My desktop computer died. It was a peaceful passing in the middle of the night after a protracted illness. While not unexpected, it’s death does mean some decisions have to be made. How should I replace it? Is it time for a paradigm shift? Should I even replace it, or just rely on a laptop? I’m just not sure.
Several weeks ago one of my principals inquired about creating a mobile computer lab using something other than full-sized laptops. At the time, the only thing available was one of the AlphaSmart labs. However, those tend to have very limited capabilities. I knew that there would be a whole bunch of OLPC imitators hitting the market soon that would have full-computer capabilities for a similar price point to the AlphaSmart solution.
So, we waited and watched as new laptops were released into the wild for around $500 that might fit the bill. Asus has some units in its EEPC line, but the one that really caught my eye was the new HP 2133 subcompact unit. It was this one that I decided to test drive. It arrived Monday, and I’ve been putting it through its paces.
The unit I got has 2 GB RAM and 120 GB hard disk space. It sports a VIA C7-M processor running at 1.6 GHz. I wouldn’t try to do Photoshop or any heavy graphics processing, but for general web surfing and most everything else it should be fine. It has WiFi, Bluetooth, as well as two USB ports and SVGA out. It doesn’t have a CD or DVD drive, but it does have an SD slot. It has a built-in webcam. Mine came with Vista Basic, but the unit is available with LInux.
Usually, the size of the computer is inversely proportional to its cost. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, especially with this new crop of laptops. As configured, this unit sells for about $750 – more expensive than the Asus products, but still cheaper than a full laptop.
Those are the official specs – now for the hands-on…