Unfortunately, at the time of writing it is impossible to get a new netbook for under $100. All of the netbooks being released these days fall in the $200+ range, meaning you’ll have to fork over some extra cash if you’re really dying to have a netbook.
Due to their popularity and relatively high cost to manufacture, netbooks have nestled themselves in a comfortable price point of between $200 and $300. For around $250 you can grab yourself a nice netbook that will compete with all of the other brands with relative ease. Below you’ll find my recommendations for the best netbooks in the price range mentioned if you’re willing to spend a little extra cash and get something worthwhile.
I Really Want a $100 Netbook
If you’re not a stickler for the newest technology and are willing to buy things used from other users, then eBay may be a great option to consider. Since netbooks have been around for a few years already, many of them have become antiquated and cheaply priced on sites like eBay.
At the time of writing, I found an original Asus 701 for sale on eBay for about $75. And with subsequent generations of the Asus netbook lineup coming out shortly after the 701, if you’re willing to go through a bidding war with others to get a sub-$100 netbook, you can definitely find newer versions as well that are within your price criteria.
Another option to try is Craigslist. You may not be too comfortable buying a computer from your neighbor or from someone across town, but chances are they’re computer users just like you. People needing fast cash often sell their electronics first, so if you stay on the lookout for netbooks on Craigslist, you can nab some great deals.
The fact still remains though: If you want an up to date netbook for less than $100, you’re not going to be able to find one. Until companies can find a way to mass produce cheap laptops, the hopes of getting a portable powerhouse for the cost of a fun Friday night right now are zero.
Because you can’t actually buy a netbook for less than $100, the next best option is to spend the extra money and get something worthwhile. Most netbooks fit into the price range of $250-$300. While you could go overboard and buy an extravagant machine that has all of the bells and whistles of modern computing, chances are the extra $50 or $100 you spend on extra features can be put to better use buying some extra RAM for your cheaper machine. The increase in speed will make your cheap netbook feel like a full fledged laptop.
The option that I usually jump straight to when people ask which netbook they should buy is the Dell Mini. It’s not that the Dell Mini has any special features that other netbooks have out of the box, so it doesn’t have an inherent advantage. Other than….Mac OSX. While it’s questionably legal in some people’s eyes, the Dell Mini has gained a reputation for being the best computer to use to build what’s known as a Hackintosh computer, or a laptop with Apple approved products running OSX. If you’re a tinkerer, the Mini is for you.
- Intel Atom N455 Processor (1.66GHz, 512KB Cache)
- 1GB DDR3 Memory at 667MHz (1x1GB)
- 250GB Hard Drive; Wireless-N Mini-Card
- 10.1″ Widescreen Display; Intel GMA 3150 Graphics
- Genuine Windows 7 Starter; 6-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Asus EEE PC
The tried and tested powerhouse of the netbook industry is going to get another feature spot by me. I’ve been a fan of this line of netbooks since their first installment of the Asus 701. Not only does it keep up with other contenders in the cheap netbook arena in terms of technical specifications, it also excels by way of price as well. If you’re clever about where you shop, in some cases you can get the EEE PC for as little as $230. Asus is a reputable company with a solid name behind them. And with a warranty even on the battery, Asus has got your back with this little workhorse.
- Intel Atom N455 (1.66GHz)
- 1 GB DDR3 SODIMM memory, Max Capacity 2 GB
- 250GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM); No optical drive
- 10.1-inch Matte 1024X600 WSVGA LED Display; 802.11 b/g/n; 0.3MPWebcam; 2-in-1 Card Reader MMC/SD(SDHC)
- Up to 4 Hours of Battery Life; Windows 7 Starter Operating System
Worth the Extra Cash
Since we didn’t really give you any solid advice on where to get a sub-$100 netbook (they don’t exist!), is buying a netbook at full price really worth it?
I get asked by friends and colleagues regularly if it’s tough to work on my netbook. The answer is no. Not having to carry a large laptop to work every morning has been life changing and my shoulder thanks my netbook each morning on the way to work. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you actually need a netbook or would benefit from having a much smaller computer to work from, ask yourself this.
“Do I need to do more than basic tasks like email and document creation?”
While the question may be slightly different for everyone, the premise is still the same. If you don’t need a high powered computer but only want something to do the basics as you’re away from your desktop, they’re a great buy. But if you’re looking to replace your desktop or laptop with something else, you’re going to have to look beyond the sub-$100 range to find something worthwhile that’ll be able to handle your computing tasks.