Netbook Buying Advice

Choosing which netbook to buy is easier than picking out a suitable mainstream laptop. This is because your options are quite limited – most netbooks are equipped with the same hardware: one 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, GMA 950 graphics, and 1GB of RAM. There are some occasional variations to the recipe, but the basics of a netbook are essentially the same ? they are less powerful than a mainstream laptop but also very affordable and highly portable.

  1. Lenovo IdeaPad S10

    Review by Jesper Berg

    Lenovo IdeaPad S10 - imageChoosing a netbook that suits you often comes down to aesthetics, and by that measure the Lenovo S10 has a lot of things going for it. It’s possibly one of the best-looking netbooks around. It has a 10.2-inch LED backlit screen and comes in five different colors – red, blue, pink, black and white like our review model. Read more

  2. Dell Mini 9

    Review by Henrik Stigell

    Dell Mini 9 - imageBy now Dell has a full range of netbooks in sizes 9″, 10″, and oddly a 12″ model, of which we?re looking at the smallest 9-incher here. Read more

  3. ASUS Eee PC 1000HE

    Review by Henrik Stigell

    ASUS Eee PC 1000HE  - imageThe Eee PC has a slightly faster Atom processor and a faster FSB compared to the previous models. While this is not enough for anyone to upgrade, it could certainly attract first-time netbook buyers. Read more

  4. Acer Aspire One

    Review by

    Acer Aspire One - imageOf all the netbooks released in the last few months, the Acer Aspire One is probably the most popular. It’s fitted with more or less the same components as nearly all other netbooks, but comes with a somewhat lower price tag. Read more

  5. Asus Eee PC 701

    Review by

    Asus Eee PC 701  - imageTodd Gold catches up with an internet entrepreneur who makes a 6 figure income from the comfort of a white sandy beach in Belize. His tools? A hammock and an Asus Eee laptop. Read more

A majority of netbooks are delivered with Windows XP Home as the operating system, although certain models come with Linux. You will also find a few netbooks preloaded with Windows Vista, which is something we definitely advise against due to the steep hardware requirements associated with Vista. Stick with Linux or XP.

If you plan to use a netbook as your primary computer, you should know that they are not as capable as a full-size and more expensive regular laptop. For the time being, you can rule out playing modern games on a netbook for example, or using it to watch HD video. All this might change eventually as netbooks become more powerful, but for now they are intended for “light” computer use such as browsing the Internet and doing basic office work. That is not to say you can?t use it as your primary computer, but it’s something you should know before you buy one. Read more about specific netbook models in our full reviews.

Netbook History

The original 7-inch Eee PC from ASUS is responsible for the incredible popularity of the netbook today, but the company can’t claim credit for inventing the concept. Instead the whole idea came from the OLPC (One Laptop per Child) project – an initiative to develop low-cost, low-end computers for school children in developing countries.

Although the project’s XO-1 laptop was never intended for consumers, the demand was there – a fact clearly demonstrated by the failure to meet demand in a “give one-get one” promotion. When the Taiwanese manufacturer ASUS made available its affordable, small and low-powered Eee PC 701 for consumers in 2007, the ball was set in motion and it didn’t take long for other laptop manufacturers to follow suit and develop their own version of the mini-notebook.