By Gadget Guru Gandhi (3G)
Hi everyone! When it comes to electronics, size has an inverse proportionality – the smaller the better. Netbooks are not for gamers and heavy users. These are for office-goers, frequent travellers, students, and for those of you who can’t stay away from their laptops and being connected but hate to lug that old heavy laptop with its tacky peripherals along these are what you should surely invest in.
Netbooks have been in the market for quite a long time but only became famous after 2007. Companies started producing more light weight, low cost models so as to attract customers. Netbooks have some features missing like Optical disk drives, remote holder etc. so as to reduce their size; these are not very useful anyways (and if you tell me you really need a DVD drive I’d like to suggest switching to flash media before people start calling you obsolete). Since 2009, due to extra advancement in solid state memories, the specifications of netbooks and notebooks are more-or-less similar. Many prominent companies launched processors specific to netbooks to name INTEL ATOM, CELERON and AMD ATHLON NEO etc.
Some very strong contenders in this field are DELL, ACER, HP and TOSHIBA, so I thought of discussing one from each. All models discussed here are below the `20,000 limit (might be a little fluctuation of rates in India)
Dell Inspiron Mini
This is not the best available in the market if you ask me. Though the design is good, they have given it a glossy look which many don’t prefer because it easily gathers finger prints.
This also brings in some amazing features such as in-built Wi-max antennae, better keyboard and the maximum battery life in this segment. It has a 10.1-inch wide-screen display has a 1,024×600-pixel, 250 GB HDD, 1GB RAM and powered by 1.6GHz Intel Atom N450.
It has some drawbacks also such as wider touchpad which is irritating while scrolling down huge web pages, and the Wi-max which is not exactly a requirement because not many areas have Wi-max available especially in India, so it’s no use paying extra for this feature.
ASUS Eee PC
Asus was one of the first to launch into this segment with its Eee PC series. Eee PC series did change over the years but with this one Asus changed its usual chassis, coming up with a new design that’s thin, sturdy, and attractive. They still have the same old 1.66Hz Intel Atom powering the machine but they improved their battery life significantly.
The Metal outer lid and upper body which rests on a plastic frame feels quite tough and sturdy. The keyboard’s soft as a feather but the smaller shift and enter keys might give you trouble if you are used to the bigger one. The mouse keys are incorporated in a single bar. The system’s performance is in coherence with what you’d expect from this standard set of components – 250 GB HDD, 1GB RAM and standard 1,024×600-pixel display. This is very good for normal usage which includes office work, net surfing and web streaming; HD video shudders a little when played.
With a body made of aluminum and magnesium alloy, the HP Mini felt more rugged than many of the plastic Netbooks it’s competing with, and its excellent keyboard layout made typing a stroll through the clouds. Since HP gives you liberty to configure your device, giving specifications for this one is a waste of time; the normal version has all the basic features as that of Dell but has a 160GB HDD instead.
Le’s review one more model of HP – the HP mini 311 packing in an 11.6-inch, 1,366×768 screen, as well as NVidia Ion graphics chip, all starting at `20,000. Though yet again the RAM and the Processor remain the same the real catch is the graphics card. It provides trouble free HD video streaming and also a decent gaming experience.