Oct 25 2010

Top Rated Netbooks and Laptops Under $400

The holidays are fast approaching and deal seekers have already begun searching for laptops and netbooks as gifts for family and friends. Although there are many cheap netbooks and laptops available often times consumers don’t offer better than average reviews for lower end computers. Despite this, there are a couple top rated netbooks and laptops under $400 that are great options for holiday gifts. These include the following:


            

All of these products have good reviews according to consumers who purchased through amazon.com. They offer great value for the price (under $400) which makes them excellent choices for holiday gifts.

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Nov 14 2009

Skooba Netbook Messenger Bag Reviewed

I sometimes feel like it’s oppressively hard to get a great deal these days, especially in the netbook world. If you go with mainstream brands, you run the risk of dropping too much cash for the security of getting a product you know is good. On the other hand, going with the knockoffs and newcomers can leave you with a product that’s inexpensive but low quality.

Then again, maybe that’s because I haven’t been shopping at Skooba Design.

Skooba Design is an accessory manufacturer based in Upstate New York – “it’s quieter here, so we can think,” says the tag – and it looks like all that thinking has worked out well for them. Their new Netbook Messenger Bag is an example of the kind of product they’re known for – slightly higher on the price scale but oodles better in craftsmanship. Behold:


And the back…

The bag is decked out with a nylon twill exterior and smooth checked nylon interior, both of which are water repellent. It comes in a variety of colors – Deep Ocean Blue, Inferno Red, Blizzard White, and Abyss Black (pictured here). After handling the bag for a minute, you’ll be able to tell where care was taken to add quality. Far too many netbook accessories have crappy stitching, weak zippers, and frayed edges – none of which can be found on a brand new Skooba Netbook Messenger Bag.

Take a look at the interior:


The messenger bag uses Duraflex for all the buckles and zippers, a high quality material that won’t let you down even after repeated use. The main pocket is secured, as you can see, by a buckle and velcro for added support. Now let’s open this baby up:

The front zipper reveals several zip pockets as well as a stretchy neoprene compartments for whatever variety of accessories you want to tote around. The dedicated thumb drive slot is an added bonus. Though you can’t tell from this picture, the two pockets flanking the flash drive slot are longer and can be used for pens and pencils.

Also hidden from view is a convenient latch for key rings, sticking into the right side of the largest neoprene pocket. You can also hang the latch out of the the side to hold a Nalgene water bottle while keeping the pocket secure with the zippers. Just behind the front pocket is a zipperless folder for quick access, as you can see at the top of the image.

“Okay, great,” you say, “but why the heck is this called the Skooba Netbook Messenger Bag?”

The main compartment reveals what we’ve all been waiting for – the glorious netbook holder. The Netbook Messenger Bag fits netbooks up to 10.5″ x 7.5″ x 1.5″. That includes just about every netbook up to and including the 10-inch range.

Another fantastic feature is the fast access zipper opening on the top of the Skooba Netbook Messenger Bag, displayed below with my 13″ laptop and a notebook inside:

Even with my computer and some extra junk inside, the messenger bag had ample room for an extra netbook in the netbook pocket. While I wouldn’t be able to get my laptop out of the bag through this pocket, folders and netbooks will come out easily without you having to open the main flap. This feature is just another example of the admirable design of this netbook bag.

This image also brings me to my first and only complaint – the handle. The ability to carry this messenger bag like a briefcase would be nice, except for the fact that the handle is placed on only one side of the bag. What that means is when you hold the full bag by the handle, it hangs at an awkward angle, banging against your leg if you hold it on the close side and bouncing around awkardly if you hold it on the far side.

However, the fact that I’m complaining about such an ignorable downside is just a testament to how damn good the bag is in other respects. It’s kind of like getting a new car – if you find yourself fretting over the texture of your floor mats, you can be pretty sure you made a good purchase.

The arm strap adjuster is unbelievably usable. Rather than fiddle with the traditional setup that you find on most adjustable straps, Skooba adopted this extremely simple latch design. Just flip it open, pull the strap to where you want it to be, and shut it.

Extra strap length can be hidden in a side pocket so you don’t need to worry about it trailing around.

Conclusion

This is a fantastic messenger bag, to say the least. Admirable design, top notch quality, and a number of unique features set this bag above the competition, and make the $50 price tag well worth it. This one’s a keeper!

You can get the Skooba Netbook Messenger bag from Skooba Design.

Aug 26 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: NBB Wants You!

JOIN NBB!

At long last, the gates are open for volunteers like you to become a part of NetbookBoards!

In light of recent successes, we here at NBB have decided to expand the subject matter of this blog. As such, it’s looking like the team needs a few new faces… faces like yours!

We’re looking for interested writers, preferably with experience in the industry, to become a part of our swiftly growing site.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Send us an email at admin[at]netbookboards.com (replace [at] with @).
  2. Include your name and a brief explanation of why you want to join the team.
  3. Send a sample of previous web writing as well. If you don’t have any already, send us a brief article covering a current subject in the tech industry so we can get to know your style!
  4. We’re looking for dedicated volunteers willing to write 10-15 articles a week with the possibility of a paid position in the future.

So go ahead – give us a buzz. We expect positions to fill quickly, and we only have a few available.

Good luck, and I look forward to working with you soon!

Michael

Aug 25 2009

NBB Milestone: Can anyone say Y2K?

While the year 2000 is no longer upon us…NetBookBoards.com did celebrate having over 2,000 unique visitors (2230 to be exact) pull up our site on Monday. Thanks to our writers Michael and Joyce for the consistent effort they put in every day and thanks to you, our visitors, for relying on NBB for your netbook needs.

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Aug 18 2009

Apple’s Profits May Be Hurt By Back-to-School Netbook Shopping

Historically, Apple has done fairly well during the back-to-school season. This back-to-school season though, more students seem to want netbooks rather than full-sized PCs. And who wouldn’t? Netbooks are small and light, not to mention that most have longer battery lives than regular-sized notebooks.

According to Sunnyville-based consumer electronics marketplace Retrevo Inc., 34 percent of students currently buying laptops said that they plan on purchasing netbooks. Forty-nine percent will plan to buy full-sized PCs. Fifty-eight percent of students plan on spending less than $750 on whatever machine they buy for school.

The economic situation right now isn’t helping Apple out either. The pricing for Apple’s machines start at $949, while netbooks start as low as in the upper range of $100. But perhaps things will change with the release of Apple’s tablet/netbook. What do you think?

Via BizJournals.

Image via Edopter.

Jul 24 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: HP Mini 2140 Reviewed!

HP Mini 2140

We’ve reviewed HP’s business-ready netbook, the HP Mini 2140, and we’d love to let you know what we found.

The netbook got big points for its battery life and keyboard, and is a serious competitor with its brushed-steel exterior and brilliant screen. Who knows – it might just be the perfect netbook for your needs. Take a look!

Jul 16 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB #7!

At long last, ASK NBB #7 is available for your reading pleasure. Today I’m discussing the virtues of wireless internet with the mother of a college student, and perhaps you can learn something too.

Wi-Fi

We’ve got six other questions on ASK NBB, but if they don’t strike your fancy, be sure to ASK your own question instead!
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Interested in getting your own question answered on ASK NBB? Here’s how! Be sure to check out ASK NBB #3 for my projections for the future of the netbook industry, or ASK NBB #4 for some discussion of the evolving Eee PC.

Jul 5 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: Dell Mini 9 Reviewed

At long last, NetbookBoards’ review of the Dell Mini 9 is available. You can read it here, and I hope you enjoy it.

Let us know what you think!

Dell Mini 9

Jun 18 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB #6

Today’s Asker has a few things in mind when looking for a new netbook. Are matte screens good at reducing glare? Which netbooks work well outdoors? And are antimicrobial keyboards unhealthy?

I think I’ve got the answers to a few of these questions and more, so if you’re interested, come check out ASK NBB #6: Choosing A New Netbook!

Super clean keyboard

Picture via Shopakos.

Jun 12 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB #5

Our fifth ASK NBB is available, with the latest in user-submitted netbook questions answered for your interest. Today, it’s about the most basic but crucial question of them all:

What is a netbook?

I think you’ll find it illuminating, and I’d love to hear your feedback. Take a look!

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Interested in getting your own question answered on ASK NBB? Here’s how! Be sure to check out ASK NBB #3 for my projections for the future of the netbook industry, or ASK NBB #4 for some discussion of the evolving Eee PC.

May 29 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB #4

The latest ASK NBB is up, ripe and ready for your consumption. It seems people responded to Wednesday’s call to action faster than imagined!

This time it’s all about the evolution of the ASUS Eee PC, from its primordial form back in 2007 to the versatile machine it is today. We cover the differences between the 700, 900, and 1000 Series, as well as the prospects of future ASUS netbooks.

Check it out!

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Not interested in the Eee PC? Be sure to check out ASK NBB #2 for some commentary on 3G netbooks instead, or ASK NBB #3 for my projections fpr the future of the netbook industry.

May 27 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: NBB’s 500th Post!

In the past few months we’ve seen some exciting stuff in the netbook industry. From all corners exciting revelations have appeared, from the rise of MIDs to netbooks for the hearing impaired; the release of the tantalizing beta of Moblin 2.0 and near-confirmation of the mythical Apple tablet netbook. Netbooks are more robust than ever, having barely escaped censorship by Psion at the beginning of this year, but the future holds challenges as well. We’ve covered these stories and more in the past 500 posts, and it is with excitement that we look forward to the questions the future of netbooks holds.

Will Linux finally take the market share it’s yearned for? When are we going to get more futuristic netbooks? And what’s going to happen to netbooks when the economy gets better and budget buys aren’t so tantalizing?

We don’t know the answer to those questions, but as long as we’re still here we’ll be seeking the answers. Thanks for sticking with us, netbookers, and I promise if you stay tuned there will be many more great things to come.

We want this site to be focused on our reader base, so be sure to send us questions you’d like answered on ASK NBB!

Thanks again. Here’s to another 500!

-Michael

Apr 28 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Reviewed

ASUS is no newbie to the netbook market, and anyone who’s picked up a netbook knows its name. Like MSI and Acer, ASUS stirred the primordial soup of netbooking before anyone else, and has faced the challenge of continuing to hold onto its market share as more and more manufacturers have scrambled for a piece of the netbook pie.

ASUS claims its newest machine eliminates the few weaknesses of its tried-and-true Eee PC line, and intends to reaffirm its dominance of the swiftly growing netbook market with this new edition of the netbook.

But does the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE live up to the hype? How does it compare to other machines on the market? We couldn’t stand wondering, and we just had to review it.

Take a look.

Apr 24 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB #3

Today’s question on ASK NBB concerns a subject of much contention – the future of netbooks. Why are they so underequipped and when are they going to see some real boosts in speed and power?

It can be difficult to make predictions in a fledgeling industry, but with some luck and a bit of research we’ll try to see what’s on the way for netbooks.

Take a look.

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Interested in getting your own question answered on ASK NBB? Here’s how! Be sure to check out our first ASK NBB for some info on buying a new netbook, or ASK NBB #2 for some commentary on 3G netbooks.

Apr 20 2009

ASK NBB #2: 3G Netbooks

Today we’ll be focusing on something that seems to be on everyone’s mind – 3G netbooks. I’ve gotten several emails asking about the matter, so today’s ASK NBB hopes to conquer the question once and for all.

QUESTION:

“I’m curious about 3G netbooks. Could you tell me about some netbook models that use 3G and what the future of 3G is for the industry? And what is the best mobile broadband plan for netbooks?

Thanks a lot!”

Steve M.

ANSWER:

I’m glad you asked, Steve. Since the release of the iPhone 3G the usefulness of the feature has been demonstrated in the hands of everyone lucky enough to get their hands on one. Adding 3G to netbooks makes them truly wireless tools, released from the bounds of the internet you’re getting at home or at work.

With 3G capability, you can use your netbook as a GPS system in the car, for last-minute work during a morning train commute, or while relaxing in a park far from Wi-Fi access. Sounds pretty good. So what netbooks out there will get you 3G?

Recent weeks have brought a horde of new 3G netbook releases, with both the Neo 101 and 720p Dell Mini 10 being released in the past few days alone. Lenovo also updated its virulently successful IdeaPad line with a new 3G netbook just four days ago.

The swift gains in 3G netbooking are no surprise – China Mobile, a 3G wireless provider, recently partnered with six other netbook manufacturers in order to spread 3G far and wide. The Dell Mini 10 was a product of that union, and with manufacturers “Lenovo, Founder Technology, Tsinghua Tongfang, Haier Group, [and] Hewlett-Packard” on board as well it’s looking like China Mobile’s netbook 3G is going to get very big very quickly.

So what about mobile broadband plans for netbooks? The main contenders are Verizon, which plans to subsidize the HP Mini 1000 according to a recent leak, and AT&T, which intends to offer a wide variety of netbooks including the Dell Mini 9 for as little as $49.99 nationwide.

It’s hard to say which plan is better – the cheap netbooks are a huge bonus, but both plans can get quite pricey as one unfortunate Oklahoma woman recently learned. I can’t give you a definitive answer about which to choose, but be sure to take into account more than just the initial cost of the netbook or the monthly rate – many mobile broadband companies charge extra fees for going above storage allowances, which could end up punishing your wallet if you aren’t careful.

In the end, 3G is an extremely useful feature which has become more and more widespread in the very recent past. It won’t be long before nearly all netbooks come with 3G, and if I may say so myself, that sounds pretty damn good.

Good luck to you, and as always, happy netbooking!

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Interested in getting your own question answered on ASK NBB? Here’s how! Be sure to check out our first ASK NBB for some guidance on buying a new netbook.

Apr 17 2009

NBB Milestone reached: 1,000 unique visitors

I would just like to congratulate the NBB team. Their hard work has allowed NBB to grow from a small blog to one of the leading sources of netbook news, home to now more than 1,000 visitors on a daily basis. We’re also working on adding lots of new features, such as a database of netbook models, netbook FAQs, and more.

I guess it’s time for a new goal. 5,000 visitors? 10?

Apr 12 2009

ASK NBB #1: To Buy A Netbook

Today’s edition of ASK NBB focuses on an asker with a specific set of preferences for an upcoming netbook purchase.

QUESTION:

“I want to buy a notebook. That is like the asus 1000he but with a graphics card.
Is there any netbook out currently that has those features?
– a graphics card
– superb battery life
or is there one that you might know of but has yet to come out?
would love to hear your suggestions”

-stanTLs

ANSWER:

So, you’re looking to buy a netbook?

The first thing I thought of when I saw your email was the MSI Wind U110 Eco, a netbook whose graphical capabilities are expected to be good enough to manage any kind of HD video, and whose battery life may last as much as 9 hours. Be sure to read the article at the link for more info.

On the downside, the U110 Eco netbook may take a few months to be released. It all depends how long you want to wait to get your new netbook!

A second option is the Dell Mini 10. The battery life is decent enough, with the 6-cell option getting you 6-8 hours of life according to a release by Dell. Its graphics will get you up to 720p video, and the machine will come with a few other awesome media accessories as well (like a TV tuner). Check it out.

If you’re looking to use your netbook for gaming, your options will be pretty severely limited. You could, however, take a look at the ASUS N10J, which rocks a GeForce 9300 graphics card. Unfortunately it costs $699 and its battery life is standard.

Be sure to note that whenever you’re using higher brightness settings or engaging the graphics chip heavily your battery life will be quite diminished in any case.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

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Interested in getting your own question answered on ASK NBB? Here’s how!

Apr 10 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB Netbook Column Unveiled!

It can be hard to get answers about netbooks. Are they cannibalizing notebooks? Why are they so small? Which are better for netbooks – HDDs or SSDs?

Your questions deserve attention though, and we’d love to be the ones doing the answering. It is thus with much anticipation and excitement that we would like to announce a new column on NetbookBoards: ASK NBB, where we’ll answer your netbook questions directly and post them right here on the site!

We’ll give you anything from personal recommendations to our own opinions about the way the market is going, or whatever else you’d like to know – it’s just up to you to ask. This is how:

  1. Click the ‘Contact‘ button at the top of the screen.
  2. Include ‘ASK NBB’ in the subject line.
  3. Ask away!

The polls are open now, so be one of the first to get your questions answered on ASK NBB. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Feb 6 2009

Samsung NC10 Netbook Review

Since yesterday’s post about the fantastically modded Samsung NC10, something about the netbook intrigued us here at NetbookBoards. We tried to shake the feeling, but something still wasn’t right, so we did the only thing we could – review it!

Samsung’s flagship netbook is a cut above of its competitors in terms of price – Amazon sells it for $450 – but that extra $50-$100 gets you a heck of a lot, including a magnificent 6-cell battery. It may just be our favorite netbook yet, so if you’re on the market, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Samsung NC10 Netbook

Jan 5 2009

Lenovo IdeaPad S10

The new year is here and it’s time for another netbook review. Inspired by Lenovo’s announcement of a March upgrade, we decided to review the IdeaPad S10. Check it out.

Lenovo Ideapad S10

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