My wife used to walk by and run her finger across the top of my old monitor, show me the huge dust bunny and give one of those looks. She hates dust. So do computers. My desk was a mess until I started using a laptop as my main computer. As per the norm, my desktop computer consisted of the huge box and a huge monitor. The box went on the floor in the corner and provided a perfect for dust and spiders to make their home. The monitor was a foot and a half deep and took up most of the desk leaving about six inches for the keyboard. That was the way it had to be though.
I tried using a night stand next to the desk in order to get the computer box up off the floor. This made the CD drive a bit more accessible however the fact that access to the back was still obscured and the corner still accumulated dust made the move less than optimal.
I then decided that my next machine would be a laptop computer. I bought a Dell Inspiron 1720 that runs Vista. What an inspiration. Now I use the night stand as a… night stand where I have a lamp and store my most used books as well as CDs and other peripheral hardware. The laptop sits nicely on the desk and whether I use the laptop’s keyboard or use a remote keyboard I still end up with way more space than I had while using the desktop computer and monitor. I could have two or three of these things set up and still have more room.
Many companies are now offering the mini laptops which look quite convenient. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 10.1″ Notebook, the HP Mini 1030NR 10.2″ Notebook, and the Acer Aspire ONE AOA150 are just a few of these new mini computers known also as netbooks and laptots. They have 7 to 10 inch screens and are about half to two-thirds the size of the usual laptop computer. I hear the 7 inch screens are a bit difficult and that battery life can be shorter due to size constraints however for an extra $50 or so you can get a 6 cell battery that will double the life. Also, the keyboard size may also be a concern for those of us with larger hands.
Many of these new mini laptops come with Linux as opposed to a Windows OS. Linux machines tend to boot up twice as fast as Windows machines and the software for Linux is usually open source (free) and many of them are compatible with the usual MS counterparts. However unless you are already familiar with Linux applications, there may be a learning curve and some experimentation involved to find all the applications you need.
These mini laptops seem quite affordable at first glance however, you need to be aware of exactly what you are getting for the price. Once you have it outfitted with the processor and graphics card you want the price may start getting close to that of a normal sized laptop and unless you are just into it for the size, you may be better off sticking with a normal sized laptop. Be sure to check out some review sites first to get up to speed on how to buy a computer. I tend to hook up a regular keyboard and mouse via USB ports so aside from the increased desk space the most important factors for me are the processor and monitor quality.
If I were to get one of these mini computers it would only be for light stuff like browsing the web, email, and perhaps a word processor. A travel companion only. Otherwise I need the latest greatest computer processor that can run Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash and Firefox at the same time without flinching. I won’t be venturing there too soon but in the meantime, with my new 1720 laptop there is a 75% reduction of surface area for dust to accumulate. Now when my wife walks by she just smiles and goes about her way.