The Samsung NC10 netbook I ordered for my husband’s birthday was delivered yesterday, and while he called it “tiny” and “smaller than expected” during his unboxing, I was much more interested in his reaction. How in the world could he think a 2.9-pound netbook with a 10.2-inch screen is tiny after using my 1.6-pound Fujitsu LifeBook U810 for nearly a month while we were traveling? “The U810,” he said, “is unusably small.”
While contemplating who to appoint as the new president of the Pocketables fanclub, I began to wonder what the commonly accepted definition of “ultra portable” was. At what point does something go from being portable to being ultra portable? Ultra mobile?
I’ve often referred to my Sony Vaio TZ as an ultraportable (one word) notebook; it has a larger screen than the NC10 (11.1″ vs 10.2″) but is actually 0.2 pounds lighter than the netbook. It’s also about five times more expensive, I know, but the TZ is one of the main reasons behind my general disinterest in netbooks. Since they offer no size advantage (and their designs are uninspired), I don’t really find them appealing.
Size, like so many other aspects of ultra mobile computing, is relative and personal. While the NC10 lightens the load my husband carries (see the size comparison pics in the forum), it would only weigh me down. If I’m going somewhere and I need to do some serious work, I’d take my TZ; for anything else, a UMPC or some other mobile gadget would suit me fine.
And that leads me to the question posed in the title of this post: How do you define ultra portability?
What strikes the perfect balance between usability and portability for you? Which mobile device is your ultimate travel companion?
Note: The Pocketables ban against gadgets with screens larger than 7 inches is still in effect here (though this post is pushing it), but the Samsung NC10 forum will continue to be fattened up as I sneak in some time with the netbook when my husband isn’t looking.