Features to Look for in Cheap Mini Laptops
Only a few years ago, small laptops were typically over $2000. These days, you can get cheap mini laptops for well under $400. The change was introduced with the Asus Eee PC, the netbook that had some very compromised features, but was only $300, and therefore sold like hotcakes. Before netbooks became popular, subnotebooks tried to cram the specs of a full laptop into a much smaller chassis. The specs of a barebone notebook are relatively modest: 1GB of RAM, 150GB of hard disk space, 3 UBS ports, a mult-format card reader, a .3 megapixel webcam and microphone comprise a standard entry level product. But the main features to consider when purchasing a small netbook are screen size and keyboard size.
The size of netbooks is primarily defined by their screen size, so when people refer to a “10 inch netbook”, they usually mean that the screen is around 10 inches—typically 10.1 to 10.3 inches diagonally. 10 inch netbooks are the most popular size, but personally, I prefer the 11.6 inch screen of my Acer Aspire One AO751h, which has since been replaced by the AO721. It’s important to measure the screen size not only by its physical width, but the resolution of the display. The Aspire One has a 1366 x 768 display (HD level), while most 10 inch netbooks have 1024 x 600 displays. If you edit images or spreadsheets, or plan to watch videos extensively, you should consider the higher resolution.
The keyboard size is another key aspect of the user experience. 10 inch netbooks have keyboards that are 92% of full size. This is fine for many users, but I definitely prefer the 100% full size keyboard on my 11.6 inch Acer netbook. The usability will ultimately depend on how you plan to use the device on a daily basis. If you’re using your netbook primarly to consume content, checking email and surfing the web, the smaller size probably won’t present too much of a problem. If you plan to write for extended periods, I would recommend getting a netbook with a full size keyboard.