In preparation for our trip to Austin GDC on behalf of Ablegamers.com, I decided I needed some kind of connection to the Internetz while we talked to developers, gamers and fellow bloggers/podcasters. If I got a good response to a question about accessibility, I could blog about it, take the developers picture and record the celebration!
But, I didn't want to spend 1k on a laptop to just check emails, blog and update my Twitter. I wanted something tiny, something slightly more than an iPhone.
I heard quite a bit about Netbooks, but decided that most of the good deals were gone. Still, I would look into them and hope one day soon to have one. In the meanwhile, I would update things on the iPhone. Then, I happened into Radio Shack to look at blank CD's, and lo and behold there were a couple models available with a 2 year contract, something I knew would be involved. Each model ran basically 300 bucks (they used to be 400) but with the discount the Acer would be 99 and the Lenovo would be 59 bucks.
That's right, 60 bucks.
I signed up quicker than a jackrabbit on a date, and walked out of the door with a fully capable internet mini-book. The trip would be filled with the blog writing and updates that I dreamed of! When I brought it home, Leala about had my head. She wanted to help pick out any laptops, but I explained to her what this would be used for. The 3G network ran great, and the lil laptop ran ever better plugged into our network. She told me I could keep it "...if it ran WoW." So, I installed it and wouldn't you know it, the damn thing didn't run half bad!
The odd resolution choice of 1024x576 has put a damper on some of the game choices, but for internet blogging, video streaming (including streaming from out NetFlix account!), photo-taking and podcast editing, it is actually performing rather well! I am actually really impressed. You can read an updated review here.
So, minus all the fun stuff it does for browsing, editing and writing, it actually runs a few games pretty well. Granted, these were not made for gaming, but it does run some good enough to mess with. There seems to be a discrepancy with the screen size (the box says 1024x 600 while the PC says 1024x576, which is causing some games to error out) but other than that, I am loving this little 69 dollar toy.
WoW: Warcraft runs not bad at all, and since the screen is smaller the lower detail doesn't look half bad. We got 15 FPS outside and 30 inside! Pretty neat, but we will be loading Dalaran and other areas to see how good it runs in high-traffic areas. Remember, if it doesn't run WoW, I can't have it! :)
Fusion Fall: Testing this out tonight, bit it loaded and ran well before I had to get to bed. A browser based cartoon shooter.
Mabinogi: Errors, errors. Too bad, too. But I did hear that it didn't run well much at all anyway.
Wizard 101: The game errors out. I think it might be the minimum resolution thing, again. I will look into trading this model for the newer one (I think there is one) or for the Acer that has x600 res. I am going to ask the makers of Wizard 101, Kingsisle, what THEY think when I visit their studios on Friday! :)
Ikariam: A great browser based-turn based game that I reviewed recently. Of course it runs great, and will kill more time than the DMV.
Dofus: Checking this one out tonight. Being flash-based, it is supposed to run pretty good!
Free Realms: It runs, actually, but I had to squish things a bit. I messed with the screen settings and got it to run, but it is a bit laggy. The mini-games ran just fine. Not as pretty as it could be, but hell it's A NETBOOK.
FaunaSphere: A great flash-based browser game that I am reviewing. Runs great, looks really cute!
RuneScape: Runs half-OK, but not really that great. The browser games seem to have more issues than the games that run from the installed games. I wonder why that is? (Tech person anyone?)
Here is a list of games I will try and report back on. If you would (owener of Netbooks like me) download some of these and let me know!
EVE, Taikodom, Runes of Magic, Dream of Mirror Online, Ryzom....many others I can't think of right now.
So, I am going to put this lil guy through the paces this week at GDC. I am going to run it hard, and if it does pretty well, I am going to go get a second gig of RAM. I love how easy it is to replace/upgrade the ram and hard-drive, which is a brilliant move on Lenovo's part. Expect a vidcast to be put together when I do that.
Overall, worth the 60 bucks and even the contract. Since we will be getting a beefier gaming laptop next PC purchase, we can just use the anywhere-in-the-world plan we have for that machine. Also, this lil Lenovo runs off of wired or wire-less Internet, even without the plan. All in all, I am excited to be able to do everything I want to do while on the road. I expect many hours to be put on this thing.
Any other users out there (Shuttler!) let me know how yours does!
Now, see you at GDC!