There have been quite a few developments in the netbook market over the last six months. The arrival of CULV processors, Ion netbooks, and larger resolutions have pushed the capabilities of netbooks, creating a experience more like that a traditional notebook.
However, 10 inch Atom-based netbooks are still great PCs. They may not be as larger or as fast as some newer models, but their battery life is excellent. These products also benefit from a certain level of maturity which is evidient from the questionable build quality and components of some newer, larger netbooks.
Best of all, there are many excellent 10 inch netbooks now available for under $350 bucks. The three listed here are the best.
Asus Eee PC 1005HA
The ASUS Eee PC 1005HA is the spiritual successor to the Eee PC 1000HE, the netbook which was the yardstick of netbooks for over a year. That left the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA with big shoes to fill, but it has been successful.
The reasons for its success stems from its lack of change. Sure, the netbook looks nicer than the 1000HE. It also has better battery life, a better keyboard, and is slightly faster. But it follows the same formula of providing an extremely adequete netbook at an extremely low price. Sure, the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA isn’t best in class at everything, but it also gets nothing wrong.
The ASUS Eee PC 1005HA does come in the E, V, and P versions. The E model has a small battery good for only four hours of life, but it is otherwise well equipped. The P model has all of the fixings, including the largest battery and a 1.66Ghz Atom processor as opposed to the 1.6Ghz Atom in the other two models. The V model is in-between, with a battery life of about seven hours. The V model is my pick, but even the P model can be found for under $350 dollars on sale.
Samsung’s NC10 has been around for ages. When it first came to market, it was something of a premium-class netbook. Its large keyboard, long battery life, and attractive build quality gave it advantages over most every other netbook available, but its price tag of $420 or more meant that it was no bargain.
Today, the Samsung NC10 is still available, and despite its age it is an extremely good netbook. Its keyboard remains top-notch, its battery life of seven hours is still competitive, and its build quality is still best-of-class.
The only problem with the Samsung NC10 is it’s matte screen. The non-reflective surface is dimer than many other netbook screens, but it also doesn’t reflect light. While the matte screen was a plus for me, many will prefer a netbook with a more vivid gloss display.
When Toshiba’s first netbook arrived there was much press about the netbook’s dashing good looks and array of available colors. You, too, can have a white, brown, pink, or blue Toshiba Mini NB205-N210 if you’d like to pay $400 dollars.
If you’d only like to pay $350, however, Toshiba limits the Toshiba Mini NB205-N210 to a color selection to black only. The Toshiba Mini NB205-N210 has other downgrades, such as a different keyboard and less powerful processor. Those downgrades, however, don’t change the NB205′s solid fundamentals.
The keyboard on the NB205 doesn’t feel as solid as that on the NC10, but it is extremely large for any netbook, offering an uncramped typing experience. The touchpad is even better, as it is almost as large as the touchpad on some normal notebooks. And then there is the battery life, which at eight hours is among the longest lasting of any netbook for sale today. In other words, the Toshiba Mini NB205-N210 nails the most important components, and the slight downgrades of the budget model don’t spoil that.