Netbooks Are Really Dumb, Or Maybe You Already Knew That

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If you haven’t noticed already, Lev and I have been deeply entrenched in TIME’s annual end of the year Top 10 list hubbub. Not that I’m a veteran or anything seeing as how this is my first go-round. I’ve also been handling the tech packages that regularly run over at TIME.com that we lovingly place at the bottom of the TECHLAND homepage. I actually don’t mind doing these packages at all but I just wrapped up a netbook accessory feature and I found it to be one of the hardest things to do. Why?

Well, every accessory fills a void inherent with netbooks: no optical drive, not enough storage, cramped screens, small keyboards, etc. It’s not that I dislike netbooks, I just think they’re underpowered and most keyboards are way too tiny even for me. HP probably has the best netbooks because the keyboards are nearly full-sized, though. But the screen is cramped and I’d much rather lug around my 13- or 15-inch MacBook even when flying the friendly skies. I’m all for traveling as light as possible, but it’s nearly impossible to only take a netbook.

(More on Time.com: The 50 Best Inventions of 2009)

I’m obviously not the right demo for these pint-sized wannabe laptops, but I wonder who really is. We’re already hunched over our computers and laptops as is. I walked by a Starbucks in my neighborhood the other week and noticed a girl trying to show a friend something on her netbook. It looked painful. I have another friend who never uses her Vivienne Tam HP netbook. Even though I like my HP netbook, I never use it. Actually, I only use it to load music onto my Zune and to update my BlackBerry because I’m too lazy to install Windows on my Mac.

They’re not meant to replace desktops or laptops but what void are they filling? I need an optical drive. I need more than 128GB (or whatever they’re at now) of storage. I need a bigger screen. It just doesn’t make any sense. What am I supposed to do with one of these things? Who really uses them? I wouldn’t even use one if I could hackintosh it.

Thank you for listening. Feel free to counter any one of my points. I triple dog dare you.

More on Time.com:

Special Report: Which are the best netbooks?

Tech Buyer’s Guide 2009

Time.com’s Holiday Gift Guide 2009

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