I remember when I was a kid, computers were these big clunky things that made a lot of noise and rattled away on your desk. They barely did anything - except word processing, email, and allowed you to access Internet 1.0, which sucked by the way. Laptops were gigantic and you had to carry them around in a freaking SUITCASE. Then one day I opened up a CompUSA leaflet that came inside of the Sunday paper and to my intrigue noticed that there was a new device being sold called a Pocketpc.
I was probably around 12 or 13 when they came out. By this time I was pretty sure you could find pictures of pretty girls on the internet. For SURE you could email from these things which would mean that I wouldn't have to risk my mom and dad digging around through all of my private correspondence.
I never did end up with a Pocketpc. I had to rely on cloak and dagger tactics until eventually SMS messaging was invented and I had my own cellphone a few years later. These days we rely on cellphones for just about everything and laptops are practically dead. I have a desktop PC I use about twice a week to edit a photo or something. So why would anyone need a two hundred dollar netbook that's basically a modern Pocketpc?
For me it came down to having a desktop class Operating System and browser and a full size keyboard. It's just better than trying to type blog posts, write journal entries or organize notes than on an iPad. It's more usable. While a $200 netbook can't really be used to edit HD video, it can do a surprising amount. In fact, I'd say it probably will handle about 95% of your day to day tasks.
- Sending email
- Paying bills
- Watching Casey Neistat's youtube videos
- Writing blog posts
- Reading the News
Which is the right $200 laptop?
I didn't want to deal with ChromeOS, so I scratched those off right from the start. It had to be Windows, and it had to be Windows 10. My wife had used an older version of the Asus Vivobook, and I liked that it came with a 1 year warranty just in case it fell apart. 8 months later it was working great for everything she needed so I ended up buying one as well. One downside is the keyboard spazzed out and I thought I was going to need to take advantage of the warranty, but fortunately I didn't need to as it all straightened out once we rebooted it. It was nice to know that it could be taken care of. Asus has terrible customer service, but you can take care of getting a warranty claim filed quickly and easily right on their website.
This little laptop has made it possible for me to do things that used to require getting up and sitting at a desktop. Now I can sit in the living room with the rest of my family and force them to be around someone who just wants some quite while he works, but doesn't want to work completely alone.