The world's littlest laptop is yours for $399, but is it the ultimate writers' gadget?


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/16/the-worlds-littlest-laptop-i.html


#2

Is such extreme portability really useful? I use a 900g Chromebook for typing, and it was cheaper than this.


#3

YMMV but I think for writing, a chromebook works very well and is very affordabe. Personally my favorite writing kit is an iPad Mini with a good Bluetooth keyboard. I appreciate the mono-tasking iOS as a way to focus my writing, and also the fact that it can be used as a tablet to jot down notes or a few lines, even in a place where pulling out a laptop isn’t convenient.


#4

Yeah, I’ve fiddled with wee machines and all sorts of UMPC or PDA+Keyboard kludges–I even owned an Alphasmart, which was great except for the the 5-line LCD screen.

What it comes down to is that I need a decent keyboard and, at least, a 12 inch screen to write and edit without it making an extremely frustrating. Right now, I use a 12-inch laptop running Ubuntu for most of my writing needs. I also have a 13-inch chromebook, which I also bought pretty cheap. It is great, but I balk on saving files on Google Drive. Maybe I ought to get over the paranoia.


#5

Damn, i have no real use-case for that at all but i really really want one :wink:

On a more practical note, 11-12" ultraportables are better here. Still small enough to chuck in a bag without being too much of an issue, but also large enough to be properly useable.

That said, this device looks to be more like what i wanted the old netbooks to be. Still relatively weedy systems, but not hobbled by Microsoft’s arbitrary and significant limitations on CPU/RAM and screen resolution in their netbook spec…


#6

Looking at it a bit more, why are the ubuntu and windows 10 versions the same price?

You could get the windows version and install ubuntu yourself, giving you the ubuntu version with a free windows key as an option for the future… :confused:


#7

It’s a clitoris, not a nipple!


#8

Yes. Extremely portable PCs are a thing that everybody wants in principle but not in reality. The early 1980s had Tandy/RadioShack’s Pocket Computers. The late 1980s/early 1990s had the Poquet PC, and under a decade ago we had Sony’s Vaio P series. The problem is that the keyboard and screens just are too small.


#9

I dunno.
I’d be much more tempted by something like an iPad with an external 40% (sized) mechanical keyboard. Gets me the lovely key-feel and enough horsepower to actually get stuff done (replace the iPad with some other tablet if you’re iOS/Apple allergic).
But that’s me, and I’d also (weirdly) like this:


So maybe I’m not a typical use case.


#10

's a ThinkBook-style tracknipple in lieu of a trackpad

For me, that’s a deal-breaker. I know a trackpad takes up real-estate, but make it a slide-out.


#11

Never really solved, but never really attempted, either. Most tiny PCs are the result of someone spotting that demand, and realising that miniaturising the actual apps is far beyond their reach, and then saying “but what if we just made the hardware around the app really small instead?”.

It’s basically the decades-long saga of people who don’t understand why the book industry doesn’t just scale paperbacks down by 50% and use one eighth the amount of paper.

What confuses me, especially now, is why no one makes a cheap low-powered ARM laptop with a 15" screen and a 24hr battery life that weighs half a pound. The universal wisdom seems to be that if you want a screen as big a piece of paper, you must be some kind of hardcore video-editing pro gamer who runs constant simulations of the big bang in the background.


#12

You can save them locally and back up to micro sd.


#13

As a writing tool, I’m much more tempted by the Hemingwrite or Freewrite.


#14

Sigh. Because 15" of glass plus the battery to power a 15" backlight weighs a heck of a lot more than half a pound? And a keyboard you won’t hate also has weight. Apple, among the best in the world at shaving weight off devices, crammed a 12" laptop into 2 pounds. They crammed a 12" ipad into 1.5 pounds. Both get around 10 hours on a charge. So for a 15" device with a keyboard you will need to go into 3+ pound territory. want more than 10 hours per charge? Add more weight. Go for a composite instead of aluminum chassis and you might, maybe, be able to get the weight down and the battery life up, but not by much.


#15

Screen SIze. (Unless licensing has changed and I’m not current) But Under 8" screen and the Windows license is free

Remember…OEM Licenses are not transferable. With Licenses being stored In The CLOUD now for many devices, there isn’t an easy way to move OEM licenses between hardware now.


#16

It was the 1GB RAM limit that was the real killer :slight_smile:
Got given an old 8" netbook a while back. The screen is both tiny and low res (1024x600 i think?) Swapping it’s RAM to 2GB helped it along though.

Edit: yes about the licence. linked to that piece of hardware but what i meant is that the windows PC gives you a choice of windows/linux down the line for that PC, the ubuntu one costs the same and you don’t get a windows option without buying a key…


#17

Can’t be done on a device any sane person would want to type on. For writers, a shrunken keyboard just leads to frustration, especially if they normally use a regular size keyboard at their desk. There’s a reason why the macbook air and its clones came to dominate the ultra portable PC market among travelling writers - because it achieved the smallest size possible without sacrificing the typing experience.


#18

Nah. If it was a clitoris you’d never find the thing.


#19

Those are still really expensive. Which is good, because otherwise I’d probably do something stupid like buy one.


#20

That is glorious. What is it?