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A really cheap Netbook

The Asus Eee PC 900 can be had for only $300.

When I wrote an introduction to Netbooks a couple days ago, I mentioned some of the cheaper models but didn't include any from Asus. From what I'd read, their keyboards were on the smallish side, so that ruled them out for my adult fingers.

But I just ran across two Linux based Asus Eee PCs, model 900, selling for only $300, a price that forgives a multitude of sins.

There are too many Eee models for me to keep straight, but suffice it to say the 900 is last year's model. In the Netbook world, "last year" translates to a few months.

Best Buy is selling the 900A-WFBB01 for $299.99 with no rebates. It has no Webcam and two of the three reviews at BestBuy.com said the keyboard was small. Still, it comes with 1GB of RAM, a standard Intel Atom processor, a standard 8.9-inch screen running at the standard 1024x600 resolution, the obligatory media card reader and three USB ports. The solid state disk is only 4GB, definitely bottom of the line. The specs don't name the Linux distribution, but Asus uses a modified version of Xandros.

ZipZoomFly is selling the ASUS EEE PC 900-W017 for the same $299.99 (with free shipping), but only after a mail-in rebate. This, however, is a very different model 900. For one thing, it has 20GB of solid state storage instead of 4GB, and, it has a Celeron M processor rather than the Atom. It also includes a Webcam.

By way of comparison, two online retailers (Newegg and Microcenter) are selling yet another 900 model for $350. Each says theirs comes with an Intel Mobile processor and 16GB of solid state storage. What they share with their cheaper siblings is a gigabyte of RAM, the 8.9-inch screen and Linux. Yet again, the name of the Linux distribution remains a mystery. Newegg says there is a Webcam, Microcenter doesn't.

I haven't read any reviews of these machines, and, as I said in the previous posting, cheap isn't always the best way to go.

See a summary of all my Defensive Computing postings.