Summer 2009 Netbook roundup

It feels like we just rounded up all the latest Netbooks a couple of months ago, but there are already enough new models to do it all over again.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
3 min read

It feels like we just rounded up all the latest Netbooks a couple of months ago, but there are already enough new models out to do it all over again. This time around, we're seeing some new players in the market (Toshiba, Fujitsu), as well as some new takes on the genre from old hands (Asus, HP).

Trends we're seeing include thinner systems, bigger keyboards, and a push in toward lower prices. The HP Mini 110 and Acer Aspire One are $329 and $299, respectively, while the average price of a similar Netbook was around $499 late last year, falling to $399 in the past six months.

Later in 2009, we expect to see a new generation of Netbooks that will attempt to add some lift to falling prices by adding features such as high-resolution screens and dedicated graphics processors.

Click through to see a half-dozen of the newest Netbooks for Summer 2009.

Asus Eee PC 1005HA
The good: Sleek, attractive design; lower price; amazing battery.

The bad: Thicker and heavier than the previous model; still near the upper end of the Netbook price range.

The bottom line: Asus hits nearly all the marks in the 1005HA, the latest version of its iconic Eee PC, highlighted by a 6-plus hour battery.

Read the full review here.

Toshiba Mini NB205
The good: Distinctive design; large touch pad, great battery life.

The bad: Bulky battery sticks out awkwardly; big screen bezel dwarfs display; wimpy audio.

The bottom line: Toshiba finally enters the Netbook market with the Mini NB205. It's got an upscale, distinctive look and a good keyboard/touch pad combo, but also weak audio and a big, bulky battery.

Read the full review here.

HP Mini 110
The good: Budget-friendly version of one of our favorite Netbooks.

The bad: Thicker and heavier than previous versions; included file-syncing software didn't impress us.

The bottom line: While the new, less expensive, HP Mini 110 doesn't stray far from the Mini 1000 mold, there are some subtle changes--not always for the best.

Read the full review here.

Acer Aspire One D250
The good: Rock-bottom price; slimmer size; improved touch-pad buttons.

The bad: Weak speakers; battery life mediocre; small keyboard.

The bottom line: For the price, it's hard to find fault with Acer's even cheaper version of the 10.1-inch Aspire One, as long as you're not expecting top-of-the-line features.

Read the full review here.

HP Mini 1151nr
The good: HP's already excellent Netbook adds 3G; subsidized Verizon price.

The bad: Expensive total cost of ownership with two-year data contract; fewer ports and connections than other Netbooks.

The bottom line: The HP Mini 1151NR's marriage of 3G with a Netbook feels like an obvious mashup of two useful technologies, but the overall package ends up being somewhat expensive.

Read the full review here.

Fujitsu M2010
The good: Bright, crisp screen; loud volume for a Netbook.

The bad: Bulky; smaller keyboard; expensive compared with similar Netbooks.

The bottom line: With a thick chassis and features that don't rise above the pack, the Fujitsu M2010 will have a hard time breaking through the clutter of less-expensive systems.

Read the full review here.

Note: We've also stuck all six of these Netbooks side by side, with specs, if you want to browse them that way.

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