Netbooks: mini laptops, max portability

Pioneered by Asus with the EeePC 701, the netbook shifted the way we think about computing.

Of late though, people have realised that netbooks have limitations and the market is fragmenting, with some going to tablets like the iPad or Galaxy Tab, some to smartphones like the Desire HD or LG Optimus 7, others to thin-and-lights like MacBook Air, and yet others opting to go for a budget laptop under AU$1000.

But if the price is right and you're willing to live with the compromises it brings, a netbook can still be a good accessory thanks to its light weight and great battery life. Inevitably they contain Atom processors, the most recent ones with dual-core. Sadly, netbooks running Windows 7 Starter often only come with 1GB RAM, a highly limiting factor — we'd suggest if the option exists to get one with Home Premium at least and 2GB RAM. Screen sizes have mostly settled between 10 and 12 inches these days, falling into one of two resolutions: 1024x600 or 1366x768. The latter is a massive improvement, as the 600-pixel vertical resolution often doesn't fit everything on screen that it needs to.

Most come with 100Mb Ethernet and 802.11g wireless, although the occasional model comes along with gigabit and 802.11n, if you're willing to pay a premium. If you've got a chance, try before you buy, as keyboard comfort is the thing that ultimately defines a good netbook.

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roger posted a comment   

Sorry to say but the one featured above and the 1215N asus has an ION2 chip and can play FULL HD movies. Maybe you need to do more research...


wooda posted a comment   

why write about the 1201N when the 1215N is out. the latest one had optimus switching and should be better, Y talk about an od product. compare apples with apples, not new eggs against old eggs?


Craig Simms posted a reply   

We come from a land down under. Where Eee PCs come later than asunder!

When the 1215n comes in for review, we'll cover it.


christian posted a comment   

Hi Thomas, I am looking at getting an eee PC 1005PE through (they let you upgrade the RAM to 2GB at point of sale), and am wondering if there is anything about it that you're not happy with? I am particularly interested in how the screen performs outside, given the problems that most laptop/netbook screens have with reflections in that situation...


matt.blak posted a comment   

under 10" the screen size is a pain, even most of these need to scroll more then I like for web pages etc.

Whty are these better than a 15" becaused unless you are spendign $2,000 or more, you are saving at leats 1kb in weight, after a gew hours on your sholuder, this is huge!


ThomasM1 posted a comment   

The Asus Eee PC 1005PE is much better than this. I got one from JB Hi-Fi for $474 and in comparison to the others displayed, with this price, the others don't come even close, especially since they are all last gen netbooks, except for the HP Mini 311.


ferd0 posted a comment   

I want a netbook that might cost around 500 AU otherwise It's a waste of money. One can get a VERY decent 15" computer with 500. Of course, these mini laptops can't play games. As a matter of fact, no single laptop I had could handle games, except alienware and all those monster laptops. I want a small laptop to take it to university just to surf the web and write assignments, etc. I am aware of the limitations of these small laptops and so should you. I have a laptop already but it's kinda heavy to carry around all day.

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