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thatbiogeek thatbiogeek is offline
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Default Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 02:18 PM

I'm glad to have found this forum. I'm considering a netbook and Dell has always been my favorite manufacturer of computers, so it's a dell mini for me. This looks like a great place to ask questions and find which is the best fit for me.

I'm a student, biology major, returning to college this summer. I can type faster that I can write and tend to be a bit absent minded about where I put things- there's something very tragic about creating a great set of notes only to loose them days later. So typing notes during lectures is the way to go for me. I want a small laptop, thus a netbook because the desks are so small, it's nice to have room for a small notebook for drawing diagrams as well.

I went to Staples and tested the keyboard of an HP 8.9 netbook and it seems fine, fast typing with minimal errors. I have small hands and long fingers, so I don't think a small keyboard will be a problem.

So now I just have to decide whether to get an Mini 9 or wait to see what the Mini 10 looks like. I'll probably wait until the 27th since it's only about a week away- just to get a good comparison. But I'm definitely leaning toward getting a barebones Mini 9 off ebay and customizing/upgrading it myself.

In the meantime, I'll be asking advice here, so thanks for having me,

Jessica
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Qwerty3089 Qwerty3089 is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 02:29 PM

hi jessica. Before you buy one I'd definitely try to find one to try out first. The keyboard on the 9 is the biggest drawback for me and since you'll be using it primarily for typing on, you might find it frustrationg. The size of the shift and tab keys make typing on it very cumbersome... the layout of the top row of keys is also hard to get used to, as they're directly on top of the lower row opposed to offset like a standard keyboard.

with that said, I've played with an acer aspire and an EEE and while the keyboard felt a lot more natural on them, the overall quailty of the machine paled in comparison to the dell IMO.

good luck
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thatbiogeek thatbiogeek is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 03:17 PM

Thanks Qwerty, that's great advice. Do they have Dell mini's at BestBuy? I'll have to stop by there next time I'm in town.


--> Qwerty is a great screen name btw. It makes me think of Stephan Jay Gould's essay "The Panda's Thumb of Technology" :-D
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Bud Pritchard Bud Pritchard is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 03:45 PM

As for software, I installed Home and Student Office 2007. I got the 16gig SSD and upgraded memory to 2 gig.
No problems running this suite.
I also uninstalled all the crapware.
I run VIPRE for anti-virus/spyware

For added disc storage I have a 320 gig Passport drive.


Mini 9,16gig,2Meg,Bluetooth
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eddiem5 eddiem5 is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 03:54 PM

Look for threads on changing the US keyboard to one called International US Keyboard.. A $15 part and much nicer than the default...


-ed-
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lauriem04 lauriem04 is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 04:27 PM

I am a grad student and I use my Mini 9 to take notes in class too. It took me about 15-20 minutes of constant use to really get used to the keyboard layout, but now it feels strange to type on my full-sized laptop keyboard or the keyboard of my work desktop! Since you have small fingers, you should be fine. However, it's not a bad idea to check out a floor model Mini if you can get your hands on one. I think Best Buy does carry it, but not in all stores. I haven't seen them in my area (yet, anyway).

I have the Windows XP, 1GB RAM, 16 GB SSD model and had no trouble installing or using Office Home & Student 2007. I'm about to upgrade the RAM to 2GB (just placed my order with Newegg), and I'm sure it will run Office even faster once the additional memory is in place.

Good luck making your decision! I think the Mini 9 would serve your needs very well.


Mini 9 (910): Cherry Red, N270, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB STEC SSD, XP Home
Mini 10v (1011): Passion Purple, N270, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, XP Home
Inspiron 11z (1110): Passion Purple, SU4100, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, Win7
Alienware M11x R1: Cosmic Black, SU7300, 4 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, Win7
Latitude 2110: Blue Ribbon, N470, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB HDD, Touchscreen, Win7
Zino HD (400): True Blue, Athlon X2 3250e, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, Win7
Plus a few others not discussed here...
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ade099 ade099 is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 05:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwerty3089
The keyboard on the 9 is the biggest drawback for me..
i agree, but as with everything else, the more we use something, the more we'll get used to it. i placed an order with dell to get one of the int'l/uk keyboards with the friendlier layout, but they've been backordered for a few weeks..i'm at a point where i'd be ok with not even getting the replacement kybd. but one thing that IS still annoying the life outta me is the spacebar issue. i dunno if i'll ever get used to that :/
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thatbiogeek thatbiogeek is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 07:01 PM

Wow, thanks for all the replies! I can tell this is going to be a very useful place. I don't think the odd placement for the function keys will be much of a problem, I don't really use them. I do use the left mouse button, which is why it's so hard to get used to a mac. I'll go and test one this afternoon, assuming I can find one somewhere. If not, I'll just take the plunge. If it doesn't work out, it would make a great computer for my daughter LOL
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Qwerty3089 Qwerty3089 is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 07:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by thatbiogeek
Thanks Qwerty, that's great advice. Do they have Dell mini's at BestBuy? I'll have to stop by there next time I'm in town.


--> Qwerty is a great screen name btw. It makes me think of Stephan Jay Gould's essay "The Panda's Thumb of Technology" :-D
hahaha I think you're giving me more credit than I deserve. I picked it, more or less, out of lack of creativity lol

anyway, good luck with whichever you decide to go with and the keyboard isn't all "that" bad, just takes some getting used to

-steve
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thacrownprince thacrownprince is offline
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Default Re: Hi all- netbook for student - 02-19-2009, 10:01 PM

I am a college student as well and I've been exploring with the dell mini 9. I put a lot of different operating system on it and upgraded it. But for taking notes in class. I would suggest a 8 GB SSD or greater, upgrade to 2 GB of RAM (cost about 20 bucks at newegg, I think it's not a bad price to pay for increase performance, but you can probably get by with 1 GB, 512 mb was a little laggy) and windows xp. I originally had the 8 GB drive with windows xp home installed. I also put in MS Office 2007 and with 2 GB of RAM, it runs just as well as my duo 2 core laptop with 3 GB of RAM. But I would highly recommend a solid state drive over spinning hard drives. The Dell Mini 12 and I believe the Dell Mini 10 when it does come out will only offer moving hard drives. Because the main reason I bought the Dell Mini 9 is because with the SSD you can boot up windows xp in about 25 seconds. It shuts down in like 10 seconds, which is a big plus for taking notes in class, having to shut down and turn on the laptop often, so you won't miss any notes.

The Dell Mini 9 laptop is very good as far as performance, I think you'll be happy. But just like everyone said before the keyboard will take sometime to get use to. It is a little cramped, but I have pretty big hands and I can type just as fast as I can on a full size keyboard. The only drawback is some of the keys are irregular. The F keys are taken out, but you can just use Function plus another key. The right shift key is really small, but I always use the left shift key so it doesn't bother me. One thing that bothers me a lot and took a lot of getting use to is the quotation/apostrophe key is moved and it took me some time to get use to it. Hope that helps.
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