netbook advice


davem

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 20:36
Hello all,

I am currently looking at getting a netbook for use when out on uk campsites in the campervan. There are few things I need to take into consideration:

1. I need good battery power as it will not always be able to connect the van to the mains.
2. I would like to review photos on it, but would be happy to keep them stored on sd cards until I get home.
3. I would like it to connect to broadband around the countryside (Lakes/highlands/northumberland etc), so that I can look up information on the areas I am visiting.
4.I would like to be able to keep a record of the trip to be transferred onto the pc when at home.

Taking account the above are there any suggestions for:

1. A good netbook
2. The most sensible mobile broadband connection
3. The software that the netbook should have preinstalled.
4. Other things to take into consideration?

Thanks

Dave

thoughton

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 20:46
I am not a fan of netbooks, but I would double check about mobile broadband, in my experience it isn't available in a lot of rural areas, and it varies a lot depending on which network you are with. In my area you can get 3G with orange but no one else.
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27, Macbook Pro 17, iPad, iPhone 3G
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davem

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 20:52
Tim

What has put you off netbooks?

Dave

dougf8

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 20:55
The netbook/laptop will probably come with Windows 7 which will be fine.

Look at some of the 12" and 13" low power laptops like the T130 from Toshiba. or Dell m101z.

The 10" screens are not easy to do much to an image on, I've tried. The more expensive ones with better screens are not much cheaper than the thin/light low power laptops.

Look at the mobile broadband suppliers, they will have maps like
http://search.orange.co.uk/ouk/portal/coveragechecker.html?channel=direct/

orange do a 30 day contract for their mobile dongle. I use it as I didn't want a long contract. 15 for 3Gb per month which is fine. It has a meter so you can see how much you have used and they cap the charges at 40 if you go way over. Their coverage is good too. (rural cornwall !!).

Get a long USB extension lead to put the dongle away from the netbook, also on ebay there are external aerials/antenna for the dongles which increase gain. They can have magnetic mounts so you can stick them on the outside of the room/car etc and get a better signal.

Get a 12v car adapter from ebay, (usually a few quid). Or kensington do a univeral car/air/mains adapter. Get a good padded bag. (big enough for the extras) and something to camouflage it.

A low power netbook will struggle with a full version of photoshop, so probably get the latest photoshop elements, Picasa, irfanview, photome.
INternet Explorer or Firefox will allow you to research on the hoof.

Also a portable hard disk to make a back up and keep elsewhere just in case you get the netbook nicked.
Lurking is shirking.!

dougf8

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 21:02

Gwyn

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 21:14
I have a netbook. I bought it with the proceeds from my Sigma 10-20. It is an excellent little machine.
It is a bit slow at times, so I can't play games on it so much but it does what I want.
I have a Samsung N220. It has a 6 cell battery which gives more than the advertised 8.5 hours. It runs Windows 7 starter, but you can upgrade to full Windows 7 if you choose to. It has an Intel Atom N 450 processor, with 1Gb memory at 2.5 Gb RAM.

I rely on free wifi with mine.
It is brilliant. All netbooks with 6 cell batteries last a long time now. I wouldn't be without mine.

dougf8

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 21:15
Dave,

I have a Samsung N130, it has a built in SDHC slot at the front and three USB connections. pretty handy for popping the card straight in and reviewing. Or as I do, pop in the card and copy the contents onto the HDD and if needed onto a USB memory stick/portable hard disk. I can then wipe the SDHC and stick it back in the camera as I can verify the copies on the netbook and on the portable HDD.

The screen is not fabulous and I would not trust editing on it as it blows out highlights all to easily and the colour depth is not great. Its OK to review but more than that I leave until I get to a larger screen.

(as Stefan says below, non-reflective screen is very useful, the N130 has one, which is a reason I got it).
Lurking is shirking.!
Last Edited by dougf8 on 10/10/2010 - 21:17

Anvh

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 21:15
Can you maybe wait till January February next year?
AMD is bringing out their new Bobcat CPU for netbooks the end of this year and they look very promising.

The AMD Ontario Fusion (Dual core Bobcat CPU + DirectX 11 GPU) for example use 9 Watt tops and can play 1080/24p films without a problem.

The newest dual core Atom the N550 use 8 Watt tops and can't play 1080/24p so you will also need a GPU with that like the Nvidia ION2 but that also use 6/12 Watt depending the version, so the current ATOM solution use 50% more power.

If you need a netbook now though and want to use it outdoors then the Asus Eee PC 1016P might be the best choice at the moment.
It has a good high contrast MATT screen that is usable outdoors and at max load it has a battery life of 4h 42min but when surfing the net with WIFI on it can last 7h 53min

Here is a review link
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

Hyram

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 21:18
I have an Acer Ferrari One.

Great little machine and more than fast enough.
Hyram

Bodies: K20D (2), K10D, Super A, ME Super, Auto 110 SLR, X70, Optio P70
Pentax Glass: DA* 300, DA* 60-250, DA* 50-135, DA* 16-50, DA 70 Ltd, FA 31 Ltd, DA 35 Ltd, DA 18-55 (2), DA 12-24, DA 10-17, M 200, A 35-70, M 40, M 28, Converter-A 2X-S, 1.4X-S, AF 1.7, Pentax-110 50, Pentax-110 24
Other Glass: Sigma 105 macro, Sigma-A APO 75-300
Flash: Metz 58 AF-1 P, Pentax AF160FC ringflash, Pentax AF280T

dougf8

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 21:24
I also carry an O2 PAYG dongle which you can buy data on a per diem basis. I have been stuck in a hotel without wifi and used the O2 dongle for the evening. Might help with coverage as it doesn't cost to carry it (no contract). That was 15 from Carphonewarehouse on offer.

The orange dongle was on offer when I bought it an it was the same at about 15 up front. You can cancel the contract with 30 days notice.
Lurking is shirking.!

Anvh

Link Posted 10/10/2010 - 22:04
Here in the Netherlands you're allowed to use your telephone as a dongle, maybe there are carriers in the UK that allows the same?
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

RayB

Link Posted 11/10/2010 - 07:36
Anvh wrote:
Here in the Netherlands you're allowed to use your telephone as a dongle, maybe there are carriers in the UK that allows the same?

I can (and have) used my Blackberry as a means of connection. Any data transfer came out of my "unlimited" data package, so I was not charged any more for using it in this way.

Gwyn

Link Posted 11/10/2010 - 10:02
A matt screen is vital on a netbook, otherwise all you see is your own face .
I have used mine outside in bright sun and can still see the screen comfortably.

Having a mobile phone from the stone age I can't use it as a dongle, but then in the Netherlands if I use it it is generally somewhere with free wifi, or where they charge only a small fee for wifi.
Same in France - hotels offered free (if they were cheap) or for a small fee (if the hotel was expensive)wifi connection.

And of course McD always has free wifi. I've sat in their car park on occasion connected to their wifi.

fatspider

Link Posted 11/10/2010 - 10:35
I use the laptop in the same way when I'm away, useles for editing images but good enough to have a quick review of the days shooting.

As for a Dongle you need to check out the coverage of specific areas you want to visit before jumping into bed with any particular network, most of them will allow a search by postcade to check on signal strength in a paticular area, for example; link

And yes, dangling your Dongle out of the window will improve its performance
My Names Alan, and I'm a lensaholic.
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My Flckr link

thoughton

Link Posted 11/10/2010 - 10:48
davem wrote:
Tim

What has put you off netbooks?

Dave

It looks like this has been answered already, but basically I find most of them are a little underpowered for serious work. It'll be okay for editing a few photos, but after a while you may get frustrated by the sluggishness. I would rather just take my laptop, or even (whispering so Stefan doesn't hear ) my iPad. Having said that I work in IT so it's possible I'm not a representative sample. You do get more powerful netbooks, but then you will be compromising battery life.

In my opinion if you are actually going to be carrying the thing around a lot then get a netbook, but if it's just going to be transported around in the car/caravan then get a proper laptop.

It's also worth looking into what they call 'tethering', i.e. using your mobile phone's 3G signal for your laptop's internet connection. In the UK some (most/all?) networks will want to charge you extra for this (as much as 10/month in some cases!), but you can get around that with a little research.
Tim
AF - Pentax K5, Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Sigma 30/1.4, Sigma 70-200/2.8, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6
MF - Vivitar CF 28/2.8, Tamron AD2 90/2.5, MTO 1000/11
Stuff - Metz 58 AF1, Cactus v4, Nikon SB24, Raynox 150, Sigma 1.4x TC, Sigma 2x TC, Kenko 2x macro TC, Redsnapper 283 tripod, iMac 27, Macbook Pro 17, iPad, iPhone 3G
Flickr Fluidr PPG Street Portfolio site
Feel free to edit any of my posted photos! If I post a photo for critique, I want brutal honesty. If you don't like it, please say so and tell me why!
Last Edited by thoughton on 11/10/2010 - 10:55
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