Last year I bought a HP Compaq 702ea netbook from eBuyer for my coast to coast road trip across the USA in September. I got it on special offer for £199.99 which I thought was a bit of a bargain. It worked really well and was very easy to carry around and use in the back of the car when I had some spare time.
However, it came with XP Pro pre-installed and although that ran ok (more expensive versions had Vista on there I believe), it was still a bit sluggish. As time has gone by and I’ve installed more rubbish on there its slowly started grinding to a halt, and been thrown on the floor a couple of time as a result.
A few people had advised that I go for Windows 7 on there, so I saved all my stuff onto USB stick and decided to give it a whirl. Obviously my netbook has no CD-ROM so I had to use my SATA/IDE to USB adaptor (only a few quid off eBay, although I’m on my 4th one now as I have a nasty habit of blowing them up) and then used an IDE CD-ROM from and old PC to install the Windows 7 Ultimate N. This all ran fine and the installation was a doddle. Best of all, there was not one single driver issue, it picked up the Wired LAN and Wireless LAN, the Display and the Bluetooth adaptors and just got on with it without asking me any pointless questions.
All in all I’m very happy. The boot time is very quick and the hibernate and sleep times are pretty quick too. I generally only use my netbook to surf the internet and check emails in front of the TV. If I need to do any development I tend to use my PC upstairs with a full on keyboard, mouse and 2 large displays.
Anyway, if you have a 702ea and you are running Windows XP Pro, I strongly advise that you run Windows 7 on there instead!
I had toyed with running Google’s Chromium on there, but might wait for the bugs to be ironed out before I give this a go. I’m also half tempted to go for a solid state hard drive as these have come down in price quite a bit recently and should improve performance and battery life.