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Buying a Mini Laptop - Choosing the Best Netbook

Updated on August 26, 2010

Mini Laptop

With the rise of netbooks on the shelves as the overall popularity increases, it can be hard to decide which netbook is the one that you want to purchase and use. They're not quite as expensive now as they were when they were initially released, but for a machine that is really only good for using the internet, they can be a little pricey, which is why it's important that you think hard and shop around before purchasing a mini laptop.

There are a few basic things that you should consider when looking for a mini laptop, but ultimately, you'll probably find that the price is going to be the biggest determinig factor as to which netbook you purchase. Just remember that no netbook is going to be the perfect main or staple computer to use.

Things to Look for When Buying a Mini Laptop

Ok, so when looking for a mini laptop, you'll want to make sure that you consider all the possible options available so that you make sure that you spend your money on the best possible netbook for the buck.

  • Screen Size:

Mini laptops are going to be smaller than your regular, average laptop, but they come in different sizes. Generally, you'll find 8.9", 9.2", 10.0", and 10.2" screen. In most cases, the laptops will be the same general size, but the screen size will vary.

  • Battery Life:

Because the overall laptop is smaller, there will be a smaller battery. Most of the netbooks have a 3 cell battery, which will generally give a lifespan of 2-3 hours away from the adapter, starting with a full charge. There are one or two mini laptops that have a 6 cell battery, which will provide an average of 6 hours of battery life.

Just remember that depending on how much you use the laptop and what programs you'll be running, will determine the lifespan of hte battery. The more you do, the faster the battery will die.

  • Operating System:

You'll be able to choose from Windows XP or Linux. I've found more netbooks offer Windows versus Linux. Most of the mini laptops that I've reviewed and found rated the best netbooks ran Windows XP.

  • Memory and Storage Space:

Netbooks do not offer a lot of storage space. Generally they range from 512MB to 1GB of memery with 60 GB to 160 GB of hard drive space. For the most part you'll probably need a portable hard drive, if you plan on working the mini laptop more than a secondary laptop.

  • WiFi

Most of the mini laptops come with built-in WiFi, but others may require a broadband card from a cell phone prodiver such as Verizon or Sprint. If the netbook doesn't offer built-in WiFi, that could pose a problem if you don't have a broadband card and would rather not pay for a contract with a cell phone provider in order to obtain one.

  • WebCam

Many of the newer mini laptops offer built-in webcams for chatting. Remember this is a NETbook and is custom built for internet usage (sort of anyway).

  • Speakers/Audio

Although, the laptop is miniature, that doesn't mean that the speakers and audio should suffer. Some of the netbooks have awesome speakers and sound quality. Definitely consider the different options and the speakers if sound quality is important or high on your priority list.

  • Other

There may be other littler features that differentiate one netbook from another, such as added pre-installed programs, warranties, online storage options, etc.

HP Mini 1000

  • Screen: 10.2"
  • Battery: 2.5-3 hours
  • Operating system: Microsoft XP
  • Atom processor
  • 1 GB memory
  • 60 GB hard drive
  • High Speed WiFi

For a review of the HP Mini 1000 see > Netbook Review: HP Mini 1000


  • Screen: 10"
  • Battery: 9.5 hours
  • Operating System: Microsoft XP
  • Atom Processor
  • 160G hard drive
  • High Speed WiFi

For a review of the ASUS Eee PC, see > Netbook Review: ASUS Eee PC

Acer Aspire One

  • Screen: 10.1"
  • Battery: 6.5 hours
  • Operating System: Microsoft XP
  • Atom processor
  • 1GB ram
  • 160 GB hard drive
  • High Speed WiFi

For a review of the Acer Aspire One see > Netbook Review: Acer Aspire One

Dell Inspiron Mini

  • Screen: 10.0"
  • Battery: 3 hours
  • Operating System: Microsoft XP
  • Atom processor
  • 1GB ram
  • 160GB hard drive
  • High Speed WiFi

For a review of the Dell Inspiron Mini see > Netbook Review: Dell Inspiron Mini 10


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    • profile image

      bigguy50 5 years ago

      I bought a dell inspirion mini 1018 for$250 on amazon great for surfing the web,e-mailing etc. I love the portability of it.The only negative thing was the battery only lasts 3 hours or less before you need a charge.

    • NickCalder15 profile image

      NickCalder15 7 years ago

      I've been thinking about buying a netbook within the next 3-4 months for my writing tasks. Either that or a more-expensive Tablet PC. After all my current laptop isn't exactly the easiest thing to carry around and pull out of the bag when I'm on the move. Thanks for the info.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      As do I, which is why I opted for the 10.1" screen.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I like a larger screen but good review hub

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      negacrowbar congrats on the baby. desktops are the perfect fallback. I know I still use mine constantly as my main computer.

      rnmsn, I have a desktop, laptop, and mini- in that order of primary, secondary, and tertiary computers. My mini is more ideal for traveling, and I'm usually out of town every weekend, making the laptop heavy to carry in comparison. I just use the laptop around the house when I don't want to sit at the desktop.

    • profile image

      rnmsn 8 years ago

      very good info...but I just now have my own laptop :) so maybe later I will get a little mini (ha, redundant...)