Sacrificing a small amount of performance in favor of convenience and travel ease, netbooks are all the rage. It's easy to see why. While they won't let you play next year's hottest PC titles, they can handle a round or two of "Plants vs. Zombies," are great for watching videos on the plane, and are so light you won't notice them in your travel bag. These books all feature a 10-inch screens, 160GB hard drives, 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, and come packed with Windows XP Home Edition. It's the little details that set these flyweights apart.
Acer Aspire One D150
Pro: The cheapest book we tested also delivered the most well-rounded performance. We especially liked the five-hour battery life and its glossy, 1024 x 600 resolution, LED-backlit display.
Con: The Aspire's smaller keyboard makes typing a pain, but that's pretty standard for a netbook. The small and fussy trackpad, however, is subpar by any standard. The Aspire also lacks Bluetooth support.
Asus Eee PC Seashell 1008HA
Pro: One inch thick and little over 2.2 pounds, the Eee PC is adorably tiny, but feels roomy despite the size of its keyboard. The Eee PC also boasts over five hours of battery life on average. The 10GB of free online storage isn't bad either.
Con: The Eee PC costs more than other netbooks with no noticeable performance boost. The single mouse button feels clumsy, and the integrated battery means you can't upgrade to a bigger charge or carry around an extra for long trips. The glossy finish also attracts fingerprints.
Pro: Sporting a nearly full-sized keyboard, the NC10 is the most comfortable netbook we found for typing. We also loved its crisp, clean 1024 x 600 screen, solid five-hour battery, and quick boot-up speed.
Con: While not necessarily slow, the NC10 lagged the most on the net, and the system could use a bigger touchpad and second mouse button.
Toshiba Mini nb205
Rating: 9/10 Editor's Choice
Pro: The Toshiba boasted the best performance, battery life (up to 8 hours), and the trackpad of the bunch. If that isn't enough, it also comes with cool extras like hard drive impact sensors, which safeguard your data if dropped, and USB ports that charge devices even when the system is off.
Con: The Toshiba's wide load battery sticks out further than any of the others. If Toshiba fixed that and the screen's glassy glare, we might have the perfect netbook.
(c) 2009, Game Informer Magazine, published monthly
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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