Holiday Gift Guide: NetbooksCNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman shows us his favorite picks this holiday season for those new Netbooks.
[ music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Santa Dan here with a very special holiday gift guide for you. Our topic today is Netbook. They might be the ultimate computer stocking stuffer, because at about $500 a pop they're certainly way cheaper than your average laptop. Since the last time we looked at Netbooks a whole bunch of big players have gotten into the market, including Dell, HP, and Lenovo. So we're gonna take a look at some of the more recent high profile Netbooks out there. A good place to start is the Dell Inspiron Mini 9. It's got a fairly standard set of Netbook components in a fairly attractive slim design. It doesn't really waste a lot of space. One thing we're not crazy about, they took away the function key row and just made it a secondary set of keys here along the letters, so that takes a little getting used to. And your hard drive options top out at a 16gig solid state drive. That's the Dell Inspiron Mini 9. Now Samsung has made and sold the laptops in pretty much every market except the U.S. for many years, and we've pretty much been fine with that arrangement. Now they have some American products, including this Netbook, the NC10. It's about as middle of the road and average as Netbooks get, not that there's anything wrong with that. We do like the nice fairly sizable keyboard on it. That is the Samsung NC10. Lenovo got into the Netbook market with the IdeaPad S10. We kind of like the thin squared off design. It's got a fairly decent keyboard, and it's got one unique feature you're not gonna find a lot of other places, that is an express card slot right here, so you can plug in all kinds of accessories, like a mobile broadband modem. Note that this is actually an express card 34 slot, the smaller of the two, not the larger express card 54 slot. That is the Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Probably our favorite from the current crop of Netbooks is HP's new Mini 1000. For one reason only, and that is it's gigantic keyboard; at least gigantic for a Netbook. It really feels almost like you're typing on a regular laptop keyboard. The keys are flat, they're large, they're close together, they really get the maximum, sort of, surface area for your fingers to type on. Now it doesn't have quite as many ports and connections as some of these other Netbooks, but if the tiny keys is what's keeping you away from a Netbook, you should defiantly check out this new one, the HP Mini 1000. Now Netbooks do a lot of things well, but let's be honest, gaming ain't one of them. So what if somebody took a standard Netbook and just kind of crammed in a discreet video card in there? Well ASUS did that with the new N10J. They took an invideo [phonetic] chip, stuck it in here, you can turn it off and on to save battery life. And it's not gonna give you a fantastic gaming experience, but as you can see it actually kind of works. You know, we can run around, we can shoot some guys, we had to turn the resolution down to 800 by 600, and most of the graphic settings to kind of low to medium, you get a fairly playable experience. So if you're looking to get your wow fix at the airport or at the coffee shop, this is pretty much the only Netbook game in town. Unlike the other systems we've seen where a decent configuration will set you back about $500, the N10J is $699. And that is from ASUS, the guys who pretty much invented the Netbook market. So now I'm gonna take all these Netbooks, load them up in my sleigh, and deliver them to good little boys and girls out there in technology land. If you're thinking of getting a Netbook for yourself or somebody on your holiday gift list, you know, bear in mind you've gotta keep your expectations modest. These systems are good for surfing the webs, and the emails, working on office documents, maybe even listening to a little music. Not much more than that, but that's really 90% of what we do with our laptops anyway, isn't it? I'm Santa Dan Ackerman, and that's our holiday gift guide for Netbook. ^M00:03:32