Get a Dell Mini 9 Netbook for $299 shipped
It's definitely an entry-level model, but aren't all Netbooks just entry-level laptops anyway?
My (new) thinking regarding Netbooks: They have their place in the world, but if you're going to spend more than $300 on one, you might as well spend $400 and get a full-fledged notebook. Anyone who agrees should check out Dell's Inspiron Mini 9, currently on sale for $299 shipped.
Available in Obsidian Black or Alpine White (other color choices are available, but add to the cost), the Mini 9 runs Ubuntu Linux and comes with 512MB of RAM, a 4GB solid-state hard drive, and an 8.9-inch LED display.
Dell gives you a host of configuration options, but as with the aforementioned color choices, any changes you make will bump up the price. (It's probably worth $35 to get the 8GB SSD.)
, citing its above-average battery life and overall usability as reasons to choose it over, say, the Acer Aspire One or MSI Wind.
I recently authored a five-part diary-of-a-Netbook-user series for BNET's Business Hacks, which I invite you to read before taking the plunge on any Netbook. If you come away thinking, "Yep, that's just what I need," this is a pretty solid bargain. Agree? Disagree? Speak up in the Comments.