Back-To-School Buyer’s Guide: Budget Mini Notebooks and Netbooks

by Reads (7,578)

This unique category of ultra-portable laptops burst onto the scene late last year with the arrival of the ASUS Eee PC. Since then we’ve seen almost every major notebook manufacturer (and even a few newcomers) release low-priced notebooks in this category.

Mini notebooks (also called "subnotebooks" or "netbooks") lack the power of a traditional notebook computer, but have more than enough muscle to provide web access, handle word processing, and even play your digital movie and music files. Best of all, these compact notebooks are smaller than most school textbooks and usually cost less than $600.

These notebooks aren’t designed to be your primary computer. Rather, they’re designed to be your "mobile companion" that provides quick internet access and basic computing needs whenever you need it. Most students who use a mini notebook or netbook in class will also want a full-featured notebook or desktop at home or in the dorm room.


ASUS Eee PC 1000H

The 1000H is one of the latest additions to the Eee PC family of mini notebooks. Featuring a 10" display, Intel Atom processor, large hard drive, an a larger keyboard than any previous Eee PC, the 1000H promises to raise the bar for this category of laptops.

See the latest pricing for the Eee PC 1000H

MSI Wind

The Wind is another mini notebook in a field originally started by the ASUS Eee PC, but with one primary catch: It is priced well under the equivalent Eee PC. Now having a better price doesn’t always mean you are going to win in any given market, but the MSI really outdid themselves and created a great mini notebook.

View Review of the MSI Wind


ASUS Eee PC 901 

The ASUS Eee PC 901 is a new update to the Eee PC … the affordable mini notebook that shook up the notebook market in 2007. This $550 mobile companion features the new Intel Atom processor, but lacks the larger screen and larger keyboard of the new Eee PC 1000H.

View Review of the Eee PC 901

Acer Aspire one

Weighing just 2.17 pounds and measuring 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.14-inches, Aspire one is lightweight and compact for easy travel. The Aspire one features an 8.9-inch CrystalBrite WSVGA LED backlit display with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels, a standard 3-cell battery or optional 6-cell battery, and a NAND flash module of 8GB with an additional SD card slot for smart storage expansion or a 120GB internal hard drive.

View coverage of the Aspire one

HP 2133 Mini-Note

The HP Mini-Note has a VIA C7-M ULV processor, 8.9-inch diagonal WXGA, 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, and VIA Chrome 9 integrated graphics. More importantly, it has the best keyboard we’ve seen on any of the mini notebooks on the market … something extremely important for students who are constantly typing notes or papers in class. However, the performance of the VIA processor inside the Mini-Note left us feeling less than impressed.

View Review of the Mini-Note


ASUS Eee PC 900

The ASUS Eee PC 900 is the new update to the original Eee PC 4G. At a higher price of $550, this mini notebook features a larger screen and more storage space that its predecessor. While the Eee PC 900 has a lot to offer it may not be the best choice among the various Eee PCs currently on the market.

View Review of the Eee PC 900



The budget mini notebook that started the entire revolution in 2007, the ASUS Eee PC 4G (701) notebook uses a Linux-based OS that Asus has customized themselves. It has a 7" screen and only weighs 2 lbs. The Eee PC is now also available with Windows XP.

View Review of the Eee PC 4G


ASUS Eee PC 2G Surf

A somewhat stripped down version of the Eee PC 4G, the Eee PC 2G Surf features a slower processor, less RAM, only 2GB of storage space, and a weaker battery. The major advantage to this little laptop is that you can find it in many retail stores for less than $300.

View Review of the Eee PC 2G Surf

Everex CloudBook

The Starting at a mere $399, the Everex CloudBook marked the first entry to the expanding world of netbooks featuring the VIA C7-M processor. With a 7-inch display, 1.2GHz processor, and 30GB hard drive, the CloudBook has a lot to offer. We weren’t particularly impressed by the CloudBook during our full review, but this tiny laptop has a loyal following.

View Review of the CloudBook


Keep in mind this list doesn’t represent every budget-priced mini notebook currently on the market. Our back-to-school guides are designed to highlight a few laptops we believe appeal to a wide range of students (and their parents).  

Remember, to get advice on which notebook to buy don’t just go with what’s popular, visit our What Notebook Should I Buy for School forum to ask what everyone else thinks you should buy based on your needs. 




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