is that just an external drive without the drive in it? You fit your own afterwards?
That is a yes for both questions.

Our caddy mounts in the computer case and you can swap HDDS.

eSATA is setup native on this laptop and using a 3 TB USB 3.0 GoFlex desk external drive, it took me about 2 hours to transfer 84 GB today. Guess what has USB 2.0 native.
This will now be my travel backup drive and the eSATA will be my storage swap setup.
Yes, I store off site. And the new rigs, will get a couple new desktops, will build or have custom built, Will have both eSATA and USB 3.0.
The 500 GB hdd in this laptop is a tad small as the better half snaps a lot of piccys when we travel by car.

That netbook would be faster starting up, opening programs, folders and the like with a SSD. Probably much faster. Most netbooks I have got a hold of have about a 5200 RPM hdd in them. Hit a old acer that had a 4200 in it that was replaced with a 5200/5400 and it made a nice see able difference. Just realized the old Quantum 5.25 8.4 AT I have probably out weights the netbook.