Windows 7 Netbooks: Second Look

Following on my previous post about new netbooks running Windows 7, I wanted to give some of my thoughts to the platform. I spent a week working with each of the two netbooks I ordered: the Toshiba Mini NB205 and the Asus Eee PC T91MT.

Asus Eee Multi-touch Tablet

The Asus Eee PC T91MT is a tablet format netbook with multi-touch support on the screen (as well as the trackpad). It shipped with a 1.33Ghz processor, 1GB RAM and Windows 7 Home Premium. As mentioned before, this start up was really slow. It didn’t get any better. I don’t know if it’s Windows Home Premium or the 1.33Gmhz processor, but it really wasn’t fast enough to use. Everything needed to wait for a response. I get frustrated with my G1 phone doing this, but I put up with it. No way would I put up with this on my netbook. I suspect that the tablet and multi-touch drivers also slow this down a bit. Bottom line is that I know I bought a reference machine for cutting edge ideas, but until they can get this faster and under $400 it’s probably not going to see much traffic. Still, would love to see more multi-touch tablets in the market.

Toshiba Mini

The Toshiba Mini performed much better. It shipped with a 1.6GHz processor and Windows Starter. The Windows Starter version pisses me off. I mentioned it before, but it seems ridiculous to think I would pay a $90 premium on a $300 netbook to upgrade the OS that shipped with it. Here’s what really grinds my gears: you can’t change the default background of the desktop in Starter edition. You have to pay to upgrade for that privilege. The gall! No wonder small device manufacturers are looking to Android and other low-cost OSes.

Other than that, the Mini was usable and extremely portable. Like I have heard in all the marketing, it’s really easy to pick up the netbook and go. If one of them really did have a 10.5 hour battery life, well, it would be awesome. Although the keyboard was small, and I made lots of typing errors. Still with the errors, the typing was faster than an iPhone or G1.

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