With Intel recently coining the term ultrabooks, which in reality are no more than a laptop+tablet concept (Macbook Air anyone?), the concept of the netbook lives to see yet another day. We don't see many of these ultraportables out in the wild (anybody out there still using their netbooks regularly?), but it seems like manufacturers are stil targeting the niche...
Asus Eee PC 1015PEM
With a full blown Windows 7 starter OS, the Asus is a seashell-inspired netbook on steroids. Battery life is rated at up to 13 hours, with a whole stable of features like wi-fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and USB 3.0 connections, making the 10.1" LED screen netbook sort of a more lowkey and more affordable PC alternative to the Macbook Air. Inside is an Intel Atom N550, running with dual core, at 1.5 GHz; the Asus Eee PC can be equipped with up to 320 GB hard drive capacity and up to 2 GB of RAM all for a paltry $299.
This Toshiba is one of the netbooks that distinguishes itself not by how it looks, but how it sounds, with Harman Kardon speakers. For a netbook, the NB550D is a responsive performer, and surprisingly offers a more sturdy look and feel (conversely, it's a little chunky). The AMD's Brazos processor with dual core 1GHz gives this netbook its pep while the 10" screen is rated for 1024 x 600 pixels. You're looking at about 9 hours of realistic use, while a 250 GB hard drive should be enough room for the secondary machine purposes of a netbook. HDMI-out means that you can plug this tiny netbook to your big screen TV for gaming experience or wide screen internet browsing. Not too bad for $270.
Acer Aspire One D255
The Aspire One is positioned as a very affordable, entry level models, good for up to 9 hours of use thanks in part to the 4,400mAh battery. The 10.1" display is advertised for 438:1 contrast ratio, alongside an Atom N550 processor inside for speedy yet power efficient performance. Corners were cut, only offering USB 2.0 vs. 3.0, and theis model is also missing Bluetooth connectivity. $279.
The Samsung has some slim-line appeal but it's a little lacking performance wise. The N350 is one of the lightest netbooks of the bunch, and is also characterized by high grade materials/construction. A 10.1" LED screen with matte finish is one of the reasons we like this model, avoiding the trend of glossy, glare reflective screens. The dual core processor inside is a winner, but the low capacity 2,950mAh battery will only give you 4 hours of running time. Unfortunately, this is a case of great sex appeal with no stamina. $339.
Some other affordable alternatives: