Should You Get A Netbook For Traveling?

I recently bought an HP 10.5" Netbook and a Virgin Mobile MIFI device to connect to the Internet while I'm traveling. On the one hand, this could be a bit of overkill, since I already have a Macbook Pro laptop, and I can get Internet on my Android phone. However, there are certain disadvantages to having to bring my entire home office with me every time I need to take a trip.

When I'm at home, I have my Macbook hooked up to a couple of portable drives, and a second monitor. So while it is a laptop, I don't really use it as a portable device per se. And I've tried to take just my phone on short trips, however then I'm limited to how good the 3G coverage is wherever I'm traveling too ... and more importantly, the little tiny screen. While this netbook is definitely not what I'm used to at home, I do still have the ability to play a game of poker, or more importantly get on Skype with my daughters.

My new Virgin Mobile MIFI gives me even more freedom. Now I don't have to worry about whether or not the hotel or airport has free Internet access. I simply stick the little rectangular device over near the window, turn it on, and start surfing. I've only been using it a couple of days now, but so far seems well worth the $40 a month.

As you can probably already tell, I'm fairly happy with my new little mobile setup. So, here are my ...

3 Reasons Every Traveler Should Own a 10" Netbook

  1. It's Small and weighs almost nothing - this thing only weighs a couple of pounds. I don't need to bring a separate laptop case, I can just throw it in the outside pocket of my backpack. Heck, if you've got a coat with big enough pockets you could almost just put it in there. I found it especially handy for reading on the plane. I've never really bothered to bring out my full sized laptop on a flight before, but I've taken 4 flights in about the past 2 weeks, and used the kindle app to read on the netbook during each flight. And during takeoff and landing, the netbook fit nicely in the seatback pocket.

  2. The Battery Last a LONG time - speaking of reading on the flight .. both times I flew, I charged the battery the night before. I then used the computer all day, both in the airports and on the flight, and the battery level never got below 50%. Of the course the model I bought does have the 6 cell battery ... but even then, I'm impressed that this thing holds power pretty much "as advertised". I like not having to remember to bring the plug.

  3. There are still a few things you Can't do with your Smart Phone - I've tried to take a few short trips recently with just my Android phone, and while I was able to stay reasonably connected, I still felt a little bit like something was missing. With the netbook, I can still do things like Skype, type out a blog post on a bigger keyboard, or edit a picture. Also, while smartphone apps are getting better and better, I still prefer to check my gmail, or get on Facebook right through the real website.

So that's my take. All-in-all, I fell like the couple hundred bucks I spent for this netbook was a reasonably good investment for a "connected dude" such as myself.

What about you ...

What are some of your favorite or least favorite things about owning a netbook?



  1. Holly cow, have I actually had that little netbook for 2 years already? For the most part, what I've said above still holds true. It's still small, and the battery still lasts a LONG time. But, if I'm honest, I absolutely hate Windows 7 Starter. Even for just web browsing, I really can't/don't use this computer much at all. In fact, it's probably going to end up being given to one of the kids.


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