Netbook Shopping and Buying Guide – 2013 Edition

A lot has been changing in the world of mini laptops aka netbooks. I’m not quite sure if it’s a concerted effort by the manufacturers or not, but the options in the netbook segment have been greatly reduced. If you want a cheap portable laptop in 2013 it’s going to be a challenge. If you don’t mind spending extra money certainly there are a number of premium netbook type laptops that can do all sorts of things like transform into tablets. In 2013 you will be able to find 11-inch Ultrabooks which are far more robust (expensive) than a netbook. You don’t mind spending extra on a secondary laptop? I would suggest that the netbook space of 10-inch to 12-inch sizes is getting quite muddled.

In early 2013 you can still find some great netbooks.

  • Asus (look for the Eee PC models) but once those sell out, they will be unavailable moving forward
  • Toshiba offers the 10-inch netbook NB510 model but not in the USA
  • Acer is still moving into 2013 supporting netbooks and offer some nice 11-inch options for a cheap price. What you should look for are the Acer Aspire One netbooks. Just to confuse you Acer also makes some higher end 11-inch ultraportable laptops which might fall out of the classic “netbook” category.
  • You can also pick up a HP Mini 1104 netbook which is pretty bare bones.

Overall if I had to recommend one over another, I would say definitely pick up an Asus Eee PC netbook if possible. You should be able to find one of the following: X101CH, 1011CX, 1225B or 1025C. The reasons for this recommendation include the fact that Asus are known for great netbook keyboards. They offer the best battery life also. Most of these models also feature a HDMI port which isn’t always included with netbooks but is a value added feature to have.

I did mention how the netbook space (laptops in the 10-inch to 12-inch sizes) is becoming quite confusing. I would imagine most people are looking for a cheap mobile computing solution when looking at netbooks.

How important is the Windows operating system to you? If it’s not, then you may want to consider a transformer style tablet/laptop hybrid. You will find these computers for a cheaper price because they are running the Android operating system which is commonly found on smartphones and tablets.

If you don’t mind spending a bunch more money, you can in fact get these types of computers with Windows 8. Really it comes down to price and what you ultimately need. Certainly you pay a heavy price for the option of being able to detach the display in the form of a tablet. Expect the marketplace to be flooded with 10-inch Windows 8 tablet/hybrid transformers in 2013. Most manufacturers have models out now or are releasing models in early 2013. Keep in mind that Windows RT is almost the same but is not the same as Windows 8. The Windows RT hybrids are cheaper, more designed for tablets, and cannot run older Windows apps or programs. If you want a full Windows 8 experience then avoid Windows RT powered convertible/hybrids. Just realize that you will be paying a top heavy price for these. It can be a bit frustrating if you consider that most 10-inch transformer style tablets with keyboard dock run with the common netbook Atom processor. It does seem that the pressure is on consumers to buy these because frankly I don’t see a lot of non touchscreen Windows 8 10-inch laptops coming to market. With technology and trends you just never know. It’s quite possible that within six months we will see these tablet transformer laptops drop in price significantly to the point that they are more near a premium netbook price. We’ve already see the Windows RT models drop in price so there is hope out there for some cheaper options.

A popular line from Asus named the Asus Transformer (Android) and Asus VivoTab (Windows 8) are great options to buy.

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