Most Shiny • 30 May 2008 • The SnowBlog

Most Shiny


Last time I bought a really small laptop it was about four years ago and it cost nearly 2000. That seems an unimaginable amount to spend now, not just because I'm poorer these days. Last week I bought the smallest and most beautiful laptop I've ever owned, and it cost 300 (ex. VAT.). It's got a keyboard that's over 90% of full-sized, so I can touch-type without a hitch. In fact it's probably the silkiest keyboard I've ever used. It's got a bright and beady little display that crams some ridiculous resolution onto its 9" screen. Not so good if you struggle with small print, but great if you're me. 2133Open.jpg

The processor is very slow by today's standards, but I don't care. I've loaded it with Windows XP (designed to run on the computers of the year 2000) and Office 2000, and now Word starts up in much less than a second. It weighs 1.2kg and slips into the smallest bag. I swapped out the hard drive for one of these new solid-state ones with no moving parts, so the machine is also completely silent. It is, in the hacker vernacular, freakin' awesome. I plan to keep it exclusively for writing my next book: no Photoshop or Illustrator, no programming, and only the most basic web-browsing setup. 

Other than the fact the battery life is less than two hours, I've got no excuse for not writing wherever I am - and I can always take the charger with me. The only reason that I wouldn't recommend anyone in the market for a tiny, fabulous laptop to gallop out and buy one right now is that every other computer-maker on the planet is rushing a similar device to market. Until a year ago, tiny laptops commanded a really high-end price ; you can now buy one for under 300. Get a Linux one and the software's all free: as soon as the thing's out of its box you're ready to start work on your magnum opus.

Look. Despite the healthy size of its keyboard, you can nearly lose the thing under a paperback book. Pai an jiao jue, as they would have said on the short-lived TV show, Firefly.

I was looking for some press photos I could use to demonstrate its diminutive dimensions, but all I could find were trade show photos with beautiful Asian girls holding them up - and the girls are so tiny the thing looked like a full-sized machine. Top tip: hire WWF wrestlers to demonstrate how delicate your bijou-tech is.

I can't believe either of these girls is much over 4'6".


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