What is it? This is a combination of a notebook and a netbook, giving users the performance of one and the mobility of the other. Features include the 4G LTE Mobile Broadband support (can also connect to Verizon's 3G EV-DO network where 4G isn't available), integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), a 320GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, Windows 7 OS (Home Premium), a built-in webcam, six-cell lithium-ion battery and an 11.6-inch LED screen.
Why it's cool: I'm not particularly a big fan of netbook devices, because what they give you in terms of portability you have to give up in performance, storage capacity and battery life. So the coolest part of the dm1 for me was the 4G LTE access. In my tests, I could get download speeds of 29.62Mbps in Framingham, Mass. (in the same area as a 4G cell tower), and average upload speeds of about 10.59Mbps. At my home near Worcester, Mass., I was able to achieve 28.10Mbps of download speeds on average, and about 8.23Mbps of upload speeds. For comparison, my home broadband speeds were a comparatively pathetic 4.85Mbps of download speeds, and 1.06Mbps of upload.
Some caveats: As with many netbooks, the keyboard is too small for my liking, and although an 11.6-inch screen may seem big, on a notebook it's not, especially when you're used to a 15- or 17-inch display notebook.
Grade: 3.5 stars.
Costs vs. benefits: The big decision with 4G LTE is whether the user's data usage will fall within the realms of the data plan. For access to the 4G network, Verizon offers 2GB of data for $30 per month, 5GB for $50 per month or 10GB for $80 per month. Verizon does a very good job at helping you estimate your data usage (calculator here), offers data usage monitor tools and will send alerts if you're getting close to your limits. Both devices also let you connect via Wi-Fi if you need it. The bottom line of 4G usefulness, then, comes down to access (is 4G the only option for on-the-road travelers?), as well as amount of time and data used by the end user. If the user can stay within those limits without worry, the gains in network speed are well worth it.
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