tomroyal.com

Computer Shop. Er..

Despite writing about computers from 10am to 6pm five days a week, and occasionally on weekends just for the hell of it (that and the money), I’m not a very keen computer purchaser. In fact, I’ve bought just one computer in the last six years and that – despite my working on a magazine called Computer Shopper, which specialised in hardware reviews, at the time – was purchased using the highly scientific “that one’s very cheap, we can afford it and it’ll suffice” method. Incidentally, it broke down completely about a year later, so I’d heartily recommend that everyone else should do as much research as possible, preferably using magazines that employ me. Ahem.

Lately, though, I’ve been mostly writing about netbooks – tiny little notebooks that use cheapo processors, and which are ideal for surfing the web and writing documents, if not much else. Ever since the first one (the Asus Eee PC 701) loomed on the horizon I’ve been a fan of the idea, particularly given that I’ve lugged some comically large notebooks in flight hand luggage. A little notebook that weighs nothing, takes up little room and won’t cost the earth to replace if (OK, when) I drop it would be great. Attempting to be the savvy buyer, though, I held off buying one for some time until I could find a netbook with both a low price and a really good keyboard.

Eventually, along came the Acer Aspire One. I was really rather taken – as Google will testify by its low price and lovely keyboard, and after much faffing I forked out £200 (which, interestingly, I’d earned by reviewing netbooks) at Play.com, getting in just before the price rose by another £30. So, I’ve purchased a perfect little computer at a bargain price using the power of research, for once. Clever, clever me, eh?

Well, er, no. Acer has been having trouble with the supply of the Aspire One, so it arrived a month late. And, when it did arrive, it was completely, utterly, inexplicably dead. Pushing the power button produced about half a second of life before it stuttered and died, and the battery (which I think is probably the cause of the problem) wouldn’t charge at all. So, after months of deliberation and plotting I’ve ended up with a £200 plastic paperweight. Not so clever.

A courier will hopefully take the One back to Play.com at some point today, and with luck I might have a working one next week. In the meantime, I’ve learnt the error of my ways: my next laptop for travelling will be a notepad and biro.

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