One of the questions I get asked most frequently is “which netbook is the best?” The answer is: that depends. It depends on what keyboard you find the most comfortable, and how much value you put on battery life, size, or price. In other words, some folks will be willing to pay less and get a laptop with a 3 cell battery, while others wouldn’t consider anything without a 6 cell battery — but refuse to carry around anything with a screen larger than 9 inches.
Laptop Magazine Editor in Chief Mark Spoonauer put together an excellent netbook buying guide video, which you can check out after the break. He hits all the points I suggest first-time netbook buyers consider. And like me, he refuses to suggest that any one netbook will fit everyone’s needs.
LAPTOP’s Netbook Buyer’s Guide Video from LAPTOP Magazine on Vimeo.
It’s sad he encouraged users to jump on the 10″ bandwagon and to avoid 9″ models. The graphic showing screen real estate differences was a bit misleading. The resolution on most 10″ models is identical to the resolution on 9″ models- yet the video made it sound like you would have to scroll if you got a 9″.
For me, 9″ and a 6+ hour battery is the way to go. I find little difference in typing comfort comparing a 10″ keyboard to a 9″. As netbooks keep getting larger and larger (why are there even 12″ netbooks?), the traditional laptop market will eventually absorb the netbook market, and people will miss out on what it means to actually own a real netbook.
I think the guy in the video really threw the 9 inch models under the bus. I sell refurbished netbooks and I can tell you from firsthand experience there is still a HUGE DEMAND for the 9 inch models.
I started out with a Asus 701 and loved it! The supposedly cramped keyboard never bothered me and the screen was just fine. Now I have an 9 inch Asus and it is the perfect size. To me anything over 10 inches is a waste. 11 or 12 inch netbook? Forget it!
It saddens me that most companies are phasing out the 9 inch models. The reality is I get so many customers who ask specifically for the 7 inch and 9 inch models because they don’t want anything bigger than that. I honestly think that the public demand for 10 inch displays is partially being fueled by what the corporations think the consumer wants rather than what the demand really is. Yes, 10 inch netbooks are fine and sell well but there are still PLENTY of us out there who prefer the compact size of the good old 9 inch display. Thank you!
Honestly, I don’t know how you keep track of them. Here on Liliputing it’s a seemingly endless parade of netbooks with virtually identical specs, that all look and function pretty much the same. My eyes glaze over. I don’t even try to sort them out.
That’s why I’m always hungry for news about ARM-based netbooks, or ones with new screen technology (like Pixel Qi). . . Something that isn’t just another me-too product.
I only have two issues
1) 12″ models are really not a sweet spot, the 11″ models may be the way to go, but we haven’t seen the near perfect 11″ like we have for the 10″ models.
2) They never really stressed that there are/will be trade-offs. All the advice is good as far as it goes, but they should have stressed “Look at these six or seven specs we highlighted, but then pick the four or five that matter to you.”
My big fear is people will actually buy a 12” model and totally miss out on the netbook experience. Trading a six or eight pound notebook for four + pound netbook is missing the point. People should experience that ‘netbooky’ feel where you carry a computer around all day without ever feeling it. I’ve carry around a 4lbs laptop and let me tell you it does dig into your shoulder in a bag, it does feel like your weighted down, and that is not what people should experiences with what is called a netbook.
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