After considering some kind of internet tablet I realized that an inexpensive notebook is a much better buy than an underpowered $400 Linux device. I found some notebooks in the $400-$500 range at Fry’s made by Toshiba or Compaq. With 15.4″ screens, all of them were over six pounds which some reviewers considered heavy. So I went to notebook review where you can filter on price and weight. Surprisingly, there was a 5-pound(ish) Dell computer for $499. I had looked at Dell recently, but they didn’t even mention the Vostro line of notebook computers. Apparently the Vostro is a “small business” computer and Dell feels like consumers should buy more expensive Inspiron or XPS notebooks. Even better, the Vostro has free shipping right now. There is a still less expensive Vostro 1000 (I’m looking at the Vostro 1400), that starts at $399, but once you add in a few extras to make it roughly equivalent to the 1400 (the 1400 uses an Intel Celeron processor and the 1000 uses an AMD Sempron), the price difference was fairly small.
Since the democrats in Congress have decided that I should receive nearly the full $600 stimulus rebate, I thought I should go ahead and blow most of that on a laptop. Rather than wait for my check in May, I think I may pull the trigger on this deal this weekend. The nice thing about Dells is they are very popular among Linux hobbyists, so I may try setting up the computer to boot in Linux as an option.