This side of the millennium has spawned legions of "on the go" digerati who need their electronics to travel with them...and units that can offer the same computer features that we are use to having at home and in our offices. Netbooks are unique in their size, speed and functionality...and based on their light weight, they travel well. Whether you call them Netbooks, mini-laptops, or quasi-notebooks, these small, low-cost, low-power systems are the hottest thing to hit the electronics scene... since the first laptops!
These pint-size stripped-down devices are all the rage right now, and you may even be eyeing one for yourself. But before I present you with the research I have done to surface what I feel are the top ten netbooks out there, I thought it might be wise to weigh some of the pros and cons of buying another piece of electronic equipment.
- In the 24/7 world we live in, netbooks allow us to keep in touch and connected with our emails and the Internet.
- We can stay productive on the road, from note-taking to loading presentations to Skyping.
- They allow us to add a powerful tool to our arsenal, allowing us to stay competitive by keeping up with the pack.
- Doesn't the capabilities of a BlackBerry or iPhone serve the same purpose?
- Many netbooks do not come with disk drives or the memory and speed required by certain programs.
- There will always be a new must-have tech gadget; Are you just trying to keep up with the Joneses?
Well, now that you've weighed the PROs and CONs, let's take a look at the merchandise. Before I determined my TOP TEN list, I researched over 25 consumer websites, including Consumer Reports to isolate the brands that kept surfacing to the top of most of the online lists. In all instances, I matched up the pricing with the brand's websites and some online computer retail sites. And in all instances, I found Amazon's pricing to be better in every single case. So all the links to my TOP TEN here list will take you to an Amazon store page that will provide you with additional specs and features pertaining to the ten netbooks listed here.
1- Sony Vaio P Series Lifestyle
It's a beauty. Sleek, lightweight, and available in four colors, the Sony Vaio P Series Lifestyle PC is aimed more toward the consumer side since it comes loaded with Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium or Home Basic. But those fashion colors are nice, deep, and professional -- not teeny-bopper pink. The Sony Vaio P Series also boasts a 1.33-GHz Intel processor, an eight-hour battery life, an 8-inch LED backlit 1,600-by-768 display, a 60-GB hard drive, 128-GB SSD, 2 GB of RAM, and built-in GPS. The flip-side to all that? Its' almost $900 price tag is the highest priced netbook on my list.
* Price: $860 range
2- Acer Aspire One
A major complaint among laptop users is slow boot-up. The Aspire One from Acer boasts "instant on," with 15-second startup running Linux and 30 seconds for Windows users. And it has a Webcam mounted atop its 8.9-inch, 1,024-by-600 backlit LED display for vlogging and videoconferences. The Aspire One has a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor, three- to seven-hour battery life, 120-GB hard drive, 512-MB SDRAM, and SignalUp wireless technology.
* Priced from: $330 range
3- Asus Eee PC 901
The Eee PC 901 features shockproof computing, Wi-Fi 802.11n, and up to eight hours of battery life, with a six-cell battery pack. It's also the only 9-inch Asus netbook that is Bluetooth-enabled. The Eee PC 901 features an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1 GB of memory, and 20 GB of storage. And as is the norm with netbooks, it comes loaded with Windows or Linux. Asus is considered a founding member of the netbook revolution, but it's been slammed for its "chiclet" keyboard.
* Priced from: $280 range
4- HP Mini 1000 Mi
The Mi edition of the Mini 1000 comes with mobile Internet software built on Linux.Its dashboard-style interface lets you customize with your preferred Web sites, and it has a built-in Webcam. The Mini 1000 Mi edition features an Intel Atom processor, 1,024 MB of memory, a 60-GB hard drive, and 802.11b/g wireless. Its keyboard is 92% the size of an average keyboard for ease of use, and it features a three-cell lithium-ion battery. And instead of the netbook trend of being offered in a palette of colors, the Mini 1000 Mi edition comes with a swirl imprint designed for durability.
* Priced from: $280 range
5- HP Mini 2140
The HP Mini 2140 is what the company's Mini 1000 aspires to be when it grows up. It comes with Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive (which spins at 5400 rpm), a three-cell battery, and Windows XP. For an extra $30, you can bump up the configuration to include a six-cell battery.Overall, the Mini 2140 is a compelling package.
* Price from: $405 range
6- Dell Inspiron Mini 10
The latest member of Dell's Inspiron Mini line is the Inspiron Mini 10, and it bears a lot of the same characteristics as the Inspiron Mini 9. But the 10 is 2 inches longer than the 9 and has a larger keyboard - larger, even, than the Inspiron Mini 12's. The Inspiron Mini 10 has a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor and configurable features, including GPS, mobile broadband, and TV tuner options. There will be three-cell and six-cell battery options.
* Priced from: $350 range
7- Samsung NC10
It's not a bargain-priced netbook, but by spending a little more you can get an almost full-size keyboard, six-hour battery life, 160-GB hard drive, and a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 processor. It runs on Windows XP - no Linux option - has 1 GB of memory, and is Bluetooth-enabled.
* Priced from: $410 range
8- MSI Wind U100-432US
The netbooks from MSI Wind features a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 processor and a six-cell lithium-ion battery that runs up to five and a half hours. The U100-432US runs Windows XP Home Edition and is available in pink, but business functions include color options of black or white and a built-in Webcam for videoconferencing.
* Priced from: $380 range
9- Lenovo IdeaPad S10
Despite its "mini" status, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 houses some big-boy features. Among them are a roomy 10.2-inch, 1024-by-600-resolution display and a 5400-rpm, 160GB platter-based hard-disk drive, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU and 1 GB of RAM.
* Priced from: $350 range
10- Sylvania GNET28001SN Meso
It comes equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, an 80 GB hard drive, and 1 GB of RAM. Like the ASUS 900 series, it also has an integrated webcam, an 8.9 inch screen, 3 USB ports, a VGA output and built in wireless. It comes preloaded with Ubuntu Netbook and OpenOffice. It’s slightly heavier then the Asus PC 900, coming in at about 2.2 pounds.
* Priced from: $270 range
The netbook market is undergoing a lot of change at the moment. I am sure the market will grow significantly in the next half of 2009. However, presently this TOP TEN list includes models that sport Intel Atom processors, longer lasting batteries and larger screens. Performance between many of these systems still remains relatively similar because of the hardware limitations imposed on the manufacturers for the Windows XP licenses. Because of this, features such as price, battery life, keyboards and screens are much more important in what netbook might best fit your individual preferences. Happy Shopping!
If you have already purchased a netbook, please let us know what brand and your experience? Also take our Poll and vote for your best brand?