Our top retail Netbook for Holiday 2009: the Toshiba mini NB205

In the "Netbook" category, we looked at three off-the-shelf models that all retail for $399. While you can get a similar set of components for around $100 less if you shop around, these models all offered some kind of step-up feature.

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In our current roundup of retail-specific laptops , we've divided our 25-plus systems into four different price categories, from sub-$700 budget models to high-end ones that cost more than $1,000.

In the "Netbook" category, we looked at three off-the-shelf models that all retail for $399. While you can get a similar set of components for around $100 less if you shop around, these models all offered some kind of step-up feature, from the Gobi 3G antenna in the Asus 1005HA, to the faster Atom N280 CPU and big touchpad in the Toshiba NB205, to the exotic design of the HP Mini 110.

Our favorite from this group was the Toshiba mini NB205-N325BL, because of its excellent battery and touchpad, but we'd actually look into stepping up to an HD model, such as the HP Mini 311, or else trading down to a basic entry level $299 Netbook.

Note: For a roundup of retail laptops in all price ranges, check here .

Check out details of each system below:

Toshiba mini NB205-N325BL
The bottom line: Toshiba's basic Netbook doesn't break any new ground, but offers better battery life and a faster CPU than many in the same price range.
Read the full review here.

HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition
The bottom line: HP's excellent workhorse, the Mini 110, gets a cool graphical makeover, but you can get similar components for less.
Read the full review here.

Asus 1005HAGB-BBY-BK01X
The bottom line: The Asus 1005HA remains one of the best overall Netbooks available, but this model, even with a 3G antenna, is starting to feel a bit long in the tooth.
Read the full review here.

For more Netbook choices, check out this list of some of our favorite models here.

 

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