Do you need an inexpensive ultraportable laptop?

Is your laptop getting too heavy (and hot) for your lap? Palm and ASUS have announced new ultraportable laptops that are very light and relatively inexpensive (under US$500) but you may be underwhelmed by the performance.

Is your laptop getting too heavy (and hot) for your lap? Palm and ASUS have announced new ultraportable laptops that are very light and relatively inexpensive (under US$500) but you may be underwhelmed by the performance.

Palm Foleo: This is a 1.13 kg laptop PC with a 10-inch display, WiFi and Bluetooth. It doesn't run Windows but you can use the Opera browser to surf the web or Outlook Mobile to access your email. More details here.

ASUS Eee: This is a 0.89 kg laptop PC with a 7-inch display and WiFi but no Bluetooth. Unlike the Palm Foleo, the ASUS Eee is compatible with Windows XP. More details here.

Both ultraportables use flash-based storage rather than conventional hard disks to conserve power. They use slower CPUs so you probably won't be able to play videos properly.

Should you be using a Foleo or Eee instead of a regular laptop? If you only need to surf the web and access your email then they are probably good enough for you. However the capabilities for editing email attachments (like Word, Excel and PowerPoint) are questionable. We can probably expect some enterprises to issue these ultraportables to mobile employees instead of the regular laptops because these new machines are so much cheaper.

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