Point/Counterpoint - Small Laptops vs. Large Laptops

Is portability or performance king when it comes to laptops? Read below to find two Linux geeks' opposing viewpoints on the matter.

Kyle Rankin is Chief Security Officer at Purism, a company focused on computers that respect your privacy, security, and freedom. He is the author of many books including Linux Hardening in Hostile Networks, DevOps Troubleshooting and The Official Ubuntu


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Netbooks For The Mass Market

Netbooks's picture

The majority of computer users are light. This means they use their laptop for simple tasks - email, web, music, word documents. For these people a netbook is perfect. Portable and cheap, it appeals to the masses. With larger hard drives and bigger battery lives, the netbook specifications are improving constantly and this is being reflected in the amount of sales.

Pocket or Bag

Jason Kostempski's picture

I say it either fits in your pocket, or it doesn't. If it's a pocket gadget, the smaller/thinner the better. If you have to carry a bag anyway, who cares how big or heavy it is? The weight/size range laptops fall into should be easy enough for any healthy human to carry without much effort.

Netbooks will roam the earth

Alexandro's picture

I just want to say I'm on kyle side. Ever since i got my eeepc, i dont worry about those bulky things. Far more as a linux user most of my stuff dont require a huge footprint so i can always remain priductive under a low powered laptop.
last year i went to europe only on my eeepc, external portable harddrive and my nokia N800. the configuration was solid.
never had any issue, and the quick boot was all so appreciated.
Netbooks will roam the earth.

Why not use both worlds

Pedro M. S. Oliveira's picture

Why don't you try a mixed solution?
There are nice 13 inch laptops with 1.4 kg, with full processing power, nice ram amount and large disk.

I don't know if you ever tried one of these but I've got a Sony Vaio SZ5XN and I love it. Usually on my personal budget I save some money to buy a new laptop every year, but I've this one for almost 2 and I'm not thinking in changing.

I use it for working in the office, at home, and traveling. The only thing i bought was a large capacity battery on ebay so i can work decently for 7-8 hours.
To be sincere I can go from Lisbon to New York with the laptop always on.
It has a nice resolution 1280x800, bright screen, a dual core duo with 2ghz and a hybrid video card, that allows you to work while plugged with a nvidia video card and if you want to save the battery you can use an intel video card (as I don't play I always use the Intel one).

It's not a cheap system I know, but it pays off. It's my first machine that gives me power to whatever I would do (develop, compile, run virtual machines, test web applications) and still be light and small being at the same time very usable (keyboard and mouse).