Top Ten Mini Laptops

Acer Aspire One

Our monthly review of the Top Ten Mini Laptops. Once again we’ve trawled through dozens of our own and other peoples reviews and tried out the latest models and drawn our conclusions. We’ve based our results on practicality, functionality, cost and looks.

Dropping out of the Charts

This month has seen the departure of several models from our Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings, as newer models come out. These include:

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

The original Dell netbook whilst small and compact was a compromised netbook, lacking the function keys, offering limited battery life, colour choice and storage and so it has exited our Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings this month. However, the new larger Inspiron Mini 10 solves some of these problems. We’ve yet to review it, but on the face of it they’ve sorted out the keyboard, which incidentally is now quite large, and some other problems the Mini 9 suffered from.

Asus Eee PC 1000

Asus introduced the Eee PC 1000 after MSI brought out the first 10 inch netbook, the MSI Wind. With it’s brother, the Eee PC 901 they introduced a whole range of new features to the successful Eee PC range including large 6-cell batteries as standard and the now industry standard Intel Atom 1.6GHz N270 processor.

However, as larger brands have put together their netbook offerings, the big Asus netbook has slid down the tables. Asus have updated the model bringing out the Asus Eee PC 1000H, Eee PC1002HA and gorgeous variant – the Eee PC S101.

MSI Wind

The MSI Wind although loved by some has exited our rankings for two simple reasons. Firstly, there are now bigger brands with better products such as the Samsung NC10. Secondly, even if you did want to buy an MSI Wind you’d be wasting your money buying one. Why? Because you can buy an Advent 4211 instead! It’s the same computer, with different logos, but about £50 cheaper depending on where you buy. Even then, you’d be losing out. The new LG X110 is not actually that new – it’s a restyled version of the MSI Wind which looks quite attractive. It also comes with 3G embedded.

So here they are...
The Top Ten Mini Laptops Rankings
starting at the bottom...

#10 – Asus Eee PC 701

Top Ten Mini Laptops

The first netbook unveiled by Asus at COMPUTEX Taipei in 2007, which kicked off this entire industry trend, has once again reappeared in our rankings. Yes, it isn’t as powerful as newer models, yes it does have a smaller screen and yes it does cost up to half the price of the newer models. True to its netbook roots, it is still one of the smallest, cheapest and lightest netbooks.

If you were considering going for a budget mini laptop (fair enough during harsh economic times!) there are some unbranded models. But it’s always worth buying branded particularly with computers since you can take advantage of the after sales support network. For what it is, the Asus Eee PC 701 is still a bargain!

Overall: 2 stars

#9 – Asus Eee PC S101

Top Ten Mini Laptops

Although we’ve previously ranked this netbook quite highly, its a fact that under it’s delicious skin there’s not very much there, especially for the price thats being asked. On closer inspection there’s a de-rated battery, a 4 cell instead of 6 cell like it's more capable brothers, and no integrated 3G option like there is on the Eee PC 901. At about twice the price of similar spec, yet more powerful, models it’s harder to justify a higher ranking anymore.

Overall: 3 stars

#8 – Toshiba NB100

Toshiba NB100

This Toshiba mini laptop has climbed the rankings thanks to some incredible price cuts. For instance have shaved £50 off the £299 RRP. The computer isn’t as good as some competitors such as the Asus Eee PC 901, but the build quality is pretty solid and the brand holds a lot in its name so we consider it a safe buy.

Toshiba have also unveiled plans for a larger 10 inch model boasting 160GB of storage and 3G embedded. See New Mini Laptops

Overall: 3 stars

#7 – LG X110

Full review not yet completed but please check out New Mini Laptops for our first impressions.

Top Ten Mini Laptops

This pretty netbook is infact based upon the pioneering 10 inch mini laptop, the MSI Wind. The corners have been rounded off to give quite an attractive chassis, and the price tag isn’t too bad either. The addition of integrated 3G allows for connectivity wherever you can get mobile phone signal, not yet available on competing models such as the HP Compaq mini 700 or Samsung NC10.

Overall: 3 stars

#6 – Acer Aspire One

Top Ten Mini Laptops

The Acer Aspire One family has grown to include the new D150 10 inch netbook. We’ve decided to merge the two for the sake of rankings. The price range for new model is similarly good value to its smaller brother, significantly cheaper than the £300 odd you’d expect to pay for the very latest netbook.

Despite the addition to the range, the Acer has slipped slightly down the rankings as newer and better models enter the Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings.

Overall: 3 stars

#5 – Asus Eee PC 901

Top Ten Mini Laptops

The Asus Eee PC 901 is a truly complete netbook. It replaced Asus’ earlier 9 inch models, the Eee PC 900 series introducing 6-cell batteries and Intel Atom processors as standard. Now available for FREE on contract with Orange in a variety of colours the options are vast. We consider it the best 9 inch portable mini laptop.

At the time of writing, this Asus Eee PC is available for around £25 per month on Orange Pay Month Mobile Broadband.

Overall: 4 stars

#4 - Asus Eee PC 1002HA

Top Ten Mini Laptops

The top end of the Asus Eee PC range comes in the shape of the Eee PC 1002HA. Complete with a restyled chassis with inspiration taken from the seductively sleek Eee PC S101 and the insides of the Eee PC 1000H. Unfortunately, they’ve stopped a hairs breath away from making something quite amazing by failing to offer the 6-cell battery as standard like the earlier Eee PC 901/1000 models. None the less it hit’s #4 in our Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings – a new entry.

Overall: 4 stars

#3 – Samsung NC10

Samsung NC10

Samsungs low-key entry into the netbook world has been met with overwhelming sales success. The keyboard, crafted to make the letter keys larger and the number keys smaller to help with typing is almost a match for an HP netbook. Recently, O2 have partnered up with Samsung to offer a range of laptops on mobile broadband contract including the NC10. O2 offers one of the better networks, with it being the sole provider for the infamous Apple iPhone in the UK. As well as providing an excellent network, they also offer free Home Broadband for mobile broadband customers.

Samsungs confidence in netbooks has become overwhelming, with the larger Samsung NC20 now available and more models unveiled and waiting in the pipeline. See New Mini Laptops for details!

Overall: 5 stars

#2 – HP Compaq Mini 700

HP Mini 1000

Not shifting from last months Top Ten Mini Laptops is the HP Compaq mini 700 which boasts the best keyboard in the netbooking world. You’d think it obvious to stretch it right to the edges woudn’t you, but few mini laptops do so. Although it does leave the trackpad a tad on the slim side, it’s a much better interface than other competing models. Keeping it high in the rankings is it’s price which has dropped significantly over the last few months to around £250-260, far less than the Samsung NC10 but it's not quite enough to push it to number one in our top ten mini laptop rankings.

The HP Compaq mini 700 is also available on mobile broadband contract, with Orange and 3, although all in we don’t find it as good value on contract as the providers other offerings. For example, on Orange you pay a fiver extra for the Compaq over the Asus Eee PC 901 for the same service – so it’ll cost an extra £120 over the duration of the contract.

Overall: 4 stars

and our #1 mini laptop is...

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