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I am thinking about getting a netbook for a secondary laptop. Ideally it would mainly be used for surfing/email/travel, but I would like it to be good enough to be able to run Visual Studio for when I am at conferences and the like.

I as thinking it would be nice to be able to put a 16-32GB SSD in it, as well as 2GB of memory. Do you have any recomendations? Will a netbook even suffice, or should I upgrade to a small-form laptop?

Edit: I don't need to be able to build software on it. It would just be nice to occasionally be able to try out new tools, APIs, or what have you without getting frustrated due to limited computing power.

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closed as off-topic by Excellll, Mokubai, Carl B, slhck Sep 14 '13 at 9:54

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Joe, did you purchase the Samsung NC20 in the end? If so, what has your experience been? –  Charles Roper Oct 19 '09 at 13:15
    
People will tell you netbooks are no good for developing on but it depends on your priorities. If ultraportability is a high priority you can certainly code on one. I've been coding exclusively on netbooks since the original Eee PC came out! I do always upgrade to the maximum RAM and I have a widescreen LCD monitor for when I'm not on the road. If you use the small keyboard the majority of the time you can get so used to it that a full sized keyboard can feel ungainly (-: –  hippietrail May 3 '11 at 5:24

6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you're really after a netbook, then I would recommend the Samsung NC20. I have owned one for the last month and have found it quite satisfactory for coding on, but I probably wouldn't want to do so all of the time. I run Windows 7 on it and upgraded it to 2GB RAM.

The keyboard is large enough for touch-typing and the screen is sizable (for a netbook) and sharp. It's surprisingly fast, and light, and it runs cool. All in all it's a surprisingly sweet little computer, and quite visually attractive as well.

I made the decision to purchase based on the very favourable reviews for it:

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After looking up some more reviews, it looks like this will do exactly what I am looking for. Thanks! –  Joe Jul 24 '09 at 21:23
    
Yeah, the requrirements you posted in your original question seemed to be in line with my own requirements when I purchased a few weeks back and I've been delighted with the machine so far, so I thought I'd give it a shout out. One thing I would add: it might be worth putting a date in the title of your question, because by next year, the answers will inevitably be irrelevant. –  Charles Roper Jul 25 '09 at 10:06
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NC20 is quite a piece of engineering. I love mine. –  at. Jan 30 '10 at 23:57

Before buying one, try spending some time coding on one. The small, rearranged keyboard might kick your productivity in the face. For instance, I have a Dell Mini9 and I would never code with it. Its keyboard is hard to do home-row typing. The trackpad mouse is too close to the spacebar and I keep tapping it as I type, moving the focus to wherever the mouse cursor happened to be.

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excellent advice! –  lexu Jul 24 '09 at 17:38
    
I concur. I probably have average size hands and the keyboards are just too small for me to be effective on. I haven't seen anything less than 13 inch that would work for me. –  paul Jul 24 '09 at 17:50
    
I hit the spacebar typing on my 17" Dell lappy. It's so annoying that I turn off the trackpad and use a wireless mouse. –  Rob Allen Jul 24 '09 at 18:03
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+1, programming on a Netbook is OK if you only need to do something quick, IMO it's very unconfortable for prolonged development. –  Badaro Jul 24 '09 at 19:54

Those specs with a decent processor should be sufficient to run VS. I recommend ASUS' netbook offerings, particularly the Eee PC EPC1000HE, which has garnered fantastic reviews all around.

If you're intent on 2GB RAM, you may have to spend a little more.

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I own the ASUS EEE PC901 and run it under UBUNTU, but have given up trying to code on it.

While I love the size und weight and carry it when on the road, I absolutely hate the trackpad, to a point where I started carrying an external mouse (logitech nano)

I've previously owned (and used for coding) HP's Omnibook (600 and 800), and still use a Libretto U100 for windows based coding.

Those machines were more expensive, but also better engineered.

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If you're going to code on a netbook, go 12 inch.

The Dell Mini 12 is one contender. It's got the roominess of a full laptop, but the portability of a netbook.

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I'm waiting for more detail about the Acer 1820PT. It's a convertible with multitouch and a better than average processor for an ultra portable. Sounds ideal for a Windows developer with all the new Windows7, Silverlight 4, and Windows Phone 7 goodness.

I have a Dell mini 9 which is great as a web device but way too slow (even with an upgraded SSD) for Visual Studio development.The bad news is it tends to be processor bound to so many netbooks in the same class will have similar performance problems, I think.

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