Saturday, May 29, 2010

Repair vs Replace Netbook

Last summer when, when I had to give up my company laptop,  we bought my Acer Inspire. When it was time to replace Trevor’s laptop as a graduation gift, we were impressed enough with my Acer that we bought a second one  for Ken so he could pass on his recently purchased, high-power, under-utilized laptop to Trevor.  If the Acer’s didn’t hold up, at under $300 a pop, we’d not be out that much.

Having two like computers also gives us the advantage of having swappable 6-cell batteries  (be sure if you buy a netbook to get the 6-cell battery option—we hear its huge difference in battery life over 3-cell).  Since GPS on the laptop really seems to suck battery this is great on long trips.  With like computers we can also share the peripherals like the add-on DVD/RW we purchased as well. We can also carry them with us when exploring in the toad without worry of running out of battery.  Since we still have at-home internet,  I’m currently being too frugal to drop another $60 a month for an air card.  Beside being a cheapskate, the other issue is the carrier.  I want a Verizon air card because of comparative breadth of coverage.  However, if you look at the Verizon maps you’ll see one small spot right at the center of the Mississippi River where there is no Verizon coverage.  That’s our hometown, Quincy, and is another reason I’m holding out on the air card since I’d like to ONLY pay for the aircard once we get it and currently it will not work at home. 

So, this means for the time being , when travelling, we like having small swappable netbooks that are easily transportable as we explore so we can jump on to free wifi  whenever it’s available.  I’ve been known to post my blog from the parking lot of a strip mall when need be and many times from McDonald’s or from campground offices!!  Since I learned to use Live Writer this is even easier since I can create the blogs with pictures loaded and simply click publish once I have an internet signal – no more than a few minutes of access required.  Also, when we don’t have wifi we use my Kindle for all the other internet access such as email access, blog reading, google searches (for nearby wifi sites, for example!!) and have found that coverage surprisingly reliable, just not set up to handle blog posting with photo downloads.

We use Co-Pilot Live GPS on Ken’s laptop.  It’s nice to have a large 10.1” screen for GPS that is still small enough to sit comfortably on the dashboard.  It also transfers easily to the jeep although I usually end up with it on my lap since jeeps don’t really have a place to sit the unit.

All that said, we are satisfied with our Acer decision. 

Unfortunately, only 1 week in to our 8 week trip, Ken’s laptop which contains our GPS system, was dropped and ended up with an ugly hole in the screen.  This made for some interesting GPS navigation!!


Lesson Learned: These spunky little pieces of tech are not indestructible. Don’t sit it on tiny little shelves where it can take nosedives.  

Ken teased  that his biggest problem with this cracked screen was not the GPS issue but that the hole seemed to be in exactly the wrong places for him to enjoy all his favorite porn sites.  I know he’s joking since, if that were the case,  Ken’s biggest problem would be that his wife is now retired and beside him 24/7, and so, I would be the one in all the wrong places for him to enjoy such sites!!

Seeing how much we were going over budget in certain key areas of our expenses, like the line items for eating out and the one for buying groceries/misc. (Walmart buys), I was really frustrated with the idea of needing to drop $300 on a laptop when this one was less than a year old.  And, there were other issues with replacing the netbook.  We really didn’t want to upgrade to Windows 7 which is now on almost every new laptop AND we weren’t looking forward to moving and reinstalling software on a new laptop when Ken had this one set up just as he wanted it.

To our rescue,  For less than $50 we could have a new screen delivered to our door.   Since my husband seems to be able to fix  just about anything that requires use of a screw driver, I figured, what the heck.

What made this even more interesting was that the screen arrived with absolutely no instructions included.  I don’t know why I would think that was an issue though since, as with most men, Ken usually isn’t real interested in those written directions!!

Long story short, Ken did a quick ‘disassemble’  and then a reverse assemble and we had a like new little Acer in about 10 minutes.


Lesson Learned: More often than not my common-sense, figure-it-out husband can save us money by fixing versus replacing.  It’s better on the pocketbook and the planet to make what we have last.



Hugs, C

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wes has the same talents. Isn't it great? I never worry about much as we are traveling because I know he can fix it or at least knows what is wrong so someone else can fix it without us being taken advantage of.