Friday, January 28, 2011

January 2011 10-inch netbook buyers guide

A lot has changed since wrote our last 10.1-inch netbook buyers guide. Last time out, we recommended the Asus Eee PC 1005PEM at a price of Php21,995. This time around, our recommendation takes 10-inch netbooks into new highs in terms of performance and new lows in terms of price. Ironically, the price drop did not come because of tablets, but by the entry of a new netbook platform, the AMD Fusion.

Our pick is the Acer Aspire One 522. The Aspire One 522 has a high definition 1280 x 720 screen, and an AMD Fusion platform to back it up. The high resolution screen should make for a better web browsing experience and will allow you to view 720p HD content in its native resolution. The AMD C-50 APU inside will also play 1080p content without a hitch, but will scale down the image to fit the 720p screen. It also has HDMI out, so you can plug it into your LCD TV. The Aspire One 522 should make a decent gaming box too. How much for all this? Php17,990, and at the price you can spread payments over 12-months.

Is there still are reason to buy a Intel Atom powered netbook? In a word, yes. The Aspire One 522 is rated to have a 5-hour battery life. While we need to wait for a someone to put one to a test, in real world use, it is safe to expect about four. 

Our previous pick, the Asus Eee PC 1005PEM is still a good option for those who are willing to accept the lower resolution 1024 x 600 screen and give up the ability to display HD content. It is really only suited for web browsing and typing documents, but it will do it for eight hours straight. It's price has dropped to Php17,490. That's 4.5K less than two months ago

If you are willing to give up the high resolution screen and performance, and our willing to give up 20% in processing power, the Samsung N150-JPOCPH looks good at Php15,900. You loose the dual core N550 processor for a single core N455 processor and sake Php1.5K. Honestly, we don't think most people will notice the difference in speed.

Cheapest option? You should be able to find a eMachines eMD350 for about Php11,000 without an operating system, and for about Php12,900 with Windows 7 installed. With a 3-cell battery you will get 4-hours battery life.

In the end, the Aspire One 522 is by far the best choice.

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