Small, cheap computers for scholars
Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook
A leftfield entry this, but one with some USPs that make it worthy of consideration. Unlike the other machines here it has a 12.1in display, of 1280 x 800 resolution. That, you could argue, takes it out of the netbook category, but with its emphasis on mobility and networking - it has dual-band 802.11n, Gigabit Ethernet and 3G HSPA connectivity built in - it's certainly a viable alternative to an 11.6in netbook. It runs Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS, so connectivity is essential, storage less so, which is why it only has a 16GB SSD, though it has an SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot for more. But it does have plenty of Ram - 4GB - and a 1.3GHz dual-core processor. Battery life isn't bad, either - you should be able to get a full day out of it. The price is higher: £400, or £350 for a Wi-Fi only model, but retailer discounts nudge these down to under £300.
Reg Rating 70%
Price £300 (3G) £290 (Wi-Fi)
More Info Samsung
Not a bad machine as such, the NB510, but its spec is identical to so many other Atom-based netbooks. It's also slightly chunkier than most, though it only delivers around four hours' runtime from a full charge. This casts it into the shade of those netbooks that deliver eight or more hours of battery life, like the Asus 1015BX, the HP Mini and the Samsung N102SP. Why pay the same for less?
Reg Rating 65%
More Info Toshiba