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Ask Slashdot: How Should I Replace My Netbook? 232

Long-time Slashdot reader Kevin108 needs to replace his netbook: I've used and loved my Eee 701 for many years. None of the diminutive ergonomics were ever an issue. But the low-res screen, 4 GB SSD, and 630 MHz Celeron are a useless combo for current web browsing and modern software. I'm now in the market for a new device in a similar form factor.

I need a Windows device for my preferred photo editor and some other software I use for maps. It will often be used offline for writing and watching MKVs in VLC. I'm okay with a notebook or tablet and keyboard combo, but I've not found anything in a similar size with my feature requirements.

Any suggestions? Leave your best thoughts and suggestions in the comments. What's the best way to replace a netbook?
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Ask Slashdot: How Should I Replace My Netbook?

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  • Is this a test? (Score:4, Informative)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @04:36AM (#55883715)

    How Should I Replace My Netbook? / What's the best way to replace a netbook?

    Buy something new, stop using the old system, start using the new one - duh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kevin108 ( 760520 )

      Ah, the editors took some liberty with the original title. As submitted, it was, "What's the modern equivalent of the Eee netbook?"

      • Sounds like he could get a modern tablet and be happy with that as a replacement for the netbook.
        • Sounds like he could get a modern tablet and be happy with that as a replacement for the netbook.

          I own a Dell Inspiron mini 1012, on which I ran FamiTracker, FCEUX debugger, Python with Pillow, and ca65 (a 6502 assembler) inside Xubuntu. I used it when working as lead programmer on the video games Haunted: Halloween '85 (2015) and The Curse of Possum Hollow (2016) published by Retrotainment Games. Because the laptop is so small, I could whip it out and get work done while riding the bus to and from my other job. I stopped using it when its third lithium ion battery could no longer hold a charge; unfort

      • Until recently I would have said EEE Slate plus a keyboard, but they all have Intel CPUs :)

        • Until recently I would have said EEE Slate plus a keyboard, but they all have CPUs :)


          • FTFY

            You think you fixed it, but you didn't. AMD CPUs are vulnerable to only one out of the three attacks we're discussing (one meltdown, two spectre) and mitigation is inexpensive, unlike Intel.

            • "Guy's my window is broken! But it's OK, the next door neighbours door has fallen off it's hinges so i'm fine!
      • GPD Win. It comes with Windows 10 but I installed Arch Linux on it and it works perfectly fine. There's no Windows tax because screens small enough make Windows 10 starter free. Comes with gaming controls which work pretty well as a mouse actually, but you can switch it to a normal dinput joystick and Xbox360 input controller on the fly with the little dial and a touchscreen. The sequel GPD Win 2 isn't out yet but has more RAM, 8GB versus 4GB.

        https://bit.ly/2klXZlu [bit.ly]

        There's also the GPD Pocket which is si

    • To be honest I am pretty happy with a CHUWI Hi12. It has good life on the battery and though it is android 5.1 it is also windows 10 dual boot as well. Not cutting edge at all but the performance is good for the cost and the display is sharp with video performance good enough for HD. There are allot of cheap and decent dual boot tablets/laptops out there and a simple search of google or the like will direct you to them.
  • Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @04:39AM (#55883723)

    We poor Slashdotters are now being asked to advise someone who wants a small Windows laptop? Seriously? Go to PC World (or your local equivalent), look at the laptops and choose a small one. How hard can it be?

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Informative)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @04:47AM (#55883753)

      Well to be fair, it sounds like he's looking for something smaller than a 'small laptop', but the reality is you are correct. that market has pretty much died out.

      Last I checked there's still some hybrid-tablet stuff with detachable keyboards in the even smaller space, but they're finicky at best.

      His best bet is to get a ~13" laptop from dell or something and call it a day.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zocalo ( 252965 )
        Which is pretty much the advice that was given while this was still in the submission queue; get a small laptop or a tablet and keyboard combo. Two comments and /thread. Why this made the front page - as a full story no-less - is beyond me, maybe they're fresh out of Trump and Bitcoin stories and were getting desparate to justify their salary or something...
        • Why this made the front page - as a full story no-less - is beyond me

          Really? I have the exact same requirements. My EEEPC 900 still gets daily use but it's stuck on Windows XP because of storage requirements and the CPU struggles with youtube these days.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        There are plenty of 11" laptops available. You could try a Chromebook, or you could look for a second hand LaVie Z... There are lots of options.

        For browsing a Chromebook is ideal and cheap.

        • Refurbished X-line Thinkpads, anyone?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jawtheshark ( 198669 ) *
            Yes, that would work. They are kind of heavy though. I have a refurb X220 with me all time time. I got it for 159€, but I upgraded it to 16GB RAM and with a 120GB SSD (it runs Linux). So, add another 150€ for that.
            • Yes, that would work. They are kind of heavy though. I have a refurb X220 with me all time time. I got it for 159€, but I upgraded it to 16GB RAM and with a 120GB SSD (it runs Linux). So, add another 150€ for that.

              I have an X220T which actually is my primary computer, but there's no way I could have it with me all the time, especially not when I'm already carrying my photography gear. I couldn't see myself using such a big thing sitting in a café, either. Which are two of the reasons why I still have and use my old netbook although it frequently puts my patience to the test.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            That's an excellent suggestion.

        • You could try a Chromebook

          Until you need to run an application that is not a web application. Then you have to use developer mode, whose self-destruct button is too easy to trigger accidentally [slashdot.org].

          • Or you don't let other people stick their greasy mitts on something that can be wiped accidentally. Or you replace the firmware/bootloader. GalliumOS [galliumos.org] is a perfectly normal Ubuntu derivative, and works great.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Or you don't let other people stick their greasy mitts on something that can be wiped accidentally.

              The practicality of that suggestion depends on each individual Chromebook owner's circumstances. Back when home computers still used floppy disks, I once came out of the shower to find that my my little brother had reformatted one of my important floppies when The Print Shop suggested to "INITIALIZE" a data disk. He admitted not knowing what "INITIALIZE" meant and in particular that it would cause data loss. And back when consoles still used cartridges, I came back to find that my little brother had erased

              • Void the warranty according to a court of law, or according to the manufacturer? Why would flashing a stock bootloader be any different than flashing any other? Why is the firmware relevant to getting the hardware repaired?

                The Chromebook I'm typing on cost $115. As far as I'm concerned it's disposable.

                • by tepples ( 727027 )

                  Void the warranty according to a court of law, or according to the manufacturer?

                  The latter, because of the cost of getting even a small-claims court involved.

                  Why is the firmware relevant to getting the hardware repaired?

                  The manufacturer could use non-stock firmware as an excuse not to provide warranty service on non-firmware components of the device.

                  • Well it's a shame that settling legal questions tends to involve a court, but I do think that's where you might apply for an answer.

                    Either way, it's clear that the only recourse is to spam any related thread with warranty FUD. Keep on fighting the good fight, there, buddy.

      • just order it online.
        not that hard. beats the crap out of that eee.
        beg for a keyboard to use at home and you should be set.

        or just buy a laptop and a smartphone like everyone else. or just a smartphone and run some of the desktop-linux-on-android kits. it's still gonna beat that eee.

        • by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @06:10AM (#55883999)
          Even better, the GPD Pocket! 1920x1080 in a 7 inch screen! 8GB RAM. What more could you want? https://www.geekbuying.com/ite... [geekbuying.com]
          • by Amouth ( 879122 )

            damn that looks painful to use.. awesome really, but still painful.. looks perfect to leave in a network closet as a terminal monitor..

            • I think it's more designed to play games with, but I've ordered one just because it looks cool and I can run Ubuntu on it easily. I'll probably go for dual-boot Windows/Ubuntu.
            • And you forget that it doesn't fit an envelope as the MacBook Air does...
      • Asus still make 11.6" systems and a few 10.1" convertibles

        https://www.newegg.com/Product... [newegg.com]

        But yeah, the answer is to buy an ultrabook

        E.g from here

        https://www.newegg.com/Product... [newegg.com]

        I'd get one of these

        https://www.newegg.com/Product... [newegg.com]

      • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @08:04AM (#55884297) Journal

        Some people bought Netbooks because they were dirt cheap. Mostly these people are now buying larger laptops because the screen costs have gone down so much that it's not worth trying to make everything smaller to save a few dollars, so the cheapest laptops are no longer the smallest.

        Some people bought Netbooks because they were small. Most of these people are now using tablets with attached keyboards. My father has a MS Surface that he's happy with: it runs Windows, Office, and all of the business software that he cares about, and is very small. He doesn't need anything particularly fast. That's probably a good upgrade path for anyone who was running Windows on a Netbook and for whom cost is not a primary motivation.

        Some people wanted both small and cheap. These people are probably best served with a cheap Android tablet and a folding Bluetooth keyboard. If you want Windows, that's a problem.

        • Well, there are "some people" and "some people". Some people want something lightweight and don't care about processing power or screen size. I used to use a EEE900 before it was stolen, now I'm using an Asus Transformer T-100. The reasons are: small, long battery life, usable outside, cheap enough to be replaced swiftly - you don't want to wait longer than a day until you get something new and don't want to loose a lot of money. I use the machine for writing novels. Android is useless for writing, the rele

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Some people wanted both small and cheap. These people are probably best served with a cheap Android tablet and a folding Bluetooth keyboard. If you want Windows, that's a problem.

          There are plenty of cheap Windows tablets running on an Intel Atom z-something or other processor. And many have decent screens - the one I have (a NuVision something or other) came with a 1920x1080 screen in a 8" size. Cost me about $80, too. So with careful shopping you can get Windows 10, a decent screen (it's an IPS one I belie

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Some people wanted both small and cheap. These people are probably best served with a cheap Android tablet and a folding Bluetooth keyboard. If you want Windows, that's a problem.

          I don't want Windows, but I do want FCEUX (debugging version) and FamiTracker. Those are free software under the GNU GPL, and I currently run them in Wine, but Wine isn't so practical on ARM. Winelib on Android was "a work-in progress" as of 2014, and the project's page hasn't been updated [winehq.org].

    • Kevin108: Time for a new netbook! This will be easy, just a netbook with a better cpu than 630 MHz Celeron. I've done this on dial-up before. I'll pick one out of the hundred of results I get.

      Search Result: 80,000,000 results found.

      Kevin108: Oh my. What year is today?
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Or online. As I have no idea of the size of the IAIAO and he wants it to use for photo editing under Windows, I assume he needs something like http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop... [dell.com]
      Otherwise he could just use GIMP and ImageMagick under any Linux machine. I use a HP Chromebook that runs https://github.com/dnschneid/c... [github.com] so I have both Linux an Chrome.

      Crouton apparently stands for for ChRomium Os Universal chrooT envirONment ...or something like that. Only two disadvantages I found: Not possible to ssh to it. Not

      • I use a HP Chromebook that runs [Crouton] so I have both Linux an Chrome.

        Crouton requires developer mode. If someone turns on your developer-mode Chromebook, presses Space as prompted, and presses Enter as prompted, the firmware begins a factory reset. What do you do to restore the use of the machine after the firmware has performed a factory reset?

        • What do you think you're accomplishing?

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            I'm trying to understand how other Slashdot users cope with the restrictions imposed by Chromebook firmware, including how to ensure that I continue to qualify for warranty service.

    • Go to PC World (or your local equivalent), look at the laptops and choose a small one. How hard can it be?

      Harder than you might think. The only 10 inch laptop in a local Best Buy is an ASUS Transformer Book, and those are known to have serious problems with Linux compatibility [debian.org].

  • by damnbunni ( 1215350 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @05:00AM (#55883793) Journal

    Dell Venue 8 Pro 5000 series 4 GB RAM version.

    Add in the matching Bluetooth keyboard and, for extra photo editing fun, the 2048-levels-of-pressure active stylus.

    The problem is that it's a 'corporate' device, so Dell doesn't make it easy to buy just one of them.

  • One difference I've noticed from the time of Netbooks to now is that 7 and 8" screens have disappeared. Now you'll end up with a 10 or 11" screen machine, be it a laptop, a convertible or a tablet which would need an extra keyboard. How close would that size be to the ideal form factor you talked about?

    Over here in the UK, there are Windows 10 tablets branded Linx [linxtablets.com], with Atom CPU and hit-and-miss reviews from buyers. Maybe there's an equivalent brand where you are. The price varies wildly with Christmas and

    • by wanax ( 46819 )

      Have you looked at:

      the GPD Pocket 7.0? It's an atom that can run win10, 8/128gb, 7 in.
      https://www.windowscentral.com... [windowscentral.com]

      My cousin needs a netbook factor with a real keyboard (and no camera, which kiboshes a lot of options) for use in archival research and was considering one. I never asked her whether she bought one though.

  • Used corporate. (Score:5, Informative)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @05:22AM (#55883855)

    The whole reason I went with a netbook years ago was the price. Now, though, when I need a cheapo laptop, I definitely go with used corporate - Dell frequently has quite nice extra-durable laptops that are basically leased en mass to companies that make them dirt cheap, and VERY easy to provide service to if you're giving them to relatives.

    The designs are inherently rugged, can be thrown into a backpack no problem, accessories and batteries are commodity priced, and the appearance won't cause anyone to blink. I understand the appeal of light-as-possible, but there's just too many advantages to rugged cheapo-bulk laptops. And if you REALLY want mega-light, there's some models that do that too, I'm sure.

    Ryan Fenton

    • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

      That's a +1. There's a great deal of value in ex-corporate hardware.

      Hell, even ex-domestic hardware. I've currently got 3 x toshiba satellite pros, and a HP Pavilion, all but one have been "cleaned" and are running Debian 8.

      Pity I can't find a use for them......

      Although one of them is a headless deluge client. Must have grabbed 20 or more linux distros to play with.

    • Used corporate is a good advice as such, which is how I got my Thinkpad X220T which is my primary computer these days. It cannot replace my netbook, though.

      And if you REALLY want mega-light, there's some models that do that too, I'm sure.

      I would gladly learn to be wrong, but the problem is, to the best of my knowledge, there aren't.

  • Tablets has replaced netbooks.

    From the description, you are looking for a Surface or similar Dell, HP tablet.
  • There's a wide variety of products, and you won't find something that's exactly like the 701. Are you interested in something small? How small is too small? How big is too big? How much does weight matter vs. size? Does price matters?

    For example the GPD Pocket is decently well specced, but it may be too small for you or too expensive. There are lots of Chinese notebooks or tablets + keyboard with low specs which should be a fit replacement for a netbook. Take a look at GearBest (store) and TechTablets (revi

  • by ElectraFlarefire ( 698915 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @05:29AM (#55883877) Journal

    If you can type well on the 701, then you'ld like the keyboard on the GPD Pocket.
    High res screen, 8Gb ram, 128Gb SSD, selection of other standard stuff.
    Comes in windows and linux versions.
    And something around the $500 price.

  • At least not to the best of my knowledge. Yes, I'm facing the same problem for some time now, although I'm still slightly better off with a year 2012 model netbook (1.6 GHz Atom) that I've upgraded to 4 GB (only 3 of them usable even with a 64 bit OS though) and SSD.

    The last device I know of that would have fitted my needs in size vs. capability would have been the 10.6" Surface Pro 2 with the best of available options back then (8 GB/512 GB IIRC), but that was a design/lifestyle object sold for too high a

    • by ET3D ( 1169851 )

      Depends on what you call 'capable'. A 2012 netbook was hardly 'capable', it was just usable. Current equivalents are somewhat better, but still fall in the same category. There are quite a few Atom based 2-in-1 laptop/tablets available on Chinese stores like GearBest, typically specced with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and a 1080p screen. There are some with better CPU's and more storage (and a higher price), like the Cube Mix Plus. They aren't power laptops, but they're pretty much the evolution of old netbooks i

      • In 2012, a better netbook, upgraded to full RAM capacity and HDD replaced with SDD, was a device that could be put to some good use. In 2018, I'd expect to be able to buy something which is, relative to today's standards, what the 2012 netbook used to be back then. And I'd expect it not to be extremely more expensive, either.

        That would, today, include at least 8 GB RAM.

        The Cube Mix, at first glance, looks like a strong contender for what I'm after! Neither 4 GB RAM nor 128 GB SSD are enough, though.

        • by ET3D ( 1169851 )

          The Cube Mix Plus' SSD is M.2 so theoretically upgradeable. RAM isn't.

          RAM prices are higher now than in 2012, so I'm not sure why you're expecting more for the price.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Depends on what you call 'capable'.

        Try this definition: A device with 10" screen and keyboard capable of running GNU/Linux and Wine without prompting the user to wipe the drive at every boot. ASUS Transformer Book can't run GNU/Linux well (no suspend, no backlight brightness control), ARM devices can't run Wine, and Chromebooks in developer mode prompt the user to wipe the drive at every boot.

  • I have not found anything like that either so...
    For the size form-factor I use an iPad Air with a cover that has a built in Bluetooth keyboard.
    For a larger screen and better keyboard I use a ChromeBook.
    I have a Linux and a Windows VM in "the cloud" that I connect to from those devices via Apache Guacamole https://guacamole.apache.org/ [apache.org]
    I installed Debian Linux on my EeePC and I use it for command line access to the Linux VM via ssh and occasionaly I run Firefox (via 'startx' because there is not enoug
    • I have a Linux and a Windows VM in "the cloud" that I connect to from [my iPad Air and Chromebook] via Apache Guacamole

      How much do you pay per year to lease your Linux and a Windows VPS, and how much do you pay per year to connect to it through a cellular ISP?

  • until intel and company fix their bugs.

    or you can get yourself a pi-top https://pi-top.com/ [pi-top.com]

  • I love my Asus UX305CA [asus.com].

  • Cheap small laptops don't really exist on the market any more, and most that do are 2:1 devices: tablet first and laptop second. The next step up is a full-spec'd "ultraportable" laptop, and those cost a lot more.
    Overall, either type don't have many ports either and with no upgrade options to be as thin as possible.

    I have replaced my old netbook with a Lenovo Yoga Tab 8" Windows 8 tablet from 2015. 1920*1200 8" screen (16:10, 283 PPI), Micro SD-card reader (more storage), WiFi, BT, GPS, front and back camer

  • The 901 is a nice machine
  • The form factor and the pricing of these netbooks is dead. For now there are no good replacements.

    The closes in terms of what they set out to do are either Chromebooks or Windows tablets. As you seem to be looking for a Windows machine, the likes of Asus Transformer Mini or Microsoft Surface Pro provide a device that's faster, lighter, smaller in terms of volume, bigger in terms of surface and have a bigger and better screen than Eee 701. They are also more expensive.

    • The closes in terms of what they set out to do are either Chromebooks or Windows tablets.

      Lenovo also makes "Winbooks", i.e., Windows versions of their most popular Chromebooks models. I've bought a 11.6-inch "Lenovo N22 Winbook" that has pretty much the same hardware as the "Chromebook N22": a modern Celeron that can run 1080p/h264 videos, 32GB SSD (replaceable), 2GB RAM.

      It is not a perfect device, but was a good replacement for my old Atom netbook for classroom purpose.

  • by PixetaledPikachu ( 1007305 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @06:44AM (#55884099)
    Last year, I got myself a used ThinkPad X230 (720p 12.5in screen) with Ivybridge i5 CPU, add a 250GB SSD, additional RAM stick, additional 9 cell battery and it ended up costing me around USD400. Sure it's not smallest thing you can carry around, but it's more powerful than anything I can get new for the price. USB 3.0, proper gigabit ethernet and VGA ports.

    The great thing about the X230 is that you can get almost any part of its' exterior replaced. IPS screen, fingeprint sensor, WWAN connection, backlit keyboard.

    On the other hand, the X230 is stuck with wireless N adapter and 720p screen. But if you're resourceful, there's guide to reflash the bios to eliminate wireless adapter whitelist, and even an upgrade kit for FHD screen
  • Is the EeePC's processor Meltdown-proof? (ie, no speculative execution?) Install Linux and you may have one of the few secure pieces of computing equipment on earth :)

  • The EEE is way underpowered for todays standards, no doubt. However, IIRC, you can replace it's battery which is a feature todays handheld/ultraportable computers don't have.

    Look into Microsofts Surface Line of products and look at the Windows Tablets Samsung has to offer. One current Windows Notebook I find intrigueing is the Huawei Matebook. Very neat device. Like a rippoff of the MacBook but built around Windows. Definitely check that one out.

  • well, for the original EEE that's the case anyway, mine does and it is still usable for what it's intended use was.
    nobody will convince me the screen was ever big enough to do image/photo editing, even back in the day when it was released the screen was already small.

  • Just like whatever government you have on your country, what shows up on the front-page of /. is democratic, and whoever uses it has the DUTY to change it if need be, and at the very least, the common sense to criticize only after taking action. There's a thing these days called the blockchain and PoS from which you can take some hints on. If you don't like the status quo, maybe hackernews is a better place for your high-level nerd stuff.

    Now, replying to the post (because it doesn't make sense to hijack a t

  • Try one of these:
    - HP x2 (also known as HP Pavilion x2) - 10-inch laptop-tablet hybrid with eMMC flash (not SSD)
    - Lenovo Miix 320
    - Asus Transformer
    - Acer Switch One
    I've recently bought a HP Pavilion x2 10-n140nw (V2H20EA) for about 300$, and it's fine as a secondary device (checking web and email while on the trips, video conferencing, instant messaging). It can also run some less CPU/GPU-heavy games.
  • by lionchild ( 581331 ) on Monday January 08, 2018 @08:09AM (#55884309) Journal

    Lenovo actually keeps an 11-inch sized netbook around in it's line up in a couple of flavors, but the full PC version is the ThinkPad 11e. It can ben outfitted with 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and Core i3 Processor if you like.

    Info here: https://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/... [lenovo.com]

  • I feel with you.

    My rusty EEE 901 ran for nearly a decade, expanded to 2GB RAM, 36GB Flash and a 10 hour extra large battery, running XP, LUbuntu 10,04 to 16.04 and Windows 10 all fine. Pretty much every daily work worked flawless EXPECT browsing the web.

    I ended up with tihs: https://skinflint.co.uk/odys-s... [skinflint.co.uk] - very cheap, very small and light and high resolution on a small screen gives a very crisp picture. Also using it as a tablet by flipping the screen 360 degree around is pretty nice. 32GB is a lot of s

  • Install a javascript blocker on your web browser, and you will be amazed how much faster your web browsing becomes.

  • If the browser can be configured to trick sites into thinking it's a phone, then maybe one can browse without getting the JavaScript-happy eye-candy version of the site that slows the browser down.

  • Use case that you are after has moved from netbooks to tablets. Either iPad Mini or many Android tablets are pretty inexpensive. I would pick up one and see how far you can go with functionality that you need. While you have been holding on to EeePC, both hardware and software development for this form factor has been moving to mobile. Conversely, Windows apps and desktop web pages are increasingly unusable for that form factor. While you may not be aware of this now, you will notice a big jump in productiv

  • typed in "Laptop" in the search line, then I checked 10.1" and under.

    I got lots of results, and not all of them sucked. There was some HP and Lenovo stuff that looks like it fits your parameters.

    I was a netbook fan too, I've still got a couple laying around, though I use them less in the modern day. Back when I loved using them it was a different job and a different list of requirements than I have now, I carry a Lenovo w540 beast around now and think it's great because I'm not putting it in my bike "trun

Neutrinos have bad breadth.