Absolutely Great -- For Practical Users
My wife usually uses a high-quality Lenovo Thinkpad for both desktop and travelling. At 6+ pounds, it was somewhat of a travelling nuisance, but acceptable.
Then my wife ended up in the hospital and rehab from a broken pelvis. Since her business is all online, she needed something to fill the gap, a light-weight computer she could use at the hospital and rehab center even when she was in a weakened state.
I bought her a Dell Inspiron 1012 two days after her admission. Even numb and feeble, she was able to lift the computer with ease.
"What didn't you get me one of these before," was the first thing she said.
It is a truly limited machine. With the most basic Win 7 on her, I couldn't even change the desktop image.
What she could do was the following:
*Use the computer constantly. Without an external USB wireless card, she got the seven hours of use, just as advertised. With the wireless card, she got between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 hours before needed to plug it in for recharging.
*30 second (or less) access. Using the sleep and/or hibernation modes, the computer took 30 seconds or less to get from lid open to desktop availability. It was there when she needed it, in other words.
*As good internet access as any of our home-based office machines. Access was wireless and the speeds of wireless are fairly limited. That being said, the machine itself was fast as anything it could get to, wired or unwired.
*Usable without creating impatience. Some office programs appeared to open slower than they would on our 3.1 desktop, but not different enough to make her (or me) impatient. And some opened just as fast. Without bloatware, a machine like this is perfect for standard office work (Excel, Word, etc.)
*Roomy enough to hold ALL her data files for the past ten years! It made me realize how much room on our office computers are essentially filled with junk. It's a business computer -- who needs to have 16,000 hours of MP3 music files.
*Functional without an external CD/DVD drive. Although I originally thought I would use my USB DVD reader/writer for her machine, I discovered that was absurd. I have known for sometime that optical media is soon to be a thing of the past. A free software download and I was converting our DVD selections to playable files on flashdrives. 20 minutes or less on an otherwise unused office machine and I'd have a files I could put on a 1 or 2G stick and which she could play back. The machine wasn't for entertainment; it was for professional use, but if she did need entertainment (later, when she was travelling by plane to a conference), she had something she could use. And, when it comes to a CDs: for data files,just copy them to a stick; and music files, use Window Media Player to convert them for free to MP3 or other forms. One flashdrive can hold up over a hundred hours of music.
*Reliable for her media work. Her job includes photo-documenting conferences as well as writing about them. Offloading images and doing the basic necessary photo-editing was a breeze using her USB wireless mouse. Even that huge elephant of a program, Adobe Acrobrat Pro Extended, did not have or create any problems.
*Synchrozined easily and wirelessly with our office machines when she needed to leave on a trip or returned home.
*Could almost be a desktop substitute. Well, at least, temporarily. With an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, it would be a good enough machine for the basics.
*It is TRULY a laptop machine. It works just fine without a desk. A wireless, laser mouse on a clipboard or leg or side-table gives remarkable control. The built-in touchpad is, well, a touchpad and does as well as any touchpad does. It's light; it doesn't overheat; its screen is delightfully clear, luminous, readable, and displays images that are pleasureable to look at. Unlike IPads, which are useless in the lap for long document work, this machine was almost invisible in terms of how easy it was to use.
*And, last, but definitely not least, after six months of 50% usage (I take it to work sometimes - it's nice to be able to hold it aloft, while lightly gripping the edge with only two fingers), there has not been a single crash or problem.
In summary, as a SECOND machine, used by a professional for professional activities, synchronized as necessary with a FIRST machine, it has proven everything we could ask for. (By the way, we picked the DELL because - of the machines I looked at - it was the only one with lightly contoured, slightly textured keys on the keyboard - perfect for a touch-typist to maintain orientation).
It is not a toy, and by that I mean two things: 1, it is a real machine that does remarkably well at its assigned tasks; and 2, it is not for gamers, whose needs are beyond my own interests.
And they're cheap. I mean cheap! If I start travelling, that will be my next requested stocking stuffer.