Monday, 27 July 2009

Netbook Dilemma

I am still slightly perplexed with the issue concerning wi-fi connectivity, the mobile broadband and netbook computers.

It is a complex matter, for me at least. I can imagine how many inexperienced - or naive - people are sold laptops only to discover that getting mobile broadband is not quite as straightforward as they thought!

Indeed, it is true that I could get mobile broadband via BT's Openzone hot-spots. I have Option One, so I believe I am entitled to 250 free wi-fi minutes per month.

However, in order to enable mobile broadband outside these hot-spots I'd need to buy a dongle. These are small, marker-pen sized modem-type contraptions sold by the big mobile phone companies. According to OFCOM's 3g coverage map, the Three Company has currently the best coverage in Northern Ireland.

I am loath to become involved with contracts, so a pay-as-you-go dongle from Three would seem the preferred option. The snag, for me, is that their dongles have expiry times of one month or three months with PAYG. Vodafone sell a dongle without this condition; however Vodafone's coverage in the Province for 3g is not brilliant presently. Alan In Belfast posted a good piece about this recently.

Regarding the netbook, I like the little Acer Aspire One in sapphire blue. I could buy a brand new one in white for £150; but the snag is that it a has a Linux operating system. To buy an Acer with Windows would cost a lot more, perhaps £70 more! The Three Company states that their dongles operate with Windows or Mac based systems.

A third way for me would be to buy a refurbished netbook, with a warranty, on Ebay; or at my local shop at Belmont. I could buy a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 that way (or an Acer).


belfast cabby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Timothy Belmont said...

Sorry, Belfast Cabby! It has taken it upon itself to delete your comment! I didn't do it, honest!

Here it is:

belfast cabby has left a new comment on your post "Netbook Dilemma":

You would not need a dongle to connect to bt openzone as they are wifi routers sited in bt callboxes and your net book should have a wifi adapter built in.

You would need a dongle for 3s mobile broadband which connects via the mobile phone network.

I would just stick with the bt free minutes as there callboxes are everywhere.

Posted by belfast cabby to Lord Belmont In Northern Ireland at 27 July 2009 17:32

John Ferris said...

Tim why don't you keep an eye out on Dell's refurb store - same guarantee as brand new and a lot cheaper. These things are never as complicated as you think... even better get an iPhone.

Timothy Belmont said...

John, I've just bought a wee Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook with Windows XP.

Yet another toy... :-)

Cheers Tim