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Back-to-school 10in Netbooks

Which machines score top marks?

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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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