway's E-100M or Lenovo's ThinkPad X60s? The former work nicely as light-weight additions to existing computer setups -- the latter offer more bang for the buck, and don't require separate keyboards for normal typing.

What do you do if you want to surf or scribe on the go? Are ultraportables a practical computer subgenre or something that most serious users leave alone? Let us know.

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