Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buying a Netbook - 2010

As Dan Ackerman points out in this post on Crave, nothing very earth-shattering is happening on the Netbook scene. You will notice in the shops in India, a significant drop in prices of most Netbooks. Quite a few are available in the Rs. 16-18,000 range.

If you are in the market for a Netbook today, there are just a few updates you need to factor for
1. Processor : There is no choice of AMD processors for netbooks, only Intel's Atom Processors are available. The Atom range is characterised by low power consumption (and optimisation of battery life). The older N270 has been replaced by the new N450 (1.6 GHz) which is recommended as it will increase your battery life, though not significantly improving performance. This is an old single core CPU and it will basically be fine for basic tasks like surfing and email. I find it to be sluggish even for MS Office tasks like editing presentations.
2. High-res/ HD display is a worthwhile upgrade especially if you plan to watch movies on your netbook.
3. You will still find old netbooks in retail stores running Win XP or Vista try to avoid these and get Windows 7 starter edition
4. Hard Drive is now available in 250 GB and is an option if you are a data hoarder. If your netbook is an add-on to a primary system, 160 GB should be just fine.
4. Given the small keyboard, do test for comfort of the keys and mouse pad, which is very subjective. I personally like the keypads on Dell Mini 10 and HP netbooks
5. Additionally, there will be price variations that are attributable to brand and cannot really be explained by features (I find Sony netbooks to be considerably more premium priced and HP too).