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Best NetBook Buys

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Looking to buy a portable netbook? We look at the top five in this category

The netbook battle just a got a lot more competitive as now all the major PC manufacturers have got an ultra-portable Internet machine in their lineup.

For those not in the know, Netbooks are ultra-small laptop devices meant to be highly portable and for accessing the Internet and email on the go.

If you’re looking to buy a netbook anytime soon then here are a few pointers:

Asus EEE PC

The original. The Asus EEE PC kick-started the netbook phenomenon when it emerged – almost out of the blue – a year ago. The diminutive EEE 701-based PC is seriously small and looks a lot like a kids toy. The upside is that it is easy to carry.

The downside is the keyboard which is tiny and hard to use for prolonged periods. It’s tiny 7-inch screen is not unusable but is cramped.

The smallest Asus EEE PC costs around R3 900 and comes with Windows or Linux. The tiny 4GB or 8GB drive is a consideration when buying the EEE PC. Unless your data is stored on the Internet you’re going to be lugging around an external hard drive to store enough information to get your work done.

Acer Aspire One

The first impression of the Acer Aspire One is that it looks good. Compared with the Asus EEE PC, the One has a better screen at 8.9 inches and the closest thing to a full-sized keyboard in the netbook market. The glossy case also marks the Aspire One as a serious contender.

On the downside the Linpus Linux operating system has been slammed repeatedly by reviewers for its quality. The Windows XP version might be a better choice unless you’re planning to spend a few hours hacking a version of Ubuntu to work on the One.

On the upside, the Aspire One runs on an Atom 1.6GHz processor which means it is not underpowered. It also has a decent 1024X600 resolution screen which means you’re not constantly scrolling to see the rest of your webpage. The Aspire One costs around R4 600 and is available with Linux and an 8GB flash drive or the Windows XP version with an 80GB hard disk.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Dell’s Mini 9 is the newest entrant to the market and, like the Aspire One, it looks the part. It also ships with Ubuntu Linux which is very promising.

The Mini 9 netbook sports an 8.9-inch screen with a decent 1024×600 pixel resolution which is pretty much the minimum you want to go for. To keep weight and power consumption down the Mini 9 includes a solid state drive of between 4GB and 16GB which means you’ll need an external drive for serious data storage.

The Dell Mini also uses the Atom 1.6GHz processor so again it will get work done without being bogged down by workload. The Dell is launching at $349 (around R2 800) in the US this week but no details of local pricing are yet available.

HP Mininote 2133

The HP MiniNote 2133 is the most impressive looking of the lot with its brushed aluminum casing – even the keys are aluminium – and its 120GB hard drive which is great for storage but not for battery life. The MiniNote also uses Windows Vista as its operating system which slows the machine down. The Via C7 processor running at up to 1.6GHz is probably not the best choice, especially with Windows Vista sucking the 2133’s life forces.

The 8.9-inch 1280×768 screen is the best of the lot and crams a huge amount into a tiny space. Pricing for the HP Mininote 2133 is expected to be around R4 000 to R4 500.

Others to watch out for

Lenovo, which took over IBM’s PC business, also has a netbook, called the Ideapad. As makers of the fantastic ThinkPad range of notebooks, Lenovo’s IdeaPad is worth a look. Lenovo has not announced a launch date for the IdeaPad in South Africa yet. When it does arrive it will likely ship with a choice of 4GB flash drive or an 80GB hard drive and aim for the mid-R4 000 range sweet spot.

Artical from My Broadband

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Written by techran

September 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Industry News

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