Back-to-school 10in Netbooks
Which machines score top marks?
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. ®
Not a single one
with Linux. I was genuinely interested, but I'm not jumping through the hoops for a Windows refund. Sticking with my EEE 900A.
"if they hook the machine up to a projector for a project it mysteriously won't work"
I bet the external VGA port will still mirror the primary display though. As anyone who's ever had to hurriedly hook up a laptop to a projector will vouch, although it's not the most flexible approach, it's the one most likely to work without most of the audience walking out with boredom waiting to see a video rather than a magenta rectangle.
re: the above post
"I had a go of a netbook and I'm not impressed. It was too small to do anything except CASUAL WEB BROWSING."
I thought that was pretty much the main point of a netbook?
Drivers for Ubuntu 10.04
I am glad to see that for you the drivers in Ubuntu 10.04 are pain free. I can assure you that for me (jbernardo @ubuntuforums), Lucazade, Yves, etc., it has been all but pain free to force the old psb drivers to work with 10.04. We patched them, repackaged them, got more patches from Mandriva, Fedora and others, and finally have a driver that has vaapi (1080p video acceleration) and some 3D working. Still, it is like squeezing a fuel guzzling, outdated, huge, american car engine into a Fiat 500. There is a limit to what you can do, and it won't ever work as well as a new, designed for the purpose engine. And the new Intel EMGD drivers are even worse, a binary only crap that only works on Meego and Fedora 11.
Seems like they can't even copy Nvidia's binary driver strategy...
Windows crippled edition
@Jose Bernardo B R Silva
I haven't tried it yet (my Dell Mini still has the 8.04 install on it), but reportedly there's FINALLY an easy overlay for Ubuntu 10.04 to add GMA500 support. It's the same old drivers, I don't know if they patched them to work with newer XOrg that 10.04 has, or if they just replace 10.04's XOrg with the older one that works with the GMA500 drivers. But who cares? Either way, pain-free GMA500 support on 10.04.
@Sir Wiggum, ahh yeah Windows Crippled Edition. I'm sure the students will LOVE that 8-).
I think you know this but for the record crippled edition disables changing the screen background, disallows changing the visual appearance and audio theme (i.e. startup and shutdown sound and such), removes Aero Glass, removes DVD playback support, removes Media Center, removes multi-monitor support (so if they hook the machine up to a projector for a project it mysteriously won't work) plus some other somewhat less important stuff. I would like to note right here Ubuntu -- even the netbook edition -- will let the user do all this including the fancy semi-tranparent window borders and such (there's an extra download for DVD support usually, although if you buy a Dell with Ubuntu they include the codec preinstalled.)