Hidden amid overburdened UMPCs and unportable subnotebooks is what was once called the Handheld PC. This now-mythical beast turns on instantly, does most of the productivity stuff you want, and briefly ruled in the form of NEC’s MobilePro, a great writers’ tool that suffered from poor connectivity options and a wallet-rogering $900 price tag.
MSI’s Wind, like HP’s recent Mini-note and the rampaging Asus Eee, get close. However, they’re still insisting on filling these things with relatively power-hungry computer hardware and full-scale operating systems, which is a dreadful shame.
Now, we’re all Eee-lovers, for sure, but the horrors of Vista have made us all too happy to be running XP and similarly-configured builds of Linux. It builds an illusion; namely, that such things are lightweight, stripped-down tearaways. Well, they ain’t. I still hanker for an update of NEC’s old wonder.
Instant on? Check. A full day’s battery life? Check. Such conveniences seems but a dream to anyone who’s wrestled with the slow-booting, energy-hungry reality of the modern portable. Was it really so hard to live without internet? Was it really so hard to live with Windows CE?
Yes, yes it was! It was fucking horrible, is what it was. But the basic idea—a large but genuinely portable productivity clamshell with good connectivity and no pretensions above its station—is, I submit, a good one.