The incredible shrinking computer

Don’t believe your spam. Size isn’t everything.

Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: October 19, 2008

Are you part of that large army of people who run through airport security checks with a big, dull, black laptop? And yes, I’m talking to you Apple people, too. You’re still lugging around a heavy piece of hardware that marks you out as one of the crowd. Well, lug no more! There’s a new fad for “micro” laptops, small in size, but not short in performance. They’re not meant to be a primary computing device. They’re meant for those looking for something light to travel with.

And if editing images and video is not what you do for a living, these machines are ready to handle the rough and tumble of Internet surfing, document editing and blogging. They’re slim, light, chic little things, easy to stroll around with and handy as hell. True, they don’t come with a DVDdrive, since they are usually filled to the brim with tech goodness inside. But load a few digitised movies and music onboard and—with their lower battery consumption and their ability to slide onto airline tray tables—they’re fantastic personal entertainment devices for those longish flights. We picked two—one by HP and one by Acer. One’s better looking than the other, more the kind of micro you want to be seen with, except it doesn’t have quite the same capabilities. Guess which is which.

ACER Aspire One
ACER Aspire One
ACER Aspire One

With its Sapphire Blue cover this machine looks more like an accessory than a computer. It uses an Intel Atom processor which is easy on the juice and, since it comes with Windows XP rather than Vista, there are no dramatic issues when it comes to performance (sluggish, but not embarrassing). But the biggest plus of the Aspire One is its price—it costs a lot less than an iPhone and quite possibly makes more of a statement. A good-looking, inexpensive computer. It’s a bit slow, but really—how much do you care?
Prices start at Rs 21,990 plus taxes

HP MiniNote 2133

HP MiniNote 2133
HP MiniNote 2133
Not what you’d call sexy—not with that brushed aluminium exterior and the slightly larger dimensions. But the Mininote is the easier machine to type on. And the biggest factor in the device’s unsexiness is also its biggest asset—its giant battery. The Mininote’s battery life is an incredible six hours with the extended life battery. And while its computing performance is a bit on the slow side, this is the peppier of the two machines delivering a solid performance that even larger laptops would find difficult to match, with particularly good audio and video playback on its brilliant screen. The only trouble is the price tag—bigger than many larger laptops. You might find it difficult to jump into bed with this one…
Prices start at Rs 39,990 plus taxes

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