In past events I used to travel with my (now) old but fairly robust IBM R50E. This 6.6lbs (2.5 kg) hog has 2.5-3 hours worth of (original) battery and with my 9cell secondary battery can do another 4-5 hours on a good day. Carrying and using it on long trips was never a whole lot of fun. Besides the weight its size (it has a 14” display) forced me to use a rather large carrying bag dedicated almost entirely to the laptop and preventing me from taking other accessories and equipment, such as cameras, in the same case. Using the R50E on a cramped plane is another experience I would rather forget. Putting the computer on the tray in front of me when it’s pulled backwards resulted in a need to change the angle of the display (which was far from optimal). Taking the laptop to the show itself wasn’t even an option (unless I was looking for a chiropractor).
At the end of the day my working style requires a machine capable of handling a large amount of multitasking including Office, Photoshop, and dozens of Firefox windows/tabs open at once. These things are essential to my day to day work on TFOT. For CES 2009 I decided to try and use a netbook to do this job. My netbook of choice (actually purchased from Amazon just a few weeks prior to CES) was the relatively new Samsung NC10. This cute little device is probably the best netbook on the market these days. With a very bright 10” LED based display (which can easily be turned all the way down during flights to preserve quite a bit of battery life), a very large and comfortable keyboard, 3 USB ports, 1GB of RAM (which could be replaced with a 2GB module), and of course Intel’s ATOM processor, this mini laptop weights less than half my old R50E but in many respects performs better (not too surprising when coming to think of it as the R50E is more than 4 years old).
Although I didn’t carry the NC10 to the CES floor every day I considered doing so a few times (something I would never image doing with the R50E in previous years). Eventually we just didn’t have enough time to work during the day so there wasn’t much point in carrying a laptop with us even if it did only add about 2 pounds. The biggest advantage of the NC10 was during the long flights from Israel to the U.S. (about 15-16 hours with one stop in the middle). Working on and off almost the entire flight back (and with only half an hour charge at JFK) I was able to keep the NC10 alive for the entire flight (brightness turned all the way down and WIFI turned off). To me this is the real achievement of netbooks like the NC10 (some companies claim an even longer battery life than the NC10).