There are tons of new options out there since Asus first wowed us with the EEE (except for Mac users), some of which come close to rivaling low-end notebooks in terms of power and functionality. But are netbooks really all they’re cracked up to be?
After spending some time with models from Asus, Lenovo and HP, PC Mag’s Michael J. Miller tenders his verdict on the devices. Generally, while they have a lot going for them, getting serious work done may pose a problem…
The other big issue is display size.10-in seems good enough for lots of uses, but the resolution is limited:The Acer and Lenovo systems have 1024 by 600 resolution displays, with the HP offering a slightly smaller 1024 by 576.(HP has announced a 1366 by 768 display but I haven’t seen one.) This makes for lots of vertical scrolling on all sorts of web pages.(I noticed this more on the Acer, which comes with both Google and McAfee toolbars pre-installed for IE, though of course you can remove those).This was particularly noticeable on mail sites when you want to see a preview of the mail message. Yahoo Mail, for instance, tells you its new look doesn’t work right on sites less than 1024 by 768, and it isn’t kidding (the reading pane is basically useless on that size.)But it’s an issue on a number of web sites, though in general, web browsing worked fairly well on all the machines.
There are a couple of hardware shortcomings here and there, and they are critical in evaluating the right netbook for you. But it seems that a lot of what’s hampering a business user stampede toward the devices is that these manufacturers shoehorned full-bodied desktop OSes and apps into these minuscule devices.