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Back-to-school 10in Netbooks

Which machines score top marks?

Application security programs and practises

Group Test The summer hols are over, and it's back to school for the kids. Or to college, for the older ones. Whatever their age, though, your offspring - perhaps even you yourself - are likely to have their eye on a new computer for the new term.

And with prices never being lower, there's no longer a financial reason to restrict junior to a hand-me-down machine, especially if you consider the lower end of the market where the Small, Cheap Computer - aka the netbook - reigns supreme.

An ideal combination of low cost and - thanks to their small size - high mobility, netbooks make ideal computers for youngsters, with only gaming obsessed teenagers impervious to their charms. They have decent-capacity hard drives for burgeoning music and movie collections, and run Windows 7 so they're ready for any social networking service.

Worried about security? Most modern netbooks can be easily reconfigured with Linux post-purchase.

To help you and yours choose the best netbook to take off to university or to keep at home for homework, we asked six of the major netbook suppliers - Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba - to each submit a 10in machine for testing.

But before we get down to each machine individually, take a look at our Buyer's Guide, which will steer you through the choices and factors you'll need to consider when selecting a netbook, whether it's one of those reviewed here or any of the many other machines on sale. ®

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