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back to article Asus Eee PC 1015PEM

Will someone please do something interesting with the netbook. Even Asus, the company that created this category of computer, doesn't appear to be able to do anything with it, if it's latest Eee PC, the 1015PEM, is anything to go by. Asus Eee PC 1015PEM Asus' Eee PC 1015PEM: latest netbook tech on board That's not to say the …

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Megaphone

Asus, are you listening?

No, thought not.

I'll buy another eeepc when you go back to using SSDs and stop bundling an operating system.

You may have a market for the current offerings. My suggestion opens another market for you.

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Gold badge

Where Asus went wrong

The original Eeepc was made with low end components and had a paltry 4GB of storage. It was about £129 (yes, the price of a low end Android phone).

But for some people the specs were too low, screen was too small etc. These people were missing the point.

What Asus ended up doing is making a netbook with more expensive higher spec components when they really should have just waited for improved components to reduce in price.

In the end Microsoft must have bunged them some cash or threatened to hike their OEM fees for their Windows laptops as Asus stopped doing the Linux versions too.

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Was Linux a mistake for Asus?

I can't say I've found Linux to be a problem, though I've sometimes had to do a lot of hunting for info. But I don't think that Asus made a good choice: the Linux distro they chose was somewhat obscure, they had to provide support, and it all turned sour.

After an upgrade to Firefox, via Asus, prevented a couple of other programs from working, and there was no way to back out, short of reinstalling from the DVD, I switched to Ubuntu.

I suspect that Asus didn't have enough sales of Linux to maintain the staff needed to support it. I wonder how much of the hardware could have had the drivers open sourced. Did they try to keep Eee PC Linux under their control, and missed the point of Open Source?

Windows, on the other hand: no supplier of chipsets is going to ignore Windows support.

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Pint

It was all about sales.

Giles Jones wrote:

"In the end Microsoft must have bunged them some cash or threatened to hike their OEM fees for their Windows laptops as Asus stopped doing the Linux versions too."

The Atom netbook running XP was competitively priced with substantially better specs. It was an easy sell for the big box retailer like Walmart.

With good prospects for after-market sales of products like MS Office Home.

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Silver badge

Agreed

I still use a couple of Eee 900's, one as a video playback machine on an external monitor (main screen is smashed) controlled through VNC and a 2nd which is my carry-everywhere machine.

10 inch notebooks are too big to be portable for my needs, I find the keyboards on the 700/900 machines ideal sized and the SSD wins over spinning discs hands down, with how I treat my Eee's (they're a lot more rugged than you think) a traditional HD would have died eons ago.

R.I.P. availability of cheap 9" SSD netbooks.

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WTF?

Just what do you want ?

Hey look at this chair I'm sitting on, they haven't advanced much in centuries, neither has this spoon I'm using. It's a netbook for zeus's sake, it's merely a tool, it does what it says on the lid and not much more. I don't expect to be blown away, I wasn't expecting a full hd display, dual ssds, three week battery life, some super duper new UI that's so innovative that a 3 month old baby could operate it to tweet for a nappy change, just what are you hoping for ?

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Happy

Re: Just what do you want ?

Ah yes. But the chair and spoon industries (along with the chair wheel makers etc) don't all go titsup if you dont buy a new chair, spoon or whatever every year. Thus they don't have to keep dreaming up ways of making you think you must have the latest spoon to live.

Someone's gotta pay Intel to keep making ever better specified Atoms and that someone is you and me.

Back in the day, Intel and their cronies just used to bung MS a few quid to add some cruft into the next round of updates and force everyone to upgrade. These days we all howl like SOBs when a new OS release drops a clog onto our systems and they can't get away with that one any more.

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What about Linux?

How does it perform with Ubuntu or similar - would be interested to see the difference over Windows 7.

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Iinux - should be adequate

I have a home desktop system (fan-less, always on) based on a mini-ITX Atom D550. About the same spec as this netbook apart from a big 3.5in disk. Linux, Firefox, Openoffice adequate. Video playback (at 1280x1024) sometimes not quite so.

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Linux

Maybe a couple of years out...

OK, perhaps I'm a purist on such matters, but in my view, the "netbook" ceased to exist when they started fitting such machines with hard drives, and installing hamstrung versions of MS Windows instead of Linux (around, ooh, 2008, IIRC). From that time on, AFAIC, they became "small laptops".

Perhaps the Google Chrome OS machines due in 2011 will resurrect the original "netbook" concept (small, lightweight, solid-state data storage, etc.), but I still won't be buying one while my Asus Eee 701SD* is still running.

Light blue touchpaper, dive for cover... ;-)

* - Ironically, I think the "perfect" netbook was the original Acer Aspire One, though I would've slapped Ubuntu on it as soon as I got it home...

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"why the Asus - and other netbooks, to be fair - are so darn thicker."

Hard disk. Battery.

Incidentally, how hard is it to swap the HD on this thing?

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Anonymous Coward

re:Incidentally, how hard is it to swap the HD on this thing?

If it's anything like the 12** series, a bit of a PITA. You have to void the warranty, remove the keyboard and top of chassis and then swap em. Takes about 1/2 an hour if you're fairly happy taking the thing apart.

Performed this operation on my 1201n, originally had a 5400RPM, swapped for a 7200RPM and the laptop was noticeably snappier. Still, no where near the performance of an SSD (my old 901 could boot ubuntu in about 15-20s on its 4 and 16GB SSDs)

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Something different?

Like the Dell netbook/tablet?

I can't seem to find your review of that...

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Anonymous Coward

thick vs thin

Whilst I can see the advantages of a thin mobile phone... a netbook for the most part going to travel inside a padded laptop bag; rather than gigantic pockets!

If it weighs a ton, that's a portability issue, otherwise it's just one of superficial aesthetics.

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hotcakes

And they are made like hotcakes too.

I've been giving advice to people not to get a netbook for their kids and get a cheap full sized laptop only to have them try and sell it to me after they ignored my advice.

I have now got almost 20 netbooks now and I see so many offered for sale. Other than my orginal 701, I haven't bought a new one because there is always a slighty used one offer. They just don't live up to peoples expectations and many people are looking to off load them after a few months.

Still, they make great security cameras units and cheaper too although taking the camera out of the unit and attaching them to longer wires is getting harder with some of the newer ones. They seem to be trying to stop people from modding these things.

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Go

Yep

Small, sweet and make you happy.

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Anonymous Coward

Just a teensy weensy little notebook

This is a netbook at a notebook price point - I can buy a real computer for 349 quid! The excitement of early netbooks was small cheap lightweight computers that redefined the model. Now they're just small screen notebooks at big screen notebook prices.

The netbook market needs manufacturers that don't have Wintel notebook products that would get cannibalised by true netbooks. So the next successful "netbook" may be a clamshell tablet with a keyboard.

PS has anyone tried buying a notebook without Windows (or OSX) on it recently?

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Anonymous Coward

Proof...

that if you want a thin quality product you have to pay for it. None apple PC tards do not seem to grasp the concept of you-get-what-you-pay-for, I buy Apple, i get top quality (ahem!) gear.

ok, some self mockery there, but if i want a thin and powerful netbook(!!), buy a macbook air 11.6...

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Do something exciting?

They don't need to do something exciting. They just need to make the machines small and cheap, like they're supposed to be, instead of costing as much as a laptop.

The fact that these companies never integrate a 3G modem (at least as an option) is also completely unfathomable to me. These are machines that are made to be used on the move - living without internet access, or having a huge great dongle poking out of the side are not great options.

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3G was an option on the original Aspire One

I bought a rather fetching golden brown A110-A in August'09 which came complete with 16Gb SSD, 1Gb RAM and 3G modem for £197 inc vat and delivery from eXpansys complete with a version of linux pre-installed - I think this was an EU import version. I've added an extra 512Mb of RAM (tenner), a huge 7800mAh battery (30 quid), Intel Wireless N pci-e card (4 quid!), Bluetooth (£2) and installed Ubuntu netbook remix ... topped off with a Three £5/month for 1 gig of 3G usage SIM card .. sweet.

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I lost interest

when they stopped using the model on the beach.

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Thumb Down

Yep,

Yet another sign of ASUS losing the plot.

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faulty netbook report

The review of this Asus netbook is seriously flawed, simply because the reviewer assumes that the only way for this computer to have acceptable performance is by running Windows OS, and to do that the Netbook needs to become bloated.

If the reviewer runs one of the Netbook optimized Linux distributions, that will prove the computer is quite "snappy" and needs less bloat.

The argument/case of "popularity" of Windows over Linux is not the question or even important, but fair, intelligent and competent technical reviews are. Not stupid Microsoft shills with one point of view, and little broad technology experience.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: faulty netbook report

We review the products as sold, not as a handful of nerds - this one included - might like them to be.

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Anonymous Coward

Mine's a Dell 910 - with 2GB memory

I agree with The Brave Sir Robin - about the 9" screen and SSD - but mine's an irreplaceable Dell Mini-9 that has a 16GB SSD, 16GB SDHC and the 3G modem (also sat-nav enabled) and it runs XP, perceptibly as fast as Linux, once booted.

Netbooks are the right size for sitting on the arm of chair for reading - don't have to hold it as I would a tablet, and obviously quicker than tablets as well as Flash & iPlayer etc capable. Dells are easy to maintain, I swapped keyboard for larger keys US-version, as well as SSD and memory.

In order to save wear and rear on SSD, part of 2GB memory is configured as a RAM drive for Firefox and other temporary file use - which significantly speeds up browser use too. Only fault is battery life away from home, but not a problem now because of use of Android phone for some functions.

I imagine most netbook users upgrade to 2GB memory despite Microsoft - so reviews might better reflect this rather than Tony Smith's:

"We review the products as sold, not as a handful of nerds - this one included - might like them to be."

Surely you could take a review model, and test it with the maximum possible memory, with how easy, or not, it is to upgrade being a valued part of the review.

It should only take a few minutes to change memory - and the point is that DDR3 should be making a difference compared to first generation DDR2 netbooks.

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Silver badge

Well report a faulty netbook then

there seems to be an army of us out here that want the same and no manufacturer seems to have the courage to go near it or if they do they put a crippled Windows on it make sure its a dog.

If there's anyone at the reg with a usb stick they can boot the thing up into, say, ubuntu netbook edition and see how it flies. This things more powerful than any of my desktop machines at home and I have no performance problems with any of them.

You published it in the Hardware section - be nice to hear about the hardware not the crap it comes with,

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But we are nerds.

The Register is for nerds.

Why write Register reviews for non-nerds?

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WTF?

Tablet foundling...?

You guys sure are enamored with tablets aren't you. O_O;;

With a tablet I can't sit on a bus typing out my latest what-ever-I'm-working-on or run any of my productivity software yet.

Most of the programs as of now are just play toy software for entertainment only making the tablets nothing more than a wonderful computer toy or adults. I hope real programs to actually get real business done find there way to the tablet some day. ^^;;

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Stop

Bezelfest

Why do all netbooks look like they have oversized bezels? Maybe it's the small size,

kind of "These cows are very small, but those are far away" syndrome maybe.

But if your going to make the thing 10" across at least fill the lid with screen and add some more pixels.

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Jobs Horns

Not easy.

Yeah I always thought that. Using my netbook now to type this and there's a 2cm plastic margin round the screen.

I think the reason is that since Asus don't make screens themselves, they're probably dependent on what size/resolutions of screens are available in sufficient quantities. If there's no companies producing screens of particular dimensions then there's not much they can do about it.

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Thumb Down

More pixels

Microsoft won't let them ship more pixels.

The netbook-class (cheap) MS license stipulates a 1024x600 screen. If they sold one with more pixels it would need a full license and cost more. Of course they could ship it with Linux and no MS license at all, but they won't. Some day we'll find out if they are being strong-armed by MS - or whether the Linux market is just too small and the return rate from the clueless just too high.

The next wave might be Android netbooks (ie with a keyboard, rather than a tablet. and finding out whether they can be reloaded with Linux instead.

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Jobs Horns

b4st4rds

That's great info!

Didn't realise MS were stipulating that in their netbook licenses... pffft. Stifling innovation!

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Meh...

It weighs 1.27 kg. Compare that to the original 701 at 0.92 kg. A better netbook has to be a lighter netbook. Portability is the point with these things.

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Shifting gears

"you can see the difference shifting up a gear from "High Performance" mode to "Super Performance" makes by looking at the PCMark 05 scores for each, but it's not going to make applications load any more quickly."

I'm a happy user of an Asus Eee PC 1005. And I accept that for the impressive batterylife (7 hours with Wifi on, more than 9 without it) I have to sacrifice on snappiness. The "gear shifting" I use for running those applications, that would otherwise not run properly, e.g. Skype or playing high-res video's. Esp. Skype, with its varying demand on CPU cycles, doesn't work well in Auto-Performance modes.

You don't buy a netbook because it's very fashionable (there are iPads and Airs for that). You buy them because you want a versatile tool while on the road, without getting your shoulder dislocated from carrying it, and without having to plunder your savings when buying it.

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FAIL

netbooks

Well Reg, all due respect, but you keep bundling netbooks with high percentages for the same drivel over and over again. Oh look another netbook, same as the past three years with minor changes. Oh, the price is higher on this one. Goody. Lets dole out yet another 75%

Netbooks should have been downmarked some time ago. Rising prices on the same parts is a no no. Even the slow changes are minor.

Bluntly, no netbook should get over 60% - unless it has ION. Unless it has gig ethernet, unless it breaks the mould.

And you should long ago have doled out a hammering on units that tried to lock out upgrades. Bones points should have gone to units that had hard disk slots and memory slots for upgrades. Bonus points for being able to boot from the SD card slot and so on.

Having an upgradable netbook is a huge bonus over ones that have vendors who are playing nasty. Its really time the reg started kicking back hard on vendors who play such games. And I suspect people would happily pay less for a model that had an 80GB drive that was easily upgradable later and could take 3GB of ram (ION) later.

And lastly, ION has been around a long time now. If vendors want to charge over £250 for these units, its time they shipped with ION, or got down marked.

Reg take note.

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FAIL

Netbooks jumped the shark...

...after the EEE PC 901. I have one of these and I love it. SSD, came with Linux, fairly good battery life, 9" screen, white keyboard which can be seen in low light using light from the screen. The 9" screen makes it nice and small and usable more or less anywhere.

I dread the day when it dies as there is no current equivalent replacement for it. No a tablet is NOT a suitable alternative.

The 901 is about the most useful and best gadget I've ever owed. I wish they'd go back to the original netbook concept.

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Linux

Agreed

The only netbook I'd be in the market for now would be a revamped 901.

9 (maybe 10) inch, a decent amount of solid state storage, 2+ GB of RAM, nVidia Ion GFX, decent battery life. I can cram linux on afterwards but would prefer not to give money to MS.

Yeah, the 901 was and still is a fantastic machine. I've replaced most of the parts in mine over time so I now have one with 2GB of RAM, 68GB of fast solid state storage and a replacment wireless card and camera so it's now MacOS X compatible :)

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oh noes

I love my 901 but the left mouse button is getting erratic :(

The missus has an MSI Wind and its just not the same in terms of build quality, style and everything.

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J 3
FAIL

Comparable?

I wonder how comparable these scores are to previous reviews ones. Specially since the machines used different OS. But in case they are comparable, netbook makers are sure taking the piss...

I just went to look at the numbers in the 1000HE (running Win XP) review, and there isn't much difference compared to this "new" netbook... TWO years later! Battery life was actually quite a bit better then than now.

Funny how the netbook market does not follow the common trend in all the rest of computing.

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Jobs Horns

Netbooks are winners, forget those original netbooks

Asus eee 1005HA-H here for the last 18 months and it's brilliant.

So at £260 it was a bit more than the original netbooks... but did anyone actually use those? The tiny screens with massive black borders, cut-down Linux-based OS, 2hr battery life and joke of internal SSD? They were like one of those chunky Psion PDA things.

Anyone who thinks current netbooks are overpriced then clearly the device is not for them... stick to an iPad for double the price or a massive beast Retard Bell laptop from PC World.

Mine cost £60 more than a frapping iPod MP3 player!

I actually set up a friends original eee and I could not believe how slow the SSD in there was, 8GB or something, with another 20GB of even slower SSD.

I'd rather have a conventional 2.5" HDD with the option to put an SSD in myself, than a glorified Compact Flash card, which is what it felt like was shoved in there.

So on to my experience with the netbook...

I get over a full week of 45min commutes to/from work out of the battery and it does everything I need. I still use Office XP which goes like the clappers these days on netbook hardware. Web browse, email, spreadsheet, putty, jedit, media player classic, VLC, bit of GIMP/Inkscape. You have to be realistic with the screen, the 600px vertical res takes a bit of getting used to but I think Asus released a newer version about 4 months after mine which is 1024x768.

Also you need to not be a moron and install every program/application ever made on there, but that should be a standard warning for all Windows XP installations.

And all that for a mass of just under 1.2Kg and full 9hr battery life? Winner!

If anyone else can find anything else with the same battery life, mass, size, performance and usability; then let me know. Seriously.

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Linux

OK, I'll bite...

"So at £260 it was a bit more than the original netbooks... but did anyone actually use those? The tiny screens with massive black borders, cut-down Linux-based OS, 2hr battery life and joke of internal SSD? They were like one of those chunky Psion PDA things."

Ahem... I did, and still do :-)

Granted, I occasionally wish the screen on my Eee 701SD had an extra inch or two on it, but as the 701 is just about the only machine which will fit on a typical train's "tray-table", I can forgive it. Also, the Eee's version Xandros Linux (quirky, outdated and not updated) lasted barely two months before I stuck Eeebuntu on it, and now the machine flies.

2-hour battery life... you're not a SETI/Folding@home user, are you? Again, with typical use, my 701 averages three to four hours on battery (it's the "stock" one); maybe Eeebuntu is particularly adept at managing power use? SSD... well, I have no complaints, though occasionally I wish for a 16Gb one...

And one more thing: I'm a former Psion owner - don't knock 'em :-)

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Linux

SWMBO begs to differ here...

I haven't seen my 701 back since she laid a hand on it. She uses it for all girlies related things, out my basic geek's understanding capabilities. Shopping from the couch, chatting with friends in the bedroom, hunting down cooking recipes and trying them outright following the instructions with the eeepc near the chopping slab.

She loves the pearly colour and the fact it fits in her handbag. She's got a regular notebook and a desktop PC, but she barely uses them anymore. She coaxed me into turning her PC into a kind of NAS for storage only over wifi. She likes the very straightforward linux environment, too. Easier than a phone to use, as she says.

I tried for a while to get it back, to no avail, and even lured her recently toward 'better' or 'shinier' tablets, but somehow the feeble resolution of the eeepc is what's holding her back, because /per pixel/, it's better than many alternatives (she wears glasses and appreciates not squinting at the screen ; there are few pixels on the 7", but they are *big*).

I had to buy myself a 900A to replace this loss.

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Jobs Horns

Not dissing Linux

I'm absolutely not dissing Linux (I dual-boot on my main laptop and desktop machines).

But for me that extra bit of dosh is so worth it... it's the 9hr battery and 1024x600 screen that make it for me.

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Gates Horns

Once again may I give thanks

to MS and Intel for killing the netbook market deader than dead.

When they first arrived, netbooks were very small, robust, underpowered and very cheap.

Who would want that?

Wintel and their army of shills and fandboys, being much smarter than us realised how bad those netbooks were and, thankfully, put them to the sword.

Of course our Wintel friends didn't just kill those horrible netbooks off and leave us with nothing.

Once they got rid of them we were all allowed to purchase their replacements, the large, fragile, underpowered and expensive notbooks.

Notbooks are sort of like netbooks, without any of the things that defined netbooks in the first place.

People across the world rejoiced at being now able to use their new notbooks to run Photoshop and MS office on their new device. The fact that they could buy a proper laptop for the same price and run these things 10 x faster doesn't matter at all.

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It's not a netbook.

At least I don't think it is. It's just a crippled laptop with a smaller screen, smaller keyboard, smaller hdd, less memory, slower cpu, just as bad battery life and the same or greater price. On any other planet that would be called a rip off. If you want a dinky laptop and are prepared to pay a premium for it great, but other wise I can't see how it relates to the original EEEEEEEEEEE Pc.

A netbook to my mind should be all about Internet connectivity, mobility and ease and speed of use. That means a low power cpu, lightweight OS (not Windows), 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth, Instant on, online storage for email, docs etc. with an SD Card instead of a hdd for temporary storage when offline and automatic syncing when back online all for £99 a pop.

An iPad covers most of this criteria (albeit not price). Obviously that's not for everyone and if that doesn't do what you want then you need a laptop not a netbook (maybe even a small over priced laptop).

Fortunately Google seem to have this sussed out. Give them a few more months and I expect Googles Chrome OS machines to be selling by the container ship load, whilst the usual naysayers will completely miss the point and be decrying the lack of a 1TB hdd and GeForce 10Petaflop GPU.

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Best Netbook

I have never actually tried one but the Mio Lightbook looks like the best netbook, it has:

32gb ssd!

Windows XP

8.9" screen

950 Grams weight

Slim dimensions

Costs only gbp189!!

Got to be the best allround spec for a true Netbook and can be bought from Maplins.

Only weak area is the battery, which I suppose is in the interest of lightness.

Some models even have GPS although Maplin make no mention of that.

If I did not already have an Aspire one I'd buy one of these like a shot.

Please test one Reg. the makers deserve a bit of promotion for producing just what people have asked for.

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Mio 1210N ?

I just Googled to find out more, and discovered that there is supposedly a Mio 1210N as well, which is its big brother with the 12 inch 1366x768 screen. (Well, not quite, it also has an Athlon Neo CPU and Chipset)

This model appears to be unobtainium. Is that a conspiracy I'm smelling?

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No Built in 3g? I bed to differ...

> The fact that these companies never integrate a 3G modem (at least as an option) is also completely unfathomable to me.

My HP Mini 210 has a built in 3G modem from Qualcomm. Works well (as soon as I removed the horrible bloated HP Connection Manager, at least)

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