Laptop Magazine has just posted a roundup of the latest 10-inch netbooks. They tested six netbooks including the Acer Aspire One 10-inch, Asus Eee PC 1000HE, HP Mini 1000, Lenovo IdeaPad S10, MSI Wind U120 and Samsung NC10. Prices range from around $350 for most models to around $450 for the Samsung NC10.
There's not a whole lot to say about performance since all six use the same Intel Atom processor and chipset (a pretty good argument for some competition from Nvidia or elsewhere to shake things up). All of them were able to handle "standard-resolution video, multitask, video-conference and even play World of Warcraft (at low frame rates) reasonably well." The HP Mini 1000 lagged behind on few tests because it has slower, 4,200rpm hard drive (the rest have 5,400rpm drives), but it basically boils down to design and battery life.
Despite larger displays, the Acer Aspire One, HP Mini 1000 and MSI Wind U120 have identical keyboards to older models. (In the case of the HP Mini, that's a good thing since it still has one of the best netbook keyboards, though many reviewers complain about the unorthodox placement of the touchpad buttons.) The Asus Eee PC 1000HE, which has a new, and much-improved keyboard, and the Samsung NC10 got top marks for overall design, followed by the Lenovo IdeaPad S10.
The HP Mini 1000 and IdeaPad S10 have three-cell batteries, landing them at the bottom of the pile with less than 3 hours of life. The rest have six-cell batteries that lasted anywhere from 4.5 hours (MSI Wind U120 and Acer Aspire One) to more than 7 hours (Asus Eee PC 1000HE).
The overall winners were the Asus Eee PC 1000HE and the Acer Aspire One--two brands that already dominate the netbook category. The big surprise? The popular HP Mini came in dead last. Sure, the keyboard is great, but the slow hard drive, fewer ports, and a 3-cell battery are big minuses. Both the HP Mini and the MSI Wind are in sore need of updates.
Meanwhile, Dell is set to bring some new competition to this category. The company has just started taking orders for its Inspiron Mini 10, which starts at $400. The site lists a ship date of April 2.