Buying a Netbook? Cheap Ones Are Better Than Expensive Ones
You aren’t alone. Netbook sales have been rising which is a good thing because regular laptop sales have taken a hit during the recession.
Now that there are lot of netbook makers out there with multiple models each, the question becomes which netbook is right for you. The quick answer is, the cheap ones.
Expensive Netbooks Have No More Power
Thanks to Microsoft’s limits placed on being able to install a copy of Windows XP on a netbook, no netbook has more than 1GB of RAM and a hard drive no bigger than 160GB. Also, the screen must be less than 14.1” inches.
Plenty of netbooks near the $200 level have the full 1GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive along with the current Intel Atom processors. That means that those $400 netbooks don’t have any more power (they can’t). In other words, you are paying for something else, like durability or “feel”.
Don’t waste your money.
Windows 7 has restrictions on its cheaper Starter Edition that don’t allow screens larger than 10.1”. That means that in order to upgrade your bigger screen netbooks, you’ll have to buy the pricier Windows 7 editions.
Furthermore, 1GB is barely enough to run today’s applications let alone the next versions.
Good luck getting Office 2007 to run on your netbook at anything other than a snail’s pace. Oh, yeah, it will also take up most of your hard disk space. Sure, netbooks are mainly for surfing the net, but most people also want to be able to do basic document work like Word files and Excel spreadsheets too. But, those hardware specs are barely up to the task.
The point is that you’ll need more powerful hardware, and soon. Whether Microsoft will cave in to pressure from netbook users and manufacturers or if netbook makers figure out a way around the Windows 7 restrictions remains to be seen. Either way, that next version of Office will take more than what today’s netbooks offers which means you’ll be upgrading very soon. If not next year, then certainly the year after.
For a one or two year investment, you are better off getting yourself one of the small, cheap netbooks. If you need a bigger screen or more power today, then step up to a laptop, you’ll be glad you did.
By the way, there doesn’t appear to be a free upgrade path for Netbooks from Windows XP, so if you are going to shell out $75 to $150 for a copy of Windows 7, you might as well just buy a brand new netbook for $250. Yet another reason you won’t be keeping your current netbook for very long.
Buy the cheapest one that you like typing on and using the trackpad on. You’ll thank me sometime in the next 18 to 24 months that you didn’t shell out $450 for that netbook that doesn’t cut it anymore.