If you are in the market for a new computer you may want to give some serious consideration to the newest generation of computers, the netbook.
What is a netbook? Although there are some differences of opinion, a netbook is generally considered to be a notebook style computer that has a screen size from 8” to 10” (diagonal measure), weighs less than 3 pounds, has 1 GB of RAM, either a solid state drive or a traditional hard drive, and has WiFi, webcam and microphone built in. They generally run with an Intel Atom processor which is much less powerful than what you find in mainstream laptops or desk top machines.
In non technical terms, this means that you can have a lightweight, small computer that is perfect for email, web browsing, MLS access (Windows versions only), Skype video calls, Instant Messaging, watching online videos and light computing tasks. In other words, a perfect machine for the real estate agent on the go!
When you factor in the cost, generally less than $500.00, you come up with something that will be hard to beat!
Some of the downsides are that the machines are not powerful enough to do any video rendering, photoshopping and anything that requires lots of RAM and powerful processors. The small screens and smaller keyboards can be a problem for the visually impaired or the expert touch typist. For a hunt and peck guy like me the keyboard isn’t a problem.
This is a rapidly changing market, but currently the brand leaders are MSI, Asus, HP and Dell. Here are some links to product reviews so that you can compare the different models for yourself, ZDNet Reviews and PCWorld Reviews
But for our purposes I would recommend the following specifications:
- Intel Atom Processor
- 1 GB RAM (If you can get 2 GB, go for it!)
- 160 GB Hard Drive
- Microsoft Windows XP Home or Vista Home
- 10” Screen
- Built-in Microphone
You won’t want to run Microsoft Office on these machines, but Google Docs or OpenOffice offer Microsoft Office compatible free applications that will handle all of your normal word processing needs. And if you get a machine with Microsoft XP or Vista installed you’ll have no trouble accessing the MLS. (Many of these machine also have Linux as an operating system option).
Check out netbooks before buying a new laptop…you could save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.