For the last couple of days, I was in California on business and needed a convenient way to keep tabs on The Kneeslider while I was traveling. I came across the Acer Aspire One 8.9 inch netbook computer, perfect for working in your hotel room, airports and anywhere in between and after using it for a few days, I can see this as the perfect computer for your tankbag. Yep, it’s that small. Like many of you, I have to get online often, no matter where I am and now you can pack a computer when you ride. I know, you ride to get away and all of that, but for those of us that need to stay connected with something more than a phone, this works.
The computer comes with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 Processor, 160GB hard drive, 1 GB RAM, Windows XP Home and lots of preloaded software, some you can ditch and use better alternatives or you can keep it as is and get a super easy netbook for Internet connectivity anywhere. There’s no CD or DVD drive, (where would it fit?) but you have 3 USB ports to plug in external drives if you want one, plus a memory card slot. It comes with a mini mouse which I found perfectly usable but I missed my normal mouse, but of course, we’re talking about extreme portability here.
It comes with wireless connectivity, naturally, but I used a Verizon USB broadband modem which did the job, not as fast as a regular connection, but definitely serves the purpose when traveling and no WiFi hotspots necessary. Internet everywhere, pretty cool.
I also bought the Mobile Edge MESSU1-8.9 Ultraportable Neoprene SlipSuit to protect it while not in use. It’s made out of the same material used in a wetsuit, it fits the netbook like a glove and you then just pack your computer away. There’s no room for the charger or mouse, it’s really a snug fit but the USB modem slides into the pocket just fine.
There are both 6 cell and 3 cell battery versions, I have the 6 cell which, depending on what you’re doing, yields 5 or 6 hours, maybe more, though your mileage may vary. Most of the 6 cells are out of stock, but the 3 cell version still gives your 2.5 hours and for most of you, that will work great.
If you check on Amazon, where I bought mine, the reviews are all very positive and some say it’s great for students and even anyone wanting a small form factor, personally, I wouldn’t want to use it all the time, the keyboard is smaller than normal but, again, very usable. I’m one of those guys with thumbs way too big for those tiny phone or Blackberry keypads, try entering text 3 letters at a time, you’ll see what I mean, but this worked great.
I’ve tried taking a full size notebook in a saddlebag or tailbag and you can do it but big notebooks don’t travel on motorcycles all that well, they consume precious space, battery life is short and you can’t lug it around everywhere when you’re at a race or other event, … well, you can, but it’s not fun. The Acer would slip into a backpack and it’s light, under 3 pounds, so carrying it doesn’t add to your load.
Colors, prices and availability seem to change almost daily, there’s probably another version coming, there’s always another version coming, I can’t keep up and unless you’re a real gadget geek it doesn’t matter, this one works great.
If you don’t need to keep connected when you’re riding, no problem, just move along, there’s nothing to see here. But if you’re like me and need the Internet for business, this is definitely worth a look. This could also allow you to take that ride when business might otherwise prevent you from heading out, not a bad thing. For a really compact traveling computer, I like it, I recommend it.