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Spring 2010 retail Netbook roundup

Find out which Netbook came out on top in the spring 2010 version of our retail laptop roundup.

In our spring 2010 roundup of retail-specific laptops, we've divided our 25-plus systems into four different price categories, from sub-$600 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 cost between $329 and $379. In terms of hardware and components, all three were very close to identical, with Dell's M1012-687OBK dropping from a 250GB hard drive to a 160GB one and sticking to basic b/g Wi-Fi instead of 802.11n. The $329 Asus Eee PC 1005PEB offered the best overall value; the Samsung NP-N210 had a snazzy design, but little else to justify its price of $379.

It wouldn't be hard to get a similar set of components for as little as $299 by shopping around online, but if you need a new Netbook right away, and want that in-store instant gratification, our overall favorite from this list was the Asus Eee PC 1005PEB, thanks to its lower price.

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

Check out details of each system below:

Dell Inspiron Mini iM1012-687OBK
The bottom line: This retail version of Dell's Mini 10 Netbook, called the iM1012-687OBK, has a great battery, but chances are it's sitting on a shelf right next to a less expensive Netbook with a bigger hard drive.
Read the full review here.

Asus Eee PC 1005PEB
The bottom line: This retail version of the popular Eee PC Netbook, the 1005PEB, hits the required notes, and is a little less expensive than many other retail Netbooks (but more than some online models).
Read the full review here.

Samsung NP-N210-JA02US
The bottom line: Though it has some useful software tools, there's nothing special about the Samsung NP-N210-JA02US's components or performance. At $379, it's much more expensive than comparable Netbooks.
Read the full review here.

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