Product Type: Emachines Netbook
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Emachines eM250 Netbook
Member Name: BitterFusion
Emachines eM250 Netbook
Advantages: Great battery life, compact and light
Disadvantages: No CD/DVD drive, speakers poor quality
I found fairly early on at university that I'm much faster at typing than I am at writing, and so taking my laptop to lectures was an obvious decision, as I could get much more information down in this way. However, the problem with laptops is that they are often bulky and heavy. This was the case for me, at least. Carrying the laptop around the city I live in was not exactly discrete or comfortable for me, and so I sought a lighter, smaller option for the purpose of lugging back and forth to campus, and bought the Emachines eM250 netbook.
What you get
10.1" LED LCD screen
N270 Intel Atom CPU
160GB Hard Disk Drive
3 Cell Li-ion battery
3 USB ports
Memory card slot
0.3MP integrated webcam and microphone
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
*No CD/DVD drive*
Note: Listed are only the specs on my particular netbook. I remember that there was a more expensive option with Vista on it when I was looking to buy, and so specs may vary slightly, and may vary likewise in price.
Measuring 27cm x 19cm (approx. 10.5" x 7.5"), this netbook slips very nicely and comfortably into my handbag and is perfect for carrying around discretely. Being very light, it is no burden to carry around. Its black and silver design makes it look sleek, although the black glossy plastic on the lid of the netbook is extremely prone to fingerprint marks.
The keyboard is obviously smaller than an average laptop's keyboard. Although some users may find it difficult to make the transition from full sized keyboard to the netbook's smaller keyboard, I have found it easier, if anything, to use. The smaller keys mean my hands have to move less to reach the keys and I probably type faster on it than I do my regular laptop. However, it might be worth going to see netbooks on display in a shop before making an online purchase, if you feel this may be an issue for you. All basic keyboard buttons are present, and the keyboard also doubles up into a number pad and an ability to control volume and brightness of the screen by combining the 'Fn' button with the respective buttons.
Also considerably smaller is the touch pad, being only 5cm (approx. 2") in width. However, I have not experienced any difficulty in adjusting to this with the exception of one function. On my laptop, I like being able to scroll down a browser page by running my finger down the right side of my touch pad. Although I realise that you are not able to do this in the same way on all laptops, the netbook's way of doing this is by drawing a swirl on the touch pad, and the desired action is often not recognised, which can be irritating. However, this is only a minor gripe compared to the netbook's otherwise convenient size.
I have found the netbook to be both quick and efficient in terms of performance. It is extremely speedy when starting up, and opens programs swiftly. I do suspect this has at least something to do with the fact that I have not clogged the machine's memory up with endless software, but I am still impressed by its performance.
As I stated, the netbook does not have a CD/DVD drive, which may be an issue to some people. However, I have watched media on the netbook from the internet without much of a problem. I have found that the wireless internet connection to my netbook cannot be picked up as strongly as to my laptop, which can be a slight problem in terms of streaming media. However, I do share a house with four other wireless laptop users, and so the battle for bandwidth is constant. Those using a cable from the router may find that media is streamed far better than trying to access it over a wireless connection.
That said, I have been able to use Skype without much of a problem on the netbook. This has also proven the netbook's webcam to be extremely impressive despite being only 0.3MP. According to those I have Skyped with, the video stream has been extremely clear and bright, and indeed far surpasses the quality of my laptop's 1.3MP webcam.
However, in terms of projecting sound, this netbook is certainly not the best. Turning the netbook's volume up to its highest setting, as well as doing the same for the respective software's volume setting, seems pointless when I am still forced to strain my ears in order to hear what is being output by the tinny speakers. The only way to overcome this is by plugging in earphones, which increase the volume to a perfectly audible level, but is annoying if you do not wish to have earphones in.
With the operating system being a Windows XP Home Edition, the Microsoft Office package is not included on the machine, and must be bought separately. Unwilling to fork out more money to Microsoft, I have overcome this by downloading the Open Office package, which is both free and compatible with Microsoft Office, should you need to take a file into work/school etc., and has consequently has not been an issue for me.
The battery life of the netbook is, in my opinion, very impressive. A full charge will give the netbook about 3 hours of battery life without mains power. This, again, surpasses my laptop's battery life, which struggles to reach 2 hours. 3 hours, however, is perfect for me. As I said, my main intention was to use this to write down lecture notes, and with lectures being 1 hour, the netbook is more than capable of lasting through two lectures in one day comfortably, as well as most of a third. Battery life can be further conserved by switching off things such as WiFi, dimming the screen's brightness etc. and I have known the netbook to survive into its fourth hour before now, making me a very happy bunny.
My main priority when purchasing the netbook was price. I can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but it was in the £160-£180 region from Tesco, making it one of the cheaper netbooks. Today, the netbook seems to be difficult to get hold of, which is a shame as it really is a great little machine. Its great battery life, size and weight makes it a perfect transportable netbook, and would be great for taking out and about to work, even if there isn't a mains power supply nearby. If you can get your hands on a cheap second hand version, you certainly wouldn't regret it!
Summary: Great little machine
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