I have been interested in the idea of a netbook since they first appeared. I can see the advantage of a small portable computer especially since laptops seem to be getting larger. I remember many years ago using a 486 laptop that only ran dos but was small and light. It was the ideal travel companion. So recently I decided it was time to add to my collection of pcs.
The new unit is Kogan Agora Pro from Kogan, an Australian company. At under $500 it is the cheapest netbook available in Australia but despite that is well equipped. It has a 160gb drive and 2 gig ram as well as the standard Atom processor. Graphics are Intel 950 which support 3d, transparency etc. OS is gOS a version of Linux based on Ubuntu with a emphasis on Google.
So how good is it? It is only available online which is a bit of a concern. I like to see and touch before I buy. However there were several good reviews online so I took a risk. It arrived in a couple of days. Just a plain white box with the usual hardware but no manual. That is only available on the website. Kogan proudly state they are a paperless company. It had a Windows XP sticker even though it came with Linux, that went very quickly. My first impressions were very good, it runs well and seems well made.
I was not so impressed with the operating system though. It seemed to be an older version as it contained out of date versions of OpenOffice and Firefox. The getting started guide recommended against updating it too. Seems that causes problems with the wifi driver. To add to that it didn’t recognise my wireless broadband so I couldn’t get online.
My next move was predictable I guess. gOS was gone and Fedora replaced it. Most things worked out of the box including wifi and my wireless broadband. I was surprised how well it ran even with KDE 4.3 installed which is a bit resource intensive. Even the desktop effects worked. It didn’t take me long to have the desktop customised the way I like it. Later I added the Xfce 4.6 desktop and that runs even better. I will give Fedora’s new Moblin spin when that becomes available after the release of Fedora 12 in about a month.
I have used it around home, in meetings and when out and about. It has prove a worthwhile investment and a useful tool.
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