Netbook Round-up: Lenovo Ideapad S10, Asus Eee 904HA, Acer Aspire One and Smoothbook Slice
The current generation of netbooks are not notebook/laptop killers, but once equipped with Intel’s Dual Core Atom processor in the coming months, they will be one step closer. Doubling the processing power will no doubt have an impact on performance and things like HD video playback should become a reality.
Regardless of the lack of sheer processing power, today's netbooks are still a good buy. When used for its intended purpose, the netbook can be a fantastic piece of equipment that really demonstrates just how far technology has come and gives us a glimpse of the direction we are headed. Netbooks are extremely portable and offer a fantastic value for the price. Think about it, for about the same price you were buying an iPod a couple of years ago.
It is virtually impossible to declare a winner among the netbooks we have here today. Comparing performance was totally non-sense considering they all shared the same basic hardware on the inside. So it all comes down to personal preference and which features are most important to you. It is, however, important to prioritize your desired feature list and keep in mind that some features, like memory and hard drive capacity, can ultimately be upgraded. Other components like screen size and quality, and keyboard layouts are permanent and should be weighed into your buying decision.
If I had to decide between the models we just reviewed, I'd probably pick up the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 because it delivers the overall more solid package between the keyboard, screen and build quality. The Acer Aspire One follows closely but the mouse button layout was a real turn-off.
Last but not least, this test has only reinforced some of the concepts we've shared in previous discussions over the past couple of months. When choosing a netbook forget about anything below 8.9" models. Never buy one with the purpose of replacing your full-time laptop. And ideally spend less than $500 on a netbook, perhaps even $400.
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