Think you'll have to give up tons of functionality to gain the portability of a netbook? Think again. Just check out the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and become a believer. It's got plenty of power and capacity in a tiny package.
At a whisper-light 2 1/4 lbs you won't get tired carrying this minibook anywhere you want to go. And, with dimensions like 9" wide x 6.8" deep x 1.3" high, you can just tuck it in a pouch in your case and be on your way. Since the Dell Mini 9 has 802.11g Wi-Fi built-in you can connect to the Internet anywhere there's a hotspot.
You won't have to worry about not having enough power to run applications, either. The Dell features Intel's 1.6GHz Atom processor. While that sounds modest compared to contemporary CPUs on high-end laptops, it's nearly the equal of a top of the line model only a few years back.
There's ample storage for documents onboard, too. While extremely modest by comparison to the 320GB monsters that are now standard, the 8GB solid-state storage built-in is plenty for most people on the go. Remember that you can store nearly a thousand 1MB spreadsheets in 1GB. You can also upgrade to a 16GB SSD drive if you want. Up to 32GB SSD if you run Ubuntu Linux.
If you run up against that limit you can always turn to the SD slot to help out. With high capacity SD cards offering 16GB or more at super low prices, you won't run out of space any time soon. And, remember, with Dell's Box.Net online file storage feature, you can upload your documents to relive local storage constraints and back them up for safety.
While the Mini 9's 1GB memory capacity is small relative to the 4GB or more that current laptops offer, even that is plenty to run all your applications. Compare that, for example, to what you would have gotten on a desktop only a few years ago.
You can run the pre-installed Ubuntu Linux (a stellar operating system) and the entire Open Office application suite with no problem. The processor is plenty powerful enough to run Writer (like MS Word), Calc (the Excel counterpart), and all the other apps that are available for free. If you prefer to stick with MS Windows, you can do that, too. Windows XP runs just fine and you can download and install Microsoft Office over the web.
There are plenty of extra slots and features on the Dell Mini 9. It comes standard with three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA out port to connect a large monitor (the Mini has a nearly 10 inch screen already), and an Ethernet jack for wired Internet connectivity. It also can be configured for Bluetooth and a 1.3 megapixel Webcam. It also houses a 3-in-1 media card reader.
You shouldn't expect the speed, capacity, or configurability of the Dell Mini 9 to match the company's high-end Inspiron full-sized notebooks. But for a netbook that offers much more portability at a much lower price, you won't feel you've sacrificed functionality, either. It's a solid performer in a remarkable package offering Dell's well-deserved reputation for reliability.