Acer – Steadily and sturdily manufacturing model after model to keep up with the market, Acer is a safe bet for quality, but up to very recently, hasn’t offered much to differentiate itself from the huge market. The ultra-lux Ferrari model will probably change that opinion pretty quickly with it’s unmistakable bright red shell (including he Ferrari logo). Featuring one of the fastest processors, this eye-candy lives up to it’s name, though one of its most appreciated features will no doubt be it’s incredibly spacious keyboard, featuring keys larger than most laptops.
ASUS – This is where it all started, the Asus Eee PC. Its original 7” screen left some people wondering if this was a baby‘s first PC toy or some kind of larger Blackberry mobile phone. Asus has evolved a lot since then, developing a wide range of models catering to almost any specification, whether for business or for pleasure. The Asus Ee Pc 900 is one of their more popular models, featuring a sensibly larger display screen. As for the Eee series, the 1005HA model will probably be one of the most popular this holiday season with a whopping 10.5 hours of battery time besides offering one of the fastest processors in the market. The new Asus definitely isn’t confusing anyone these days, it still may be used as a toy, but one for the more grown-up user who plays Video Poker in between video conference calls.
Dell – A voraciously aggressive marketer, Dell has fully embraced the netbook feeding frenzy with its Inspiron mini series. There’s not a lot of huge technological advances coming from Dell, but they offer a very sturdy and very customizable chassis, allowing the shopper to pick and choose what options suit their needs the best. For all the advertising, Dell has ended up on the pricier side in terms of value for performance.
HP – A well established company, HP has consistently produced laptops with fantastic display quality, and this certainly holds true for their netbook models. HP mini 311 is a good example, holding up great performance with a 1080p resolution. Considering the low-end price, HP is a very attractive choice for anyone looking for a quality netbook without breaking the bank.
Lenovo – a lesser known Chinese brand, Lenovo is gaining a lot of popularity for it’s amazingly competitive price for the same technology offered by its competitors. This brand will, no doubt, gain some recognition in the next few years.
MSI – There seems to be no other single model recommended so often and so emphatically as the MSI – Wind. With a keyboard configuration much more similar to that of a standard laptop (due, in part, to the wonderful idea of giving us a conventionally placed SHIFT key!) This single feature is probably more significant than you would think. If you are a first time netbook buyer, definitely compare an MSI model before making a final decision. Of course the keyboard layout isn’t the only good feature. MSI scores high across the board for customer service, screen quality, performance, and pretty much any other point of comparison besides price, but this is definitely a model to look at if you’re not on such a strict budget.
Samsung – Along with HP, Samsung offers superior display quality. The latest model N510 features true HD 1080p resolution with some pretty stellar specs in every area. As always, Samsung is quality designed, and performance standards are high, but so is the price.
Sony – once the giant of all electronics, Sony has taken some slack the past few years, and subsequently it’s reputation overall has taken a hit. Don’t let this shy you away from a VAIO netbook, however. Sony is on top of the 3G integration, and has a very compact and efficient design. The screen quality is also one of the finest available. On the superficial side, Sony definitely has an edge on chic designs, with an interesting selection of colors available. On the downside, don’t expect this looker to be light on the wallet.
Toshiba – As a late contender into the netbook frenzy, the Toshiba Mini NB205 might be able to carve a niche into the saturated market. It offers the standard processing power, but with a fantastic 9-hour battery life. Add in a very user friendly keyboard and attractive design, and you’ve got a successful last-minute contestant, especially considering the bargain price (originally $399, but look to see some great deals during the holiday rush).