21 months ago, I bought the new on the scene Asus Eee 701. Netbooks were just starting to make a splash, and I was very happy at the time with my new toy. Fast-forward to now, and it is still a cool device but it has its downsides. For one, the keyboard hasn't gotten magically bigger, so it can be challenging to do any sort of extensive typing on the thing. The screen is also smaller than I would like, and it is a bit underpowered.

Obviously two years in the computer hardware industry can bring about a lot of change and competition, so I decided it was time for an upgrade. After looking around for a while, I decided to get something right at the netbook/subnotebook boundry and pick up an HP Mini 311. It fits the criteria I was looking for- a bigger screen, powerful enough to do some real work on, still quite portable, and good to great battery life.

The base model runs for $399, but I went for some of the upgrades to get the netbook/laptop I wanted, bringing the total closer to $550. I went with 3GB of RAM, the better processor, a 250GB hard drive, and gasp Windows 7. I'm actually looking forward to the OS and trying it out to see how it performs; I've heard a lot of good things so far regarding Windows 7. We'll see how long it takes before I think about dual booting the thing.

The only real drawback over the Eee is that I didn't go with a solid-state drive; the upgrade to that was more expensive than I was willing to go for, and the advantages didn't seem significant. It should arrive in about a week, and I'm sure I'll write up another article once I've played around with it for a bit. Until it comes, the Eee will have to keep me entertained over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break.