Now that you are planning on buying a netbook, it’s time to find out what model and brand to choose from. Well, were glad you’ve stopped here! Hopefully we can help you understand what the best small laptop computer features are and what are the best netbook brands to buy.
Considering the netbook brand before purchasing is essential as the market today is filled with numerous laptop brands. Global shipment is expected to reach 32.7 million units this year and more brands are expected to hit the market.
Asus started the netbook phenomenon in 2007. Acer, Samsung, MSI, Toshiba, Dell, HP, Sony, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Gateway, Gigabyte and Panasonic have since muscled their way in; all have models worthy of consideration.
Most of these brand owners do not manufacture the mini laptops themselves but rather focus on sales and marketing of their brand. They outsource the manufacturing to third party manufacturers under an arrangement known as Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
An OEM manufactures the mini computers which are purchased by a purchasing company and retailed under the purchasing company’s brand name. The practice of utilizing OEMs relies on their ability to drive down the cost of production through economies of scale.
Often a major computer manufacturer will make the small laptops and different brands will customize the exterior and aesthetics to fit their branding strategy. What this means is that basically all the netbooks are more or less the same under the hood and they differ only on the exterior.
To set themselves apart each brand often offer more than one model each with its own distinct features and specification. How do they differ? They differ in processors, chipsets, screen sizes, storage types and sizes and prices.
Read also: Best Netbooks for Gaming & College
ASUS started the netbook phenomenon with their Eee PCs and has continued to be the trendsetter with their innovative products. According to Asus, the name Eee derives from the three Es, an abbreviation of its advertising slogan for the device: Easy to learn, Easy to work, Easy to play.
It is the top selling netbook brand in the market right now. In the hourly updated mini computer bestsellers at Amazon you are sure to to see more than one Asus model hitting the top ten ranking chart.
Asus small laptops have won rave praises from consumers for thier excellent design and performance. Users can optimize system performance for whatever task at hand through Asuss proprietary ASUS Super Hybrid Engine and Express Gate (ASUS’s special mini-operating system) technologies. Their main strength is the long battery life of their devices.
While Asus pioneered the 7-inch netbook it was MSI Wind (stands for Wi-Fi Network Device) that introduced the 10 inch small-notebook which is wide enough to display almost all websites without any annoying horizontal scrolling.
The form factor on almost all MSI Wind models is simple, with rounded corners that make it easy to slip into a backpack or purse without having to worry about sharp edges. All in all, the customers have great things to say about the MSI products.
Whichever small laptop computer you decide to go with, however, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least look MSI netbooks too, to provide a basis for comparison.
While Asus and MSI were busy innovating the netbook, Acer took a backseat to research consumer expectations in a mini-notebook. From their research, Acer has always been able to design small laptops that met customer’s wants and needs. However, Acer Aspire One can be considered as a sort of underdog in this race.
Many of their products do not have the high-end specs as in Asus netbooks nor the branding behind Toshiba Mini models. Acers lack in those aspects is made up in other areas.
It has sealed its spot in the netbook bestseller list through gorgeous design and competitive pricing. Till today, Acer mini-notebooks remain to be one of the most affordable models in the market.
An HP netbook always look more upmarket than most other small laptops and helps you get noticed. Thats largely due to its expensive-looking lids. It is not only in the looks department that HP score high but you can also be assured of getting a durable and reliable computing platform. Their keyboard designs are easily one of the best in the market and makes typing feel close to typing on a full sized keyboard.
All in all, HP laptops brings best value for money with all-round features, functionality, technology, support, durability, portability and design features.
Consumers perceive dell as a highly innovative company that keeps on making breakthroughs with one-of-a-kind innovations. No wonder Dell has so large base of loyal customers. A good example of how Dell keeps consumers captivated is the Dell DataSafe Online backup service which is offered as an optional feature on Dell laptops.
Dell was also the first brand to introduce 12-inch mini-notebooks with Windows Vista and pushing netbooks into the notebook territory. Dell Mini rises above the competition with its impressive build quality, excellent screen, great keyboard and long battery life.
If you’re looking for a workhorse small notebook, its a great option. Dell small laptops are pricier than the lower end counterparts, the price is well justified considering the innovative features and services the Dell customers get to enjoy.
Lenovo netbooks are rated highly for connectivity and comfort of use. Their sturdy design and light weight make them very popular with corporate users.
Consumers perceive these machines with high esteem due to the advanced features they comes with. Most of all, Lenovo computers are designed by Levono – the makers of the award-winner ThinkPad!
Lenovo (part of IBM) is a very well trusted brand in the laptop industry as they have been making very durable and reliable laptops for decades. Cutting edge technology does cost more.
And Levono products are meant to satisfy those who’re willing to get the premium quality technology, stylish looks and the latest of innovations for a premium price. So despite the fact that these machines are pricier than the typical ones in the market, the price is well justified.
Toshiba is relatively a new player in the small-notebook market. Despite its late entry, has been making waves with its Toshiba Mini.The success of this mini computer model is mainly due to its very appealing design, great keyboard and its great feature set.
In keeping with the brand name of Toshiba, the netbook line is good value for the price you pay, and come with high-end engineering and improved features in many aspects than the other cheaper brands. Their keyboard design uses isolated keys which not only appear quite large, but they’re also well spaced out, so your fingers don’t feel cramped as you type.
Its combination of stunning looks, good performance and impressive battery life make it one of the best all-rounders that you can buy.
Samsung is a reputable manufacturer of electronic products and their Netbooks have a solid and robust design. Samsung mini-notebooks are known for innovative features that offers convenience to someone who need mobile computing.
It is loved by frequent travelers and outdoor-oriented worker for its exceptional battery life and a generous connectivity features.
Its super sleek and professional/businesslike look sets these machines apart from those cheaper and shiny peers. Some people say that the design features make these machines look more posh than they really are. In any case, the optimized mobility and productivity features provides customers with maximum bang for their bucks.
Gateway (now owned by Acer) has finally made its entry into the netbook market with very classy and elegant netbooks. Until recently, the Acer Aspire One has been the most affordable model in the market. All that is set to change with the new Gateway products.
If you’ don’t expect your Gateway netbooks to be as good as a desktop, you’ll be pretty impressed. Compared to most other products, these machines are simply great! The bottom line is that, for consumers who’re not planning to run Photoshop or Premiere or to render a 3D movie, these machines are pretty satisfying.
Sony netbooks are designed with aesthetics in mind to balance beautiful form with highly functional computing features. They often have lots of specs and features not found in other brands, justifying its premium price tags.
Sony Vaio Netbook line brings exotic products for style and performance seekers who’re ready to pay the minimal amount of price for it. Just take a look at the advanced functionality and mind blowing design of these machines.
It’s not a well known fact that Fujitsu sells netbooks. And it’s also not a well known fact that Fujitsu devices are very well made. Many of their models are actually made in Japan, which explains the higher pricing demanded by Fujitsu over their competition.
Gigabyte has been very succesful in carving out a niche for itself in bringing touch screen technology to netbooks. Their convertible tablet pc netbook is popularly known for its innovative features such dynamic swiveling touch screen with a multi-touch touchpad that provides easy and responsive touch control with handwriting recognition input options.
Panasonic Toughbook is a line of ruggedized netbooks that can withstand various levels of water, dust, bumps, drops, and temperature extremes is also known as the “Let’s Note” in Japan (we wonder who thinks of these names?).
Panasonic Toughbook is not only tough in design but also carries tough features such as Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, sunlight-viewable touchscreen display, GPS Navigation system and more.
Not for the average user and price range about $2,000 $4,000.
What is the Best Netbook Brand?
No matter what the brand, netbooks are basically more or less the same under the hood. Just about every netbook is built around Intel’s Atom processor and comes with 1 Gigabyte of RAM and a hard drive of minimum 160 Gigabytes.
You see that most netbooks have a 10.1-inch screen, has a 1.3 megapixel webcam, has at least two or three Universal Serial Bus ports, comes with an integrated Intel graphics chip, a Wi-Fi wireless networking and a Secure Digital memory card slot. Typically they fall within the price range of $299 to $399.
But despite their similarities, netbooks vary in four critical aspects:
- Strength of connectivity
- Usability Comfort
- Battery life
The manufacturers are trying to improve on the four critical aspects to corner a bigger market share. However, they also face a significant challenge with consumers whose expectations are based on years of desktop PC usage.
Markets are shaped, not by the products that manufacturers produce, but by the products that consumers purchase. People vote with their dollars.
Manufacturers respond by making more of what sells – and less of what does not sell. Our advice is to stick with the better-known brands. Venturing off the beaten path with lessor-known brands is an adventure for those who have more experience with computers.
Although those recognized brands may be a little bit more costly, the computer newbie will appreciate the convenience in buying a laptop from company that has a long record of developing excellent products.
Another benefit of buying a reputable netboook brand is the availability of wider selection of accessories for it on the market. As long as you stick to the brands mentioned above you cant go wrong.