This is the second in my series of posting about how to choose a netbook? You can read the first one here. Battery Considerations.
Well, you’re in the market for a netbook or even a notebook, and you’re struggling because of all the options that you need to consider to get a well-connected model.
This article will go through the standard features and explain what they are and why they are useful or not in terms of their connectivity. Many models contain all of these features, but not every model will contain exactly the same specification so check carefully before you plonk down your hard earned cash.
1. Ethernet Connections
This is probably the most universal connector that you will need or have, and an RJ45 connector will plugin to the socket. It is identified on left-side of most netbooks as a slightly larger than a phone socket type slot. It is usually placed right next to the telephone jack.
Not all notebooks include one of these because of the socket size. The most important point is that many hotels, offices and businesses still provide only cable-based Internet access through their network to the Internet. So, if you don’t have one of these connectors, you may find yourself out of luck. I’m usually glad to use a cable, because I’ve found wired networks faster and more secure than wireless networks. On Asus, this is usually referred to as 10/100 Fast Ethernet.
2. Telephone Still Rocks
If you’re stuck in some parts of the world (developed AND developing) you may find that you still need to dial in via 56K modem and telephone line to connect to the Internet. So you will also need a standard telephone jack to connect a telephone line, too. Of course, this also makes faxing (if you have the software) straightforward. If you don’t have a telephone socket, you can still use SkypeFax for making faxes, though perhaps it’s less convenient.
3. Wireless Networks
All netbooks include Wireless connectivity as a standard feature. This makes accessing the Internet or LANs quick and simple. Many of the older netbooks feature dual modes (b/g), but newer models, such as the 1000 series, feature tri-mode connectivity Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n). This n-mode will provide faster access to the network, as well as a more stable experience. So look for a model that supports that network if possible. Not all Asus Eee PC 1000 series do support n-mode.
4. Bluetooth Devices
These devices are really for mobile phones, etc. My netbook doesn’t support this out of the box, and it is relatively simple to add the function by buying a Bluetooth bud and plugging it into your setup. But why bother when you can just buy the machine already setup. Bluetooth allows you to connect to your mobile devices (phones, earphones, etc.) without an annoying cable, though you will find that Bluetooth access speeds are slow compared to mobile broadband standards. This seems to be a limitation for Bluetooth 2.1. However, it is still useful for uploading/downloading pictures and music and data from your handset.
5. USB slots
Most new ASUS Eee netbooks provide for ample USB slots. I really recommend three USB slots for a number of reasons: 1 slot is for your mobile phone tethered Internet access (always useful), one is for your full-size keyboard/mouse/other, and one is for your data device. It’s pretty easy to use up three slots at one sitting with the devices we now use: MP3s, cameras, card readers, CD/DVD burners, USB keys… why be short?
6. Video Adapter
This is still a very useful adapter socket on many models, because you can connect to an external monitor or projector. You will find the video out useful if you are giving a presentation or have tired eyes or just need a bigger monitor for a delicate task. While VGA connectors are still available, you may find that you need to also stick a converter-jack for the new style monitor jacks that are increasingly common. Otherwise you may not be able to use the monitor. Luckily these are really small.
7. Secure Digital Memory Card Slot
This device is always useful for reading your photographs or other digital media. The ASUS Eee PCs usually provide one MMC/SD(SDHC) card slot for you to stick your cards into. Of course, if you are using a mini-card or large compact flashcard, you will need to use a separate device to connect via USB.
These seven connectivity points are, I think, essential in today’s ASUS Eee PC netbooks models. It would be nice to mobile broadband as an on-board feature, but that hasn’t happened yet on any netbook. Given the rapid deployment of broadband wireless networks, I expect we’ll see this soon on top-end netboooks, too.
So which connectivity features are you looking at on the Asus Eee PC series? If you’re not sure… you can visit Find your Asus Eee PC to help you find the right models, the latest models, and great deals on whatever model you want to buy.
James Dickson(me!) has been following the Eee PC since it first came out, and is an eager enthusiast. Do drop buy and let us know what you think of your purchase or whatever is on your mind at http://eeeblogger.com
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