Netbooks…

I am thinking about buying a netbook (very small laptop). So far I have narrowed it down to the following.

ASUS Eee s101 HP MiniNote 2133 Acer Aspire One Dell Inspiron Mini 9 MSI Wind u100 Lenovo IdeaPad s10
Processor Intel Atom N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache) VIA C7-M ULV processor (1.6 GHz, 128 KB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB) Intel Atom N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache) Intel Atom N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache) Intel Atom N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache) Intel Atom N270 (1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB, 512 KB L2 cache)
RAM 2 GB 2 GB 1 GB (1.5 GB Max) 1 GB 2 GB 1 GB
Disk 64 GB SSD 120 GB SATA (7200 rpm) 120 GB SATA 16 GB SSD 160 GB SATA (5400 rpm) 160 GB SATA (5400 rpm)
Screen Size 10.2″ Wide Active Matrix TFT LED-backlit 8.9″ 8.9″ WSVGA TFT LCD 8.9″ WSVGA (WLED) Truelife Display 10.2″ TFT 10.2″ Wide Active Matrix TFT LED-backlit
Screen Resolution 1024 x 600 WSVGA 1280 x 768 1024 x 600 1024X600 1024 x 600 WSVGA 1024 x 600 WSVGA
OS XP Home Vista Business XP Home XP Home XP Home XP Home
Ports 1 x VGA, 3 x USB 2.0, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100), 1 x Headphone, 1 x Mic, 4-in-1 SD, MMC MS, MS-Pro 1 x VGA, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100/1000), 1 x Headphone, 1 x Mic, SD, 1 x Express Card 3 x USB 2.0, 1 x VGA, 1 x mic, 1 x headphone, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100), Multi-in-1 card reader 3 x USB 2.0, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100), 1 x VGA, 1 x mic, 1 x headphone, 3-in-1 Media Card Reader 3 x USB 2.0, 1 x VGA, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100), 1 x microphone, 1 x headphones 1 x VGA, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x RJ-45 (10/100), 1 x Headphone, 1 x Mic, SD, 1 x Express Card
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 802.11 b/g 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 802.11m b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0 802.11 b/g
Camera 0.3 Megapixel 0.3 Megapixel 0.3 Megapixel 1.3 Megapixel 1.3 Megapixel 1.3 Megapixel
Weight 1 Kg 1.19 Kg 1.26 Kg 1.1 Kg 1.17 Kg 1.6 Kg
W (mm) 264 255 249 232 260 249
D (mm) 180 165 195 172 180 185
H (mm) 18 ~ 25 27 36 27 ~ 31 18 ~ 31 23
Battery 36W/hr; 2S2P (2450mAh/cell) 6-cell (55 WHr) high capacity Li-Ion 3-cell (6 optional) 4-cell 2200AHr Battery 6-cell 2.5 Hr
Extras 30 GB Online Storage 3G 7.2 Mb/s HSDPA and 2 Mb/s HSUPA
Link Link Link Link Link Link Link
Price £499 £440 £299 £299 £320 £320

One of the most annoying things about this is that in many cases I’ve had to allow for the machine with 1 GB of RAM and then upgrading it to 2 GB at a cost of around £25 – £30. They will take 2GB but none of the manufacturers will ship with 2GB. This is because of Vista. The manufacturers’ distribution agreement with Microsoft says that if a new machine falls within the minimum specs for Vista it must ship with Vista. As a result the manufacturers are selling the machines “crippled” so that they can get away with shipping them with XP. I have even seen the HP, which ships with 2GB as standard, come with Vista plus an XP downgrade pack. I’m also getting frustrated by a similar problem with SSDs. In the case of the ASUS and the Dell it’s hard to find a machine actually for sale with XP and a large (greater than 16 GB) SSD. It’s hard to know whether this is another licensing shenanigan or an attempt to keep the price points between the XP and Linux models close.

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