2009's Top Netbooks
Computing on the go
Kit of the Year 2009 was the year the netbook really took off, with vendors rushing to release model after model after model, and few of them ending the year with the same selection of machines that they were offering at the start. We looked at dozens of them, all largely matched on performance, but with very different battery lives, prices and builds.
Toshiba's second attempt at a netbook is a stunning success. The design's superb, the build quality good and the specs are decent too. You get a better-than-average software bundle. But what really does it for us is the class-leading battery life delivered without a huge mass of add-on battery. Only the awful colour schemes applied to the higher-end models let the side down - go for the cheaper, "cosmic black" models, is our advice.
Asus Eee PC 1000HE
It's a tad bulky by the standards of the latest netbooks - especially when compared to Asus' own Eee PC 1008HA - but the 1000HE is a very nice mini-laptop. It's eminently capable, with a good keyboard, the fastest Atom CPU, 802.11n Wi-Fi and, crucially for us, an enormous battery life.
Samsung's first foray into netbooks remains one of its strongest models. OK, it lacks the Nvidia graphics the newer N510 sports, but the NC10 is a solid, well-made machine that continues to impress as the release of new models has pushed it price down. We like its nice, big keyboard, and its long battery life. Others will love it for its non-glossy screen.
Best of the Rest
Dell Latitude 2100
Acer Aspire One D250
Still too expensive...
It's got to be sub-£200 to be worth considering. as far as I'm, concerned. My Acer Aspire One cost me £175 over a year ago, and I still use it more-or-less every day. But if I were to be thinking of spending over £300, I'd be looking for a "real" laptop.
@ Admiral Grace
I have an Acer Aspire One 531 that had Windoze 7 Starter pre-installed. Win 7 blue screened 3 minutes into first switch on. It got wiped (despite PCWorld telling I will void my warranty) and I put Ubuntu Karmic remix on. I have not looked back. Works a treat on a daily basis, is an addition to my car stereo (via auxiliary port), has a BT E180 dongle for anywhere internet via broadband. Does what it needs to do with ease.
Unfortunately it is not part of any of these reviews.
BTW. I don't use a touchpad as I prefer using a mouse.
Still more than happy with my U90
Runs OSX like a dream, Native with EFI, and essentially only needs graphics and audio drivers to work out of the box.. did replace the mini wifi for an N ready card though..
So true, i love my nb100 and it would have been nice to stick to something that size when it comes time to upgrade.
I bought an EEE 1000HE
partially on the strength of the Vulture's review, and I'm very, very pleased with my choice. Nicer keyboard than any other netbook I've tried, decent battery life, good compromise between size and screen real-estate and good performance. Enough power to run Homeworld 2 and Warcraft 3 both on max settings which is more than I expected to be able to do on a machine like this.
Comes with XP or Fisher-Price version of Linux of course, but who really cares about that? First order of business was to wipe and reinstall with a real Linux and it's been a solid little device ever since.
Thanks for the reviews, El Reg, helped me find exactly what I needed.