Cheryl McCreary spends her days teaching the world about biology and the body. She has been involved in fanfiction and fandom for almost ten years. She's always been a geek, liking science, science fiction, reading, and more recently horror and dark fantasy. For the past few years she's taken a hiatus from fanfiction to write original fiction. Her short stories have been published in the speculative fiction markets Ruins Extraterrestrial anthology, Space Westerns, and AlienSkin, among others.View all articles by Cheryl McCreary
Asus started the popularity of these mini-laptops with their Eee PCs. Earlier models had only 7” screens and 2 GB solid state hard drives, but the more recent Eee PC 900 series released last summer still weighed under 1 kg (2.2 lbs) and measured about the size of a book, but had a 8.9” screen, 20 GB (16 GB with Windows XP) solid state hard drive and 1GB of memory. Asus now has larger models such as the Eee PC 1000 series with 10” screens for a slightly larger size and weight.
Dell offers similar computers with their Mini series of laptops. The Dell Mini 9 and Mini 10 are very similar to the Eee PC 900 and Eee PC 1000, respectively. Dell Mini laptops weight slightly more, but have larger keyboards that are 92% the size of normal keyboards.
With the HP Mini 1000 series, HP has their own version of the mini-laptop. These computers weigh less than Dell’s machines and just a bit more than the Eee PC laptops. These are the slimmest of the mini-laptops, being less than an inch thick. HP Mini’s come with options for either an 8.9” or 10” screen, and have the larger 92% sized keyboards.
The Gateway LT series is similar to the larger versions of mini-laptops. It comes with much fewer options and cannot be custom built. It does not have the option for a Linux operating system, comes with only a HDD drive, and has a 8.9” screen.
With Intel Atom processors, and usually 1 GB or more of RAM these mini-laptops have more than enough power to run usual internet browsers and computer programs. Mini-laptops come with webcams and wireless internet cards, sometimes broad band and blue tooth capabilities are also offered options. While black is the standard color, most brands have options for a range of colors on custom mini-laptops.
Most of the mini-laptops come with either Windows XP or the option for Linux. Eee PC Linux machines come with their GNU Linux which has a rather simple interface. It would be great for a child or non-computer friendly adult, but for most computer users a more complex Linux interface would need to be installed. Ubuntu Linux is available on most Dell Mini’s and comes on the HP Mini 1000 Mi.
Mini-laptops can come with either solid state flash drives or more traditional HDD drives. The solid state flash drives are slower and come in much smaller sizes (2 to 32 GB). But solid state drives will not be damaged by knocks while the computer is running, and thus allow the computer to be used more safely while moving in a car, plane or commuter train. The HDD hard drives do allow for more normal hard drive space (40 to 160 GB), but are not as resistant to damage while in use and moving.
Mini-laptops make great and affordable computers for travel, students, kids and that go anywhere writing and internet computer. I know I’ve really enjoyed my own Eee PC 900. I used it to write out this review, actually. Mini-laptops cannot and do not want to compete with more powerful and larger desktops and laptops, but for their small size and low cost these durable little mini-computers pack a good punch.
Source: Dell Mini Series
Source: HP Mini 1000 Series
Source: Gateway LT Series