Get an MSI Wind Netbook for only $349
A great price for well-reviewed Netbook that's missing only a couple minor features.
The model CNET reviewed was, at the time, $479. It ran Windows XP, came with an 80GB hard disk and included Bluetooth networking. If you can live without Bluetooth, you can now buy a very similar model, the Wind U100-420US, with a 120GB hard disk for only $349. For that price you get a gigabyte of RAM, an Intel Atom processor, a 10-inch matte finish screen, Windows XP Home Edition, and a reasonable keyboard (all Netbook keyboards involve trade-offs).
This is a great price for a well-received 10-inch Netbook. Less than a month ago, it was $399. Laptop magazine referred to the price as "amazing" but warned, as did CNET, about the 3-cell battery. As Netbooks go, a 3-cell battery is bottom-of-the-line and generally doesn't offer much more than 2 hours of run time. That said, the Wind is able to toggle between a high performance mode and a slower mode designed to extend the run time.
In comparing the cheaper U100-420US with the more expensive U100-016US model, Liliputing.com also points out that the cheaper model doesn't offer gigabyte Ethernet. I think it's a great trade-off.
Both Liliputing and Laptop magazine blogged about the machine being available at Best Buy. However, my local Best Buy didn't have it on display on Sunday, and the Best Buy Web site currently shows the machine as being back-ordered.
On a personal note, this kills me. I very recently purchased an Acer Aspire One (AA1) for the exact same price. The Wind U100-420US is a much better value.
For one thing, it has a 10-inch screen versus only 9 inches for the Acer Aspire One. Also, the Wind screen has a matte finish (which I prefer, but opinions vary), the Acer screen is glossy. My recent postingillustrates the difference between a 9-inch glossy screen and a 10-inch one with a matte finish.
If the AA1 has a battery-saving low power mode, I haven't run across it.
The Wind keyboard is larger, I find the keyboard on the AA1 to be just a bit small for my adult-size fingers. According to Matthew Miller at ZDNet, the MSI Wind Netbook doesn't compromise on the keyboard.
The mouse buttons on the Wind are also better positioned. They are under the touchpad, where most people prefer them. I am not alone in disliking the button placement on the AA1 (instead of being under the touchpad, the buttons are on either side). Also, I use the Page up and Page down keys a lot and they are better positioned on the Wind keyboard.
You get the idea.
Just for the record, I have no relationship at all with MSI, Best Buy, Newegg, or Acer.