Thursday, December 23, 2010

One year with the Nokia Booklet 3G

It was a bit after midnight on December 21, 2009 that I noticed something on twitter. Some stranded tourists needed to find each other during their road trip in Australia. I followed the links and found the location of a gas station via a geo-tagged picture. As a reward, they sent me a Nokia Booklet 3G.

I got a black one!
N97 | My Booklet 3G

It arrived a couple of weeks later after some fun with customs and DHL. I was glad to find I got a sleek black unit. It's a pretty light machine and I love the 1280 by 720 screen resolution. Windows 7 Starter Edition was not very fun to use. The slow slow hard drive and 1GB of ram made things worse. While the keyboard was a joy to type on, it came with a Finnish keyboard. Lots of characters were in foreign places and the second alt key was needed often to get to the highly trafficked @ symbol.

I used my Booklet mainly for watching video. It is so light, I could lay in bed and have it rest on my chest. Being so small, it fit in my small day bag. The sim card slot came in handy often. I remember one time I was riding in a car and purchased tickets to a show that often sells out in 10 minutes.

Uhoh, euro keyboard
N97 | What is that squiggly thing in the upper left where the ~ normally is?

When I get new gadgets, I typically try to tinker with them. After checking the Nokia discussion boards, I found that the Booklet was easy to take apart. The keyboard and hard drive were easily replaceable. I made a post to see if any one would want to trade my Finnish keyboard for an American one. After a couple of days, I got a reply to do the exchange. It took a few weeks for my keyboard to get to Finland and for the replacement keyboard to arrive.

While I was waiting for the keyboard to arrive, I bought an SSD to replace the slow hard drive. It was really easy to remove the hard drive and putting the SSD in. It was pretty hard installing Windows 7. The Booklet's chipset doesn't support the TRIM function of the SSD I purchased. I had to make a bootable USB thumb drive and then loaded Windows Vista. Once installed, I made sure TRIM was disabled by fixing some things in the registry. I then made another bootable USB thumb drive with Windows 7. This process took a whole day. The SSD made a significant change in speed.

American keyboard! #booklet3g
N97 | Booklet 3G with US keyboard and SSD.

A year later and I have another netbook waiting for me at home, the CR-48 with Google Chrome. I'm looking forward to making a comparison of the two computers.

suggestions
ambient light sensor, backlit keyboard, upgradable ram, better video card,