I’m almost a month into life with my new Asus TP200S netbook. Here’s an update.
The good news: I love it. It’s a great little machine with at least an adequate 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366×768. You can now buy it in the U.S. for as little as $185 via a third-party seller on Amazon.
The bad news: The Asus is not a be-all and end-all. I still await the day when one device will do everything.
When I could only afford one computer, I paid a premium for the lightest, fastest Macbook I could get. My current device fleet, all combined, cost about half of what the Macbook did, and I can cheaply get the right tool for any job. But I must go from device to device to do my work.
For example, my Calibre library won’t fit on the Asus.
RSS browsing is fastest on the iPad—the Asus is too slow to handle graphics-heavy blogs. But the iPad lacks a physical keyboard I want for my online course.
What I’m doing on my cheap little impulse buy
So what am I doing these days on my new netbook?
1) Writing and course work. I love the Asus’s keyboard. It’s way better than the one on our ‘home’ computer.
I have demoted Evernote due to its two-device cap—it’s on the home computer and the iPad since I organize recipes with it, and I am using OneNote for all the note-taking I used to do in there.
OneNote came pre-installed on both the Windows devices I have, and installed painlessly on the iPad. Its tabbed interface is much nicer than Evernote’s sidebar-based one. I wish it let me change the default font from ‘Calibri 11,’ which is awful. But I searched, and it’s missing that feature. I must change it manually for every note. Blech.
2) Reading. I finally caved and installed the Kindle for PC app. This is what I mean about managing multiple devices—I’m not going to carry around both the Asus and an iPad.
And if I am out at a coffee shop for the afternoon and finish my actual work, it’s not much fun to pull out my tiny phone to read on. So I put the Kindle app on here, and so far, so good.
I wouldn’t pull the Asus out to read at home on, not with a better screen on the iPad, but since the Kindle syncs across everything, I don’t have to. It works for what I’m using it for.
David Rothman, TeleRead’s publisher, owns an identical or similar Asus. David took a quick photo (below) of the Asus displaying the Freda ereader app for Windows.
No, he says, the picture does not do justice to the screen quality. Try double-clicking on the photo for a better view.
If you look closely from the current view, you’ll see a mouse in front of the Asus. David can set up the Asus in a prop-up mode and use the mouse to change pages, rather than page taps or the builtin touch pad.
The Asus also works with an auxiliary keyboard.
3) Language learning. Since I likely won’t be teaching much next year, with school starting in September and a baby due around Halloween, I’m concerned that my French—which I use on the job—will get rusty.
So I am taking advantage of how portable this device is. I can easily move it around the house and watch a YouTube playlist I’m working my way through while I eat or work on art stuff.
And when I have those coffee shop afternoons and want to read for awhile after the work is done, I have some Kindle books I’m working through also.
No, as I said, the device has its limits. But the Beloved, who is our family tech expert, has advised me not to worry about this and to view the current setup as a paradigm shift.
Our ‘family’ computer is the home base. Download library books, store the Dropbox library, keep the photos organized and so on—and it’s the computer the Beloved uses for something more demanding.
And then each of us has a side device or two: a tablet for him, a tablet for me and as the need arises, something like Mr. Netbook.
It’s worth what we paid for the Asus to get me out of the house, and although it can’t do every job, it can do enough to earn its keep.
Publisher’s note: Joanna spent less than $300 Canadian dollars for her Asus. I paid $229 in U.S. dollars at the Microsoft Store when the Asus was on sale late last year. It’s now $279 there, but just $193 at Amazon with 32GB eMMC. GG Tech, a third-party seller mentioned on the same Amazon page, charges even less, $185. D.R.