Well, it looks like I'll be getting a new laptop after all, despite everything I went through recently to get my Averatec back into good working order. That's okay -- the Averatec will make a fine backup computer for some time still. It probably would have been a fine main computer for a while still, too, but I can't help it -- I found and fell in love with the looks and light weight of a Samsung Series 9. The best part is that since it is a slightly older machine (came out in 2011), I get a computer that is still brand new BUT it runs Windows 7, so I won't have to upgrade my software yet. (I have a lot of old software, such as MS Office 2000 and Photoshop 7.0, as well as an older scanner and printer, but it appears that most everything runs on Windows 7 with the occasional workaround.)
The things that sold me on getting this computer, even after I was so set on keeping my Averatec forever (or at least as close to forever as it would last):
* The small size: The screen is 11.6", an inch bigger than my Averatec, but not so big that it will feel huge on my lap. I don't like large screens for that reason. But the computer is also very thin and insanely light -- 2.3 pounds. That is nearly a pound lighter than my Averatec -- if I remember correctly it was rated at just over 3. The downside is that I won't have the optical drive anymore -- one of the biggest reasons why I was hanging on to the Averatec is that they no longer make laptops this size with optical drives -- but I guess at that weight, I can find a slim, ultra portable one to carry in my laptop case.
* The matte screen: Another thing that is next to impossible to find on laptops, and I don't understand why. My Averatec has a matte screen instead of a glossy one, and I love that there aren't any reflections on it. It enables you to turn the brightness down quite a bit and conserve battery power without making it hard to see your screen. I chose my netbook, an Asus Eee, because it also had a matte screen (although as it turned out, it also had a super annoying shift key placement). Strange that more companies don't make laptops with matte screens.
* The battery life: The manufacturer rates this little computer at 7 hours of battery life, and most reviews say they get around 6 when conserving power (because of course you never get what the manufacturer claims). That's a heck of a lot better than the 2 to 2 1/2 hours I get out of the Averatec. I'm really looking forward to that, especially come NaNoWriMo!
* The solid state hard drive: I've wanted one of these for a while, so I am really looking forward to this part in particular, especially with the lightening-fast (from what I've heard) boot-up times. Should be very, very nice. It's not really any bigger than the drive on my Averatec, so I'll still have to be careful about not overloading the drive, but that's okay. The processor is also faster than what I've been using, so I'm looking forward to the speed there as well.
I had been thinking of getting Scrivener on the iPad when it comes out (hopefully this fall), buying a keyboard, and writing on the iPad more (especially when taking my writing with me, such as to NaNo write-ins and my writers group meetings), but this is a much nicer solution for my tastes. I've seen some complaints here and there about the computer, but it sounds like for what I want it -- writing and Internet, primarily -- it will be just fine. There are some conflicting reviews as to whether or not the wifi is strong enough, so we will see when mine arrives. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this turns out to be a good little machine for me!