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Netbooks galore

December 4, 2008 @ 9:58am

When I read "Netbooks galore," I hear Sean Connery's voice in my head saying it. Do you?

Anyway, I want to love netbooks, I really do. I own a Sony UMPC (the VAIO UX390N) that I don't use very often and a MacBook Air that I use as my primary computer. A netbook would be a great device in between of those two — smaller than the Air and not as hard to use as my Sony. (The Sony has a keyboard that's worse than the one you'd find on a BlackBerry, is running Windows Vista on 1GB of RAM, has a tiny 32GB SSD that couldn't hold even half of my music and has built-in ultra-slow Cingular Edge service.)

For me, the big strike against getting a netbook is the performance. Netbooks max out at 1GB of RAM. From what I've heard, they can't have more than 1GB or they'd have to pay for a full Windows OS license and the prices would soar. Already with my Air's 2GB of RAM I have trouble running all the apps I usually have open: Safari, Firefox, iTunes, MAMP, Eclipse, Adium, Microsoft's Remote Desktop and a few others. So I'm more likely to trade up my Air to get a fully-powered MacBook with more RAM than I am to trade down to a netbook. Plus I'd have trouble justifying using a netbook as a (nearly) pocket-sized device when my 3G iPhone can do so many things.

What got me thinking about netbooks? Obsessable ran a comparator with ten popular netbooks yesterday. It compared the features and specs of the Acer Aspire One, Asus Eee PC 1000, Asus S101, Averatec Buddy, BenQ Joybook Lite U101, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, HP Mini 1000, Lenovo IdeaPad S10 and MSI Wind U120

They're all so cheap — between $329 and $888 — and while I'd ditch my Sony UMPC for any of them in a heartbeat, I just can't see replacing either my iPhone or MacBook Air with any of them. Even if the netbook runs Mac OS.

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