The Evolution of the Microsoft/Intel Netbook: Three generations of mini Windows laptops

Posted in Uncategorized by QuietOC on February 12, 2010

Form Factors

The chunky 10" netbook and the slim 11.6" CULV laptop

The NEC Mobile Pro 900C is an excellent size for carrying and typing. With a very wide 8:3 ratio 8.2” touch screen it is wide enough to have a very useable keyboard . The more traditional laptop shape of the 1000HA makes it slightly narrower and much deeper than the 900C. The smaller width requires slightly narrower keys than the Mobile Pro, but the Eee PC 1000HA still has a very nice keyboard. The Gateway EC18 has a cheap looking keyboard with large flat square keys. The flat look is somewhat stylish, but it leaves less for the fingers to sense, but at least the keys have a grippy texture.

Lower right corner of the ASUS Eee PC 1000HA keyboard

Lower right corner of the Gateway EC1803u keyboard

All three machines have key layout issues in the lower right corner. The 900C has the arrow keys arranged  in a single row below the right shift key. The 1000HA places a small shift key alongside the up arrow key on the top row. The EC18 has half height arrow keys with dedicated half height Pg Up and Pg Dn keys placed on either side of the up arrow key. This is possibly the worst arrangement of all three. My tendency on the Gateway is to accidentally mash the Pg Up or Pg Dn keys. This combined with accidental swiping of the touch pad make touch typing and editing on the Gateway aggravating.

With a 16:9 screen the EC18 could have employed a much less deep case.  Instead the screen hinge design makes the machine even deeper when opened. So one benefit of a small, wide screen has been lost. At least the EC18 feels much thinner than the other systems, but a lot of that is probably due to how much larger it is in the other dimensions.


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1 comment

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  1. Fire Basket · said, on November 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    the best and cheap netbooks are made by Asus or MSI, if you want reliability then the best is Hitachi netbooks “

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