The $200 Laptop (Jan 2016)

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When I design, I get user feedback with a technique I call Beta Fish. I make designs and then show them to prospective customers. They give me feedback and help me understand the nuances of the use cases.  I do this by powering up Gotomeeting and screen-sharing my designs. I usually turn on video conference. (It’s not a revolutionary technique, I admit)

So here is the catch, my current expensive Dell XPS 13 fancy pants laptop crashes every time I try to share my screen. Can you believe that? It’s driving me crazy. I think it’s a driver issue, most likely the Intel HD 520 graphics chip. I am waiting for a new version.

In the meantime, I need to still talk to Beta Fish. So I decided (after much angst) to get a cheap laptop that can do what I want. What I found was the Lenovo 100S. Here are the specs:

  • $179 (Best Buy)
  • Intel Atom Z3735F Processor (1.33GHz 1333MHz 2MB)
  • 32 G HHD (Holy crap that is small)
  • 2 G Ram
  • 11.6″ HD LED Glossy (1366×768)

Although it’s a bit flimsy, it’s light and it works. The keyboard is kind of a trampoline, but I am not writing a novel on it.

I installed the raw basics:

  • Powerpoint, Excel and Word viewers
  • Chrome
  • Windows 10 updates (lots of them)
  • Malwarebytes Anti-virus
  • Gotomeeting

I tested it and it works. I can video conference and screenshare from it without issue. I have used approximately 50% of the hard drive, so I can’t really expect to install more software. In reality, this is sort of like a laptop/tablet hybrid. For $200, it surpasses my expectations of what a tablet could do. Imagine what $200 will buy you in a few years? Things keep getting smaller and better.



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