Specifications

SCREEN: 8.9 inch WSVGA 1024x600

PROCESSOR: 1.6GHz Intel Atom

MEMORY: 512MB (1024MB available) OPERATING SYSTEM: Ubuntu Linux (Windows XP

Home Edition available)

STORAGE: 4GB SSD (up to 16GB available)

DIMENSIONS: 232 x27.2 x172mm

WEIGHT: 1035g inc.4 cell battery

Personally, I now use a compact convertible tablet/notebook, the HP Pavilion tx2130ea. Mine is only eight months old, but it's already superseded by the visually similar tx2-1015ea. They have a 12.1 in touch and pen-sensitive screen (mine's a pressure-sensitive Wacom pen implementation), weigh 2kg, and are considerably more stowable than a typical 15.4in laptop. A fully fledged AMD Turion X2 Dual Core processor means there is no lack of computing power, but battery life can't match most Netbooks. A CD/DVD writer drive is built in, too. At £800, a HP tx2 is more than double a high-spec Netbook. If a touchscreen isn't for you, there are a number of other sub-notebooks with 12-13in screens that can do most of the tasks you'd expect of a 15in laptop, but in a smaller and lighter package.

Viewers are an ideal approach to mass storage and backup of files and photos. The P7000 is, on the face of it a 160GB storage device with 4in LCD screen. However, it amounts to oh so much more: that 4in Photo Fine Premia LCD screen has a wide gamut for detailed colour reproduction when assessing your images and the ability to view from a wide range of angles; it's far better than the display on most monitors. Importing direct from camera, Compact Flash or SD cards is a doddle - there are direct slots on the device itself. There's the ability to rate, flag and organise photos too. On-board software also allows for the creation of slideshows in the palm of your hand. It's all very swanky, but does come at a premium - the P7000 will set you back around £500.

PHOTOSHOP ON A NETBOOK?

Most Windows Netbooks should be able to run Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. The main limiting factor may be storage, as up to 1.5GB of space is eaten up simply by installing the software. A 1GB of system RAM and a 2GHz processor is recommended, but in reality you can get away with slower CPUs. It's not going to be easy editing with an 8.9in screen, but with around 1200 horizontal pixels to play with, even if those pixels are small, it's not impossible. Of course, you can connect an external monitor, and even an external keyboard to gain yourself a more comfortable working environment when you aren't on the move. Photoshop CS4 has similar minimum hardware requirements, excepting some 3D accelerated graphics compatibility for some rendering functions.

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