In our back-to-school 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 $349 and $399. In terms of hardware and components, they stuck with the standard Intel Atom N450 CPU (except for the HP Mini 210, which has a variation called the N455, allowing for newer DDR3 RAM), along with 1GB of RAM and 250GB hard drives.
Though we applaud the Dell Mini 10 for including a WiMax antenna, the limited availability of the service makes it hard to justify the $100 premium you'll pay over entry-level Netbooks, unless you live in a WiMax-enabled city (chances are you don't). Our overall favorite ended up being the Asus Eee PC 1018, which upgrades to a new design that's thin, sturdy, and attractive, with brushed metal replacing the usual plastic.
Note: Check out our roundup of retail laptops in all price ranges.
Check out details of each system below:
The bottom line: Asus reboots the Eee PC series (at least aesthetically) with this slick-looking metallic Netbook, the Eee PC 1018.
The bottom line: It has one of the best keyboard-and-touch-pad combos we've seen on a 10-inch Netbook, but HP's pink-hued Mini 210 is still a little pricey for what you get.
The bottom line: Samsung's solid N150 Netbook feels very roadworthy, but other Netbooks have a longer battery life.
The bottom line: This retail version of Dell's Inspiron Mini 10, called the iM1012-1091OBK, is the first WiMax Netbook we've seen, but that may not be of much use, depending on where you live.