Tech News

Update with what's going in Tech world.

Group test: Netbooks

Posted by Dark Legion 10/23/2009 , ,


Since ASUS turned the laptop world upside down with its original Eee PC, rivals have fallen over themselves to get on board the netbook bandwagon. Netbook specs are all fairly evenly matched, so they have to outdo each other on price, build, stylish looks and usability of keyboard. It’s a cut-throat marketplace then, but Asus, who spawned it, continues to drive on.



The latest EEE PC 1008HA, also known as the Seashell, merges a sleek finish with dramatically improved battery life. Samsung has enlisted the help of Japanese artist Naoto Fukasawa to give its new N310 the most arresting netbook design yet. Acer has followed up its under-performing Aspire One with a much improved 531 model. The numerous physical improvements have all but killed Acer’s price advantage, though. The Toshiba NB200 brings its own blend of design savvy and VFM, but it’s the awesome eight-hour battery that sets it apart. Last but not least, the formerly aloof Sony has joined the netbook wars with a scaled down Vaio that, by Sony’s standards, is cheap.

 
ASUS EEE PC1009 Seashell


Asus started the craze for tiny, cheap laptops, and ever since the world and his dog have been fighting for a piece of the pie. Despite this, the Taiwanese tech giant has stayed ahead of the imitators, with tweaks such as smarter looks, better keyboards, bigger hard drives, and what can only be described as "not actually being all that cheap". The Eee PC 1008HA, aka the Seashell, continues that trend. Looking swish enough to turn any head, this is also packing full N-standard, high-speed wireless and a Li-Polymer battery that pushes useful life up to an impressive six hours. Like Apple's new MacBook batteries, it's a permanent fixture, hidden away inside the Seashell's guts, which rules out any chance of upgrading or hot-swapping between spares, but how many us actually bother with that?

 
Acer Aspire One 531

The original Acer Aspire One was one of the best value netbooks around, with a few shortcomings that you overlooked because it cost about the same as a packet of Pop Tarts. With the new Aspire One 531, Acer has planed off the rough edges and trimmed the device down to a svelte and streamlined fi nish, without having to raise the cost to any outrageous degree. Boasting Intel's newer Atom N280 CPU and a larger, brighter 10.1-inch screen than its predecessor, the 531 pulls away from the netbook throng, but there's still evidence of Acer's budget thinking. The keyboard, one of the original Aspire One's strongest features, is now a sore point. The keys are generally cramped, with some squashed to microscopic proportions. It doesn't leave it unusable, but it does leave it short of its test rivals here.

  
Sony Vaio W Series

Sony sat out the first year of the low-cost laptop explosion, then launched the P-Series, an "ultraportable" PC that cost over £800. The plan didn't work out, as it's now launched the W Series, the first Vaio to admit to being a netbook. The awesome, X-Black LCD screen is what sets the W Series apart. This 10.1-incher is by far the best on test, offering deeper blacks and richer colours than you'll find on any other netbook. The 1,366x768 resolution adds enough detail to make browsing websites and documents easy, slashing the amount of scrolling you have to do. Under the bonnet, an Atom N280 processor and N, high-speed Wi-Fi inch it toward the upper end of the netbook scale, before the paltry three-cell battery drags it back to the middle of the road. You'll struggle to get three.

 
Acer Aspire One 531

The original Acer Aspire One was one of the best value netbooks around, with a few shortcomings that you overlooked because it cost about the same as a packet of Pop Tarts. With the new Aspire One 531, Acer has planed off the rough edges and trimmed the device down to a svelte and streamlined fi nish, without having to raise the cost to any outrageous degree. Boasting Intel's newer Atom N280 CPU and a larger, brighter 10.1-inch screen than its predecessor, the 531 pulls away from the netbook throng, but there's still evidence of Acer's budget thinking. The keyboard, one of the original Aspire One's strongest features, is now a sore point. The keys are generally cramped, with some squashed to microscopic proportions. It doesn't leave it unusable, but it does leave it short of its test rivals here.


0 comments

Post a Comment