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I got this netbook around two and a half weeks ago, which means I can't talk about long-term effects. But here's what I thought about this netbook.
I have a problem with my wrists which makes writing on paper for extended periods of time difficult and painful, but I type 90 words a minute, so I got an HP Mini 100 (chosen because the keyboard was the best I'd tried), for taking notes in school.
The HP was good, don't get me wrong, but the screen's shape was clunky, it dropped my main wireless signal at school within a month, and even though it had a nice pattern on the back it wasn't the prettiest interface out there.
After seven months I accidentally broke the screen, and the warranty told me it wasn't fixable and gave me back the money I'd payed for it. After trying this netbook out at a store and liking it but not its price, I eventually settled on buying this one off Amazon and getting a much cheaper online warranty.
It arrived in a week, nicely packaged, with a power cable you had to put together. It was much lighter than the HP mini, and quite a bit more attractive-looking.
The interface is gorgeous. Buttons are big and wide, the lights are displayed attractively, and it's pretty darn sexy looking. There is a barely visible pattern of horizontal lines on the back of the screen, which isn't that nice and certainly doesn't measure up to the elegant, fun, black-and-silver bubbles of the HP mini, but neither is immediately noticeable. There's a small silver bar reading Gateway on the lefthand side of the screen, with a tiny Gateway logo. I plan on getting a skin for the back when I can, just to make it a little prettier, but it isn't that needed.
This thins is a fingerprint magnet, though, and scratches easily where the HP mini chipped. You'll have to keep dusting it off and washing off fingerprints. In two days it looked like my HP mini after I'd had it two months. So if you aren't gentle with your netbooks (lord knows I'm not), you might want to consider investing in a screen before it gets really scarred-looking.
The touchpad is also a little more difficult to use, and keeps zooming in, but I'm getting the hang of it.
The screen's very high quality, and it comes with a webcam far superior than the HP mini, or the one on my father's Mac. This webcam isn't extremely extremely high quality, but it's very nice looking, and has lots of brightness/contrast/color settings to get you in your best light. The positioning of the webcam is awkward angle-wise, of course, but that's just because it's a netbook.
This comes with Windows 7 Starter, which has a folder organizational system similar to a Mac. I thought I was going to hate Windows 7, because I love XP's taskbar so much and automatically clumping programs are the bane of my existence. However, with a couple setting changes that are easy to find, it's possible to get the same shape and type of taskbar, except the logo/home button on my Stardock theme is a little cut off, but it's just odd-looking and not a problem at all.
Big problem. All caps now: YOU CANNOT CUSTOMIZE YOUR DISPLAY. THERE APPEARS TO BE NO WAY TO APPLY THEMES OR CHANGE YOUR DESKTOP BACKGROUND.
So I went to the web, and found out Acer made a deal with STARDOCK MY COLORS, a company that makes beyond well-designed themes for Windows Vista/Windows 7. These themes are very expensive (20 bucks each!) so Stardock wants to entice you.
They offer up three free themes: a "go green", environmental one, a smooth pretty blue-silver one, and an online game scarlet one. The first two come with icon design for folders, and they're all very pretty. You install Stardock's program, apply your choice free theme (or stick with the other one), and it gives you desktop background options including pictures from your file.
You still can't use other web themes than Stardock's, but theirs aren't half bad.
Also, with Windows 7, there are gadgets you can put on the desktop, and ones you can download online. Those work wonderfully, and I use a to-do-list to keep track of my homework and notepad to keep track of my schedule.
Previously, I found it was difficult for me to type on the smaller keyboards, and selected the HP because its keyboard was so expansive. But after months of typing on the HP, I learned to adapt, and this keyboard isn't full-sized, no, but it doesn't have those ugly ridge things that others do and before I'd spent an hour with the netbook I could type just fine.
If you haven't used a netbook before or aren't a good typer, the keyboard might take some getting used to, but it is by far a great keyboard and you could do much worse in the netbook vein.
USB DRIVES/POWER CORDS/BATTERY
The power cord connector is on the left side of the netbook. There are three ports for USB drives alone, which should be more than enough for the average consumer. There's also mike and earphone jacks, and the other types of connectors you'd expect on a computer. These ports and jacks line both sides of the netbook, and there's no ports at the back.
The tiny-icons part of the taskbar (you know, sound, battery, updates, etc.) also includes a USB drive button that makes removing any drive easy. If that doesn't work, the Hard Disk Drives section of the Windows Explorer folders lets you remove with ease. No problems yet.
The power cord is shorter than the HP mini, and if you'd like to reach across a room, get an extension. It suits my needs just fine. I wish it didn't end with a clunky bar that extends down, which makes it hard to plug into the middle of a line of three or more power outlets, but it can plug in things both upside-down and rightside-up, so that's a plus.
Battery life is stellar, much better than the HP mini, and if you're on battery power the system gives you an estimate of how long you can run it on the current power setting. I tend to really like the way Balanced looks when it's plugged in, and want to run it with a better display quite a bit more than my HP, which I was content to just plug in when need be.
Generally, it starts up fast, opens programs fast (Only around five seconds for Word 2007! It's a miracle!), and surfs the Internet fast. The speed is much improved from my HP mini.
Overall, I highly recommend this for its wonderful price, beautiful features, and functionality. Yes, if you're editing pictures or video it is going to be slow and obnoxious, but I have another computer to do that on. To surf the Internet, use Word, watch videos on the Internet, listen to music, take notes for school...this is perfect.
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CheapGateway LT2106u 10.1-Inch Black Netbook - Over 8 Hours Of Battery Life
I just returned my Toshiba NB-205 and exchanged it for this. I had bought the Toshiba based on all of the positive reviews. This machine had a lot of positisives, but not as many as others. I figured since Acer owns Gateway, and Acer makes nice low cost laptops, this had to be a winner. Well, all I have to say is that this is way better. Yes it does have the new Intel n450 chipset and all the great features. I got the one with the 250 GB HD. This thing is extremely quick and compact. I keep the power settings at balanced and get great performance and battery life.I do switch it to high performance and get a boost in overall speed. Windows 7 Starter is not bad and gets the job done. Win 7 Premium would be nicer, but I can dealwith it.I just ordered a 2GB memory module, however it does surprizingly well with 1GB. Compared to the Toshiba, it is like night and day. It is better looking,has stereo speakers (and yes you can hear them) the audio is excellent. It handles video with no problem(720p). Netflix streaming is great, video and audio quality is excellent. Wifi is fast. I wish it had bluetooth, but i got a tiny BT dongle for $5.oo and it works great (Dealextreme). The laptop looks great, keyboard is a bit cramped, but no different than any other netbook. I thought about getting an Ipad, but then realized how limited it is compared to this.
The decision was a no-brainer. $200.00 less and does way more.
Win 7 Starter (Stable and fast) missing some features of Premium, not critical though. Keeps cost under 280.00
1GB Ram (wish it had 2GB)
1.6 Atom N450
SD Card Reader.
Multi-gesture track pad
3 USB 2.0
Stereo speakers are fantastic. Hands down better than anything out there.
Wifi B/G/N and an ethernet port
Under 3 lbs.
Greater than 8 hours battery
Webcam (OK resolution. Skype works great, I wish it were 1.3MP)
Runs real programs
Keyboard a bit cramped (I have big hands) expected from a small NB
Great for travel.
Nice design. Better than any i have seen. I wish the screen was 11.3" but I am very satisfied, especially since the price was fantastic, and I was on a budget.
Using Google Chrome and IE8 for browsing. Chrome seems a little better for this Netbook.
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