GIVE STEVE JOBS fair dues for pulling the spotlight onto technology that works. Although Jobs isn't the first to hold a lightweight, thin and robust laptop, the swooning crowds at the feet of Sir Steve ensure international coverage of whatever he's promoting. This week, it's a Macbook Air (€1,150) and it's cited as being truly thinnovative (Apple-speak--barf!). You're forgiven if you didn't notice equally lightweight (and much less expensive) Flash memory laptops like the Asus Eee PC701 (€318 through Expansys.ie) that we fondled here in Ireland. It's lighter, tougher and more energy-efficient than any other laptop I have owned. And it enjoys many of these attributes because it runs on solid state memory, not on hard drive storage. Anything that moves--like 7200 rpm hard drives--needs power and generates heat. That's not to say that the Macbook Air and the Eee PC701 are heat-free. Both generate warmth to the touch. They also weigh a lot less than any other laptop because there's no traditional hard drive, internal rubber bumpers and power cabling installed for the conventional set-up. If you don't need to carry around a rendering machine but want to manage internet activities, read Office documents and connect over webcam occasionally, you should consider the lightweight Flash drive laptops now offered by Apple, Asus, Lenovo and Sony. I think you will discover they are more practical when seated on an aircraft and they will last longer than a traditional laptop too.
Asus PC701 on my desk.