Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Options and Categories for Netbooks

There is no shortage of netbook models now. NewEgg alone has 65 choices. But which ones to buy? I have some suggestions.

1. Value Model on Sale

Price: $200 to $260
Availability: Now when on sale
A 9" or 10" model (if 10", it will have a 10" keyboard but most likely a 9" screen) with the Intel Atom N270 CPU. Most likely 1GB, but if it has 512MB, you typically can easily upgrade. May come with XP or With Linux. Either a Solid State Drive (usually very fast like Dell's are, but avoid the acer SSDs) at 8 GB or 16GB, or an 80GB to 160GB HDD. 3 or 4 cell battery.
Good Examples:
1. This rebranded Dell Mini 9
2. This acer
How to find: Follow dealigg, show all deals

2. Basic Model

Price: ~$300
Availability: Now
A 9" or 10" model (if 10" phsyically/keyboard-wise, it will have either a 10" or 9" screen) with the Intel Atom N270 CPU. 1 GB RAM. Comes with XP. Has a hard drive, 120 to 160 GB. 3 to 6 cell battery.
Good Examples.
1. This Asus 9" model with a 4-cell battery.
2. This MSI 10" model with a 3-cell battery
3. This Asus 9"-screen/10"-keyboard with a 6-cell battery
How to find: Any Online Store (especially newegg) May be able to find a deal on

3. Slightly-Upscale Well Rounded

Price: ~$350 (on sale), $390 (regularly)
Availability: now
There really is only one model for this category due to it's amazing battery life, faster Intel Atom N280 CPU, and all around quality. This is the Asus 1000HE. It is a 10" model. 1 GB RAM. XP. 160GB. 6-cell battery. Upgraded 802.11n wi-fi
Everyday Link:
Sale Link:
How to find: any online store, or find it on sale on (search for 1000HE)

4. Larger and/or Thinner Model

Price: $500 to $700
Availability: Coming out now
These tend to vary more. They can have other processors, such as a faster Intel core solo or the Via Nano. 10" to 12" screen. Often very thin and light, such as the macbook air. Assume XP, 1 GB RAM or 2, 160GB, and who knows what for the battery. Likely to have upgraded 802.11n wi-fi.
Example Link:
1. Samsung VIA 12" model:
2. Asus Super-Thin and a little-bit light: 10" model:
How to find: Many online stores

5. Nvidia Ion Netbooks with great graphics.

Price: $500 to $550
Availability: June
The highlight of these models is the Nvidia Ion graphics processor. It does not use up much more power, yet it enables 1080P video playback (when run properly) and far better 3d game performance. Games will be far more likely to not run because of the CPU rather (roughly a 2.0 ghz pentium-4 equivalent) than the GPU (graphics). Intel Atom CPU, prefer the Atom N280. 1 GB of RAM or 2. 10" to 12" size. 160GB HD, or larger if not using XP (getting XP at all and for cheap means max 160GB.) Likely a 6-cell battery. Likely to have upgraded 802.11n wi-fi.
How to find: follow and

6. ARM Netbook
Price: $250 to $200
Availability: June at the earliest
These are models based around ARM Processors/Systems-On-A-Chip. This ARM architecture enables them to be very low-power, thin, light, and even fanless. However, ARM can only run Linux (and android before too long) and not Windows. They will have a less powerful CPU and probably less RAM, but make up for it by being able to decode 720P video. Expect 7" to 10" screen sizes and flash memory.

Personally, I'm looking for a 10" Ion netbook for gaming. That 12" Lenovo is too large and heavy.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of good options right now.

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