Adventures in Netbook Land: Part One

While I've had the chance to test out and try various netbooks, I haven't actually been a netbook owner, that is until just about a week ago when I plopped down my own cash and picked one up. Scratch that. I was a netbook owner in the past, they just didn't call it that back then. Years ago I was a very happy owner of a tiny Sony Vaio that would have fit in nicely with today's netbook crowd. I always loved the lightweight and small size of that Vaio so as netbooks grew in stature and increased in power and capabilities that approximate full size laptops, I knew that I would eventually get one.

While I've had the chance to test out and try various netbooks, I haven't actually been a netbook owner, that is until just about a week ago when I plopped down my own cash and picked one up.

Scratch that. I was a netbook owner in the past, they just didn't call it that back then. Years ago I was a very happy owner of a tiny Sony Vaio that would have fit in nicely with today's netbook crowd.

I always loved the lightweight and small size of that Vaio, so as netbooks grew in stature and increased in power and capabilities that approximate full size laptops, I knew that I would eventually get one.

So I'm just completing week one of my adventures with my new netbook, an MSI Wind, which I chose based on favorable reviews from friends and trusted sources as well as hands-on testing at local stores. I also liked the Wind because of its good-sized keyboard, nice screen and low price compared to many other netbooks.

My first steps with the netbook were to remove the application bloat that was on the Windows XP that came with it, and put a few of my favorite apps on it. I also have gone with a dual boot to Linux, with Xandros being the Linux of choice at least for now.

So far I'm happy but it hasn't gone on its first road trip yet; that will be in about a week. But I can already see a couple of gotchas.

First, this unit only has a VGA out for video, which could put a damper on one of my favorite travel practices, namely bringing some video cables and jacking my laptop into the TV in my hotel room so I can watch Netflix and Hulu videos online using the TV. If I want to continue this practice using the MSI Wind, I'll need to pick up a VGA converter.

Also, the other thing that jumped out at me is the size of the power cord, which is the same as that of most PC laptops. The funny thing is that the cord and its power supply come close to weighing the same as the netbook itself, almost defeating the small weight of the netbook itself when it comes to lugging it around.

We'll see if this becomes a problem during travel. From my tests, most netbooks have a similar power cord issue. This is one of the reasons I'll be intrigued to see an Apple netbook, as Apple always does a very good job with power cord form factors.

After my netbook undergoes its first trial-by-travel, I'll update my impressions here.