Netbook Comparison – Top 10 Reviewed

So, I decided to take on this huge undertaking of doing a netbook comparison article to put the best known netbooks on the market today and put them head to head in battle (not really, but it sounds cooler that way) to see which ones live up to their reputation and which ones fall by the way side. It’s usually difficult to try and find the diamonds in the rough in the netbook market, as companies tend to put out more options than any sane man could ever find his way through.

This guide is a no-bullshit approach to the netbooks that are out there in hopes that when you hop online to buy your first or next netbook that you’re better informed about what all of the numbers and features mean and if they’re really worth your time or money. So, without further adieu, let’s hop right into our netbook comparison.

Top 10 Netbooks Reviewed

1 Toshiba NB505
2 Asus EEE PC 1001
3 Acer Aspire One
4 Dell_Inspiron_Mini
5 Samsung NF310
6 HP Mini
7 Asus_1215N
8 Asus EEE PC 1015PN
9 Samsung NC110
10 Lenovo IdeaPad

What We’re Looking For

Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone with what they’d want in their personal computer. Some people may want something that they can game with and others may just want something to bring back and forth to the office. The one common denominator between all consumers though is their desire for quality. There are a lot of poorly made netbooks out there these days and it’s easy to get sucked into the “features war” where companies keep adding webcams, bigger keys, and colorful trim to try and attract customers to buy their product.

I’d like to strip all of that away and focus on whether or not each computer is worthwhile, regardless of who it’s best suited for, gamer or office rep, and see what’s really beneath each plastic shell. So, join me as we look at the top 10 best selling netbooks available today and why they’ve reached those ranks, webcams or not.

The Netbooks

Toshiba NB505:

Topping almost all bestsellers lists around, the NB505 truly is a force to be reckoned with. Considering the sub-$300 price point, this machine is the perfect blend of beauty and functionality. The NB505 may not be the most feature-laden machine around, but as I’ve said in previous reviews of the machine, that’s what makes it so great. It comes with a 1.6GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, which is nothing out of the ordinary in the netbook world. The 1.4 inch thickness and less than 3 pounds weight rating makes this a breeze to carry around and throw in a backpack. Why has this machine become so popular? It’s because it doesn’t try and pretend that it’s something that it’s not. No extras or “bonuses” make it likable and easy to use, compared to competitors that throw in useless software and care packages that only end up bogging you down and prevent you from actually computing.

  • Intel Atom processor N455 1.66 GHz, 512KB L2 Cache
  • Configured with 1GB DDR2 (works at 667MHz, max 2GB)
  • 250GB (5400 RPM) Serial ATA hard disk drive
  • 10.1? diagonal widescreen TruBrite display at 1024 x 600 native resolution (WSVGA) with a 16:9 aspect ratio and LED backlite
  • Genuine Windows 7 Starter 32-bit with a 6 cell/48Wh Lithium Ion battery pack; Battery Life (measured by MobileMark 2007): 8 hours, 21 minutes

Asus EEE PC 1001:

The EEE PC has been around the block a few times and then some. It was one of the first netbooks to make it onto the market when netbooks first started taking off. In my book, Asus is a tried and tested brand that not only gets special priority when I’m looking for a new netbook, but also for computer parts in general when I’m fixing or building a new desktop. The 1001 hasn’t changed much since it was released. It still has the Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor, but now comes with 1GB of DDR3 RAM instead of the DDR2 RAM that was once standard. The battery life is a little short at just 4 hours, but it’s a lot better than many other laptops, so 4 hours is good enough for me.

  • 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; 0.3MP Webcam; 2-in-1 Card Reader MMC/SD(SDHC)
  • Up to 4 Hours of Battery Life; Windows 7 Starter Operating System

Acer Aspire One:

I hate to say it, but Acer had quite a long streak of poorly selling computers and laptops for a while. Their name was synonymous with average build quality and poor service. However, that all changed when they began releasing netbooks. Something must have happened over at their company for them to start building the Aspire One, which comes with 1GB of DDR3 RAM and an Intel Atom processor. The screen isn’t huge, but the 1024×600 resolution is nicer than other comparable models, which makes watching movies or videos all the more pleasant on this guy. And being one of the lightest netbooks I’ve seen, it’s a dream to carry around. It often feels like nothing’s even in my backpack.

  • Intel Atom 1.6GHz Processor
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • 10.1” 1024×600 screen
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • 2.43 Pounds

Dell Inspiron Mini:

The next one on our list is kind of a special computer. The reason I fell in love with the Inspiron Mini and still want one today is not because of what it can do out of the box, but what it can do with a little creativity. The Inspiron Mini became synonymous with Hackintosh users all around the globe (installing MacOSX on a non-Apple product) because of its chipsets and innards. Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary as a Windows machine, but if you decide to go the route of the Mac, the Inspiron Mini is one hell of a contender in the netbook world. Now if only Apple had a netbook….

  • 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

Samsung NF310:

An often overlooked netbook is the Samsung NF310. What sets it apart from other netbooks in the same price range is that not only does it come with DDR3 RAM, it’s also one of the first netbooks to feature an Intel Atom Dual Core processor. And not only that, the HD display makes 720P video look as crisp as real life. Samsung knows that there’s a market of hungry young gamers and movie conneisuers that have been waiting to make the plunge into small computer territory for a while. But because of a lack of power and vital components like a fast processor, graphics card, and HD video display, they’ve held onto their clunky desktops. If you’re one of those people who want power without adding much in the way of size or weight, the NF310 is for you.

  • Intel Atom N550 Dual Core Processor
  • 10.1” HD (1366×768) display
  • 9 hour battery life
  • 720P Video playback
  • 1GB RAM
  • 250GB Hard Drive

Samsung’s Fast Start feature, which easily allows the user to put the NF310 in an advanced state of sleep, enhances user satisfaction by reducing power consumption while the device is not in use. A smooth, contoured clamshell exterior highlight the NF310’s sleek appearance, while a roomy island style spill-resistant keyboard and large touchpad with gesture support make the NF310 conducive to comfortable computing on-the-go

HP Mini:

In what seems to be a move to steal Dell’s thunder with the “Mini” name, HP also released a netbook of their own called the “Mini.” Unfortunately, the HP Mini doesn’t really have anything in it’s arsenal that makes it stand out from the crowd. In my personal opinion, the high gloss finish all around is tacky looking and the specifications found within aren’t anything to write home about. The biggest downfall of HP though is competing in the feature war. As I said earlier, I’m never a big fan of companies that throw in gimmicks to sell products. HP is hawking their “Cloud” backup and “Quicksync” programs this time around. In all honesty, they’re nothing more than clunky web backup programs that achieve the same thing as an external hard drive. Save your money and steer away from this HP.

  • Intel Atom Processor N455 (1.66GHz)
  • 1GB DDR3 System Memory (1 DIMM), Max supported = 1GB
  • 250GB (7200RPM) Hard Drive (SATA)
  • Genuine Windows 7 Starter
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 (shared) with up to 256MB Total Available Graphics Memory

Asus 1215N:

Not to leave the gamers or HD video guys hanging, the Asus 1215N is next up on our list. Designed specifically for those looking to up the ante in their computing world, the 1215 has all of the features of a full computer in a package that’s half the size. Coming with a dual core Atom processor, 1080P full HD video, an HDMI port to connect the computer to an external monitor or TV for watching movies or playing games on the big screen, and a 500 gigabyte hard drive, this netbook may be a tough competitor in the coming months. And with up to 7 hours of battery, it’s no wonder why this computer is flying off the shelves.

  • 1.5 GHz Intel Atom Dual Core Processor
  • Full HD 1080P video playback
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • 12.1” HD LED-backlit display
  • NVIDIA ION graphics card
  • NVIDIA Optimus technology for energy efficient graphics and battery life

Asus EEE PC 1015PN:

At the top of the list we covered the original Asus EEE PC with a single core processor. It was updated with a dual core with the 1015PN and was recently trumped again with the 1215N. Why am I bothering to list this one when it’s successor is in the listing right above this? It would be redundant for me to try and relist all of the same features as the 1215, as the only thing that was changed was a bigger hard drive and shorter battery life with the newer version. The reason the 1015PN still sells as well as it does though is because now that a newer version has been released, the price of this particular machine has come down significantly. If you can live with a 250GB hard drive and the lack of an HDMI out, you can save a few hundred dollars going with this almost identical machine in place of the newer version. Now that’s a great deal.

  • Intel Atom Dual Core N550
  • Nvidia Ion2 Dedicated Graphics
  • HDMI and VGA Out
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1GB DDR3 RAM, 1 SODIMM Slot, 2GB Max
  • 250GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) + 500GB Free Web Storage
  • 10.1-Inch 1024X600 WSVGA Matte Finish LED Display
  • 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0
  • Chiclet Keyboard
  • 9.5 Hours of Battery Life; Windows 7 Starter Operating System (32 bit)
  • 0.3MP Webcam

Samsung NC110:

At first, I was a bit hesitant to include this laptop in the list as I didn’t think it was anything special when I first took a look at it. It comes with the standard 1GB of RAM that needs to be upgraded, a 10.1” screen, and a 1.6GHz processor that chugs it along at basically the same speed as most other netbooks. What caught my eye before I gave my stamp of negative approval though was a one year international warranty. Other netbooks generally give a one year warranty on certain parts and labor, but this all inclusive one year warranty is much nicer than others in the field. And considering that you never know what can go wrong with a brand new machine, one year is a good amount of time to see if anything is going to crash and burn on you or keep on trucking for years to come.

  • Intel N455 1.66GHz Processor
  • 1GB Memory
  • Win7 Starter OS
  • 10.1” Screen
  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • 10.7 Hour Battery
  • 802.11b/g/n Wifi

Lenovo IdeaPad:

Ah, finally we reach the end of this long list. One last shot to find the best netbook for your personal usage. You may be quick to jump at Lenovo for producing an underpowered machine that only comes with one gigabyte of RAM and the basic N455 Atom processor. But before you jump the gun, take a look at the keyboard. Lenovo really outdid themselves with a 98% full size keyboard, which is absolutely unheard of in all other netbooks around. Not only that, but you also get the quality of a Lenovo machine; a company that has built a stunning reputation for themselves by building only quality machines since they began. Oh, and you may even enjoy the facial recognition login software that keeps your computer secure from finger print fakers and password hackers if you accidentally leave the IdeaPad down somewhere.

  • Intel® Atom™ N455 Processor
  • Genuine Windows® 7 Starter
  • 10.1″ screen (1024×600), 16:9 widescreen
  • Intel® integrated GMA graphics
  • 1GB DDR3 memory
  • 250GB HDD storage
  • Integrated 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • USB 2.0 connectors and 5-in-1 card reader
  • Integrated web camera

Well, there you have it. As you can see, not all of the best sellers live up to their bestseller name, and with a few bad reviews on Amazon or similar sites, it’s a shame that people are still spending their money on them. My favorite computer from the entire list is by far the Asus EEE PC 1215N. It blows by the competition with its dual core processor and doesn’t stutter when I want to play HD video or hook it up to my television. For a netbook, it’s a damn good deal.

If you’d like to comment on any of these PCs, or would like to ask us any questions, please feel free to comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!

Acer One Happy – Upgraded Performance and Style

The Acer One Happy is Acer’s newest installment to the “Aspire One” line of computers that made them so popular in the netbook market. The One Happy combines everything I loved in the original Aspire One and upgrades it to supercharged performance levels and style without much of an increase in price.

I’ve been excited for the One Happy since I heard about it, and now that it’s finally available, I can’t wait to get my hands on one. From what I can see, and from what other users are saying about it, it looks like a force to be reckoned with. Let’s take a look at what it’s got to offer.

Continue reading “Acer One Happy – Upgraded Performance and Style”

In Review – The Acer D260 – Acer Getting it Right

Acer has been really spearheading the netbook charge with trying to get affordable and great netbooks onto the market since the trend really started to take off. The Acer Aspire One series of netbooks has been popular with consumers and reviewers alike, as it combines all of the features people want in their on the go machines with a name that they can trust.

I’ll admit that Acer has had some bad spots in the past where they just haven’t lived up to expectations with the quality of their machines, but that all seems to be in the past. Today on the chopping block is the Acer D260, a dual core machine that packs the punch that other netbooks just don’t seem to have. It has slipped under a lot of radars so far, but hopefully that’s all about to change.

Continue reading “In Review – The Acer D260 – Acer Getting it Right”

Netbooks for Sale – Should You Buy One?

Netbooks are becoming more and more popular with folks looking to have an ultra portable computer without a sacrifice in power or speed from their machine.

This article is going to give first time netbook buyers a brief overview of the benefits and drawbacks of owning a netbook, as well as outline some of the current best netbooks for sale on the market today. If you’re looking to be better informed before you make your next netbook purchase, you’ve come to the right place.

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Buying Cheap Netbooks – An In-Depth Guide

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there are so many netbooks in the market today that’s it’s often impossible to figure out what netbook is right for you. If you’re looking for something just to have around the house so you don’t have to boot up your desktop or laptop every time you want to look something up on the netbook, your choice in netbook may be completely different from someone who needs a netbook for work purposes and can’t be bothered to lug a huge laptop to and from the office every day.

If you find yourself struggling to understand all of the features within a netbook and unsure which are the best netbooks on the market today, be sure to keep on reading so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to buy.

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Toshiba NB520 – Toshiba’s “Other” Computer

Today on the chopping block is one of Toshiba’s entries into the netbook market. While not as popular as some of their other models, the NB520 still packs a punch that has been widely well reviewed for both its price point and specifications. While I haven’t actually used the NB520 myself, I’ve spent a good deal of time researching the computer and have found both the best and worst features of it to present to you.

Hopefully by the end of the rundown, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes this netbook tick and why it may or may not be a good choice for your next computer purchase. So, with that let’s jump in to all of the good stuff.

Continue reading “Toshiba NB520 – Toshiba’s “Other” Computer”

3G Netbooks – Browse the Web Away From Home

The biggest problem with netbooks and computers in general these days is how tethered we are to our home wireless Internet connections. Being able to get online whenever we want has become a big part of daily living, and at least for me, I feel lost when I’m away from the Internet for more than a few hours or days. Since getting an Internet connection for my phone, getting email on the go has been a breeze and a lifesaver in some situations. But what are computers supposed to do? Having a phone connected to the Internet is great, but it isn’t as nice as being able to open up a laptop on the go and browse the web with ease.

3G enables netbook users to utilize the same connectivity that cell phones use to get online while they’re on the move. If you’re looking for a netbook that not only allows you the freedom to use your computer without having to lug around a large carrying case as well as get online anywhere you have a 3G cell phone network connection, I suggest you keep on reading. I’ve done some research and dug up all of the information you need to get started in the 3G netbook world, as well as which computers are best suited to the task. Without wasting anymore time, let’s dive right in.

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Mini Netbooks – The Quest For Smaller Size

“Which netbooks are the tiniest and are the best pick for me?” Not only do I get this question landing in my inbox on a regular basis, I also come across it on forums and sales sites at least once a day. It’s really the million dollar question that all of the netbooks in the market are trying to answer to. Which one can truly be the smallest ones available for consumers to pick up?

Netbooks, by definition, are meant to be small. Their form factor is what is supposed to make them appealing to customers. Because many computer users don’t have the strength to carry around a full sized laptop wherever they go, the netbook was meant to fill in the awkward gap between not having a computer handy that you could do work on and doing without a computer altogether (clearly not an option in the day and age we live in).

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In Review – The Acer D255 Netbook

When I first took a look at the Acer D255, I wasn’t blown away. I scrolled through the “Specs” page and didn’t really find anything that jumped out or screamed unique. I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking the machine over and have discovered the truth behind “don’t judge a book by its cover.” In this case though, I shouldn’t judge a netbook by the quality of its outer cover.

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