This unique category of budget ultraportable laptops burst onto the scene in 2007 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 “netbooks.”
Netbooks (also called “subnotebooks” or “mini notebooks”) 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 movies and music files. Best of all, netbooks are smaller than most school textbooks and usually cost less than $600.
Netbooks 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 netbook in class will also want a full-featured notebook or desktop at home or in the dorm room.
Less Than $400
The Samsung N120 is the company’s latest entry into the 10-inch netbook market. The N120 has typical netbook specifications but sets itself apart with an eye-catching design, light weight, and long battery life. The Samsung N120 should be high on the list for anyone in the 10-inch netbook market. At less than three pounds and with over eight hours of battery life, the N120 makes for a superb traveling companion. A stylish design, great screen, keyboard, and touchpad sweeten the deal.
The Dell Latitude 2100 probably deserves a place on the shopping lists for most schools and maybe even some parents should consider purchasing this netbook for their youngsters. For between $400 and $600 you get a very rugged laptop that is easy to use and portable enough for kids to toss in a backpack. Extra features like the dual security lock slots, network activity light, personalized window over the battery, and optional mobile computing station will certainly prove very attractive to educators and parents.
Although Dell clearly had schools in mind when they designed the Latitude 2100, this netbook might honestly offer a little something for everybody. Individual consumers or businesses looking for a durable business-class netbook will likely be attracted to the Latitude 2100 for everything from outdoor activities to on-location training and customer service. Bottom line, despite the bulk and weight this is indeed one impressive netbook.
Keep in mind that this list doesn’t include every netbook currently available on the market. This section of our buyer’s guide merely highlights some of the recent netbooks we’ve reviewed that our editors think deserve your attention. Be sure to take a look at the other reviews published on NotebookReview.com.