CES Roundup – Netbooks

dell-mini-10

Dell’s Inspiron Mini 10 (Pic from Laptop Mag)

Well our finals are finally over, so it’s time for us to get back to “work”. A lot of things happened at CES, and we hope to give you info on the best netbooks, laptops and desktops (aka. regular computers), cell phones, as well as some general cool things we saw  happen.

Let’s start with netbooks, and boy were there A LOT of these. HP, Dell, Asus (the guys who really started the netbook frenzy with their Eee PC line), and a bunch of other companies all came out with some new stuff, so read on for some of the best you should look to see in 2009!

Before we really begin, we’re not gonna put Sony’s new Vaio P (which we wrote about here) into this category, as 1) Sony considers it to be a “ultra-portable” laptop and not a netbook. 2) It costs more than buying 2 of most netbooks, which really gets rid of the netbook idea as a small, low cost (and by this we mean well below a starting price of $900) mini laptops. Now let’s begin.

Here are our top 5 netbooks  that came out of CES:

1. Dell Inspiron Mini 10– This is a netbook that I personally am looking forward to seeing (I hope to buy a netbook for taking to school everyday since my current laptop is way too big 🙂 ). The Dell called this a “perfect 10” and after looking at some pix of it, I think it may very well be. For one, this thing is loaded with:

  • GPS
  • TV Tuner-yes you can watch TV on this, and you won’t be disappointed with the quality because it has a….
  • 720p (HD quality) 10.1 inch screen– Yes, you read that right. This thing has an HD screen built in (which also should mean less moving your mouse around the screen just to see one website).
  • Edge to Edge Keyboard– Giving you the most room to type on, something that is pretty important for those of us who would use it in school to take notes.
  • Multi Touch Track Pad– Similar to what we’ve seen out of Apple with their MacBooks, where you can use gestures on the computer like two finger “pinch” to zoom, etc. They even got rid of the usual button underneath, instead having 2 little buttons on the right and left of the track pad, making it look even more Mac like!

dell-mini-10-trackpad

Dell’s Inspirion Mini 10 trackpad

  • Wireless N Wi-Fi– You can use this on the new faster Wi-Fi networks if you have it (don’t worry, it also works fine with older Wi-Fi networks that are pretty much everywhere- those networks usually are wireless G or B networks by the way).
  • Built-in Webcam
  • Multiple Colors to choose from– Like a lot of Dell’s new computers, you can customize the design of your computer, like changing the color of the screen’s back etc., something which Dell also made available here.

Unfortunately, Dell didn’t share some of the real important info like pricing and release date, though we  would expect it to come out within the next few months (or so we hope…). But assuming this does come out soon and at a normal price (between $300 and $600 like most netbooks), Dell could have a real winner on their hands.

2. HP 2140– This is an update to one of HP’s netbooks- the Mini 2100, and really bring some nice updates to the line. These updates include:

  • Windows Vista or XP– We’d recommend XP, as Vista runs really slowly on netbooks.
  • 10.1 inch screen– Like the Dell Mini 10, HP also put on a 10.1 inch screen on this netbook, though it doesn’t come with a standard HD screen like Dell’s.
  • Up to 2 GB of RAM and either 80 GB Solid State Drive or 80 or 160 GB hard drive– Basically, enough power like a lot of regular laptops. And a Solid State Drive (or SSD), for those who don’t know, is the more reliable and energy-efficient (=longer batter life) hard drives that uses flash chips– like those found in the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPod Nano lines — that, instead of spinning around like the traditional drive, stays set in place (we’re not gonna bore you with the complicated stuff). The downside of these SSDs though is that these options are usually much more expensive and offer less memory than theor regular hard drive counterparts, but if you plan on using this netbook as a secondary computer and will not need 160 GB, we’d recommend checking out the Solid State option
  • Aluminum Casing- This is much nicer than the Dell, and looks pretty cool.

This netbook is expected to come out later this month at a not too bad starting price of $499,  but until then you can check it out at HP’s site here.

hp-mini-2140

HP’s Mini 2140

3. Asus Eee T101H

This is a very cool netbook, definitely different from those mentioned above. So what’s so different? Well, unlike the other, more traditional netbooks from Dell, HP and others, Asus is actually completely changing the netbook game yet again (these guys started the netbook craze as we mentioned above), by putting a 10 inch touchscreen onto the laptop. Oh, and not only is it a touchscreen, but a multi-touch touchscreen that is a tablet which swivels around 180 degrees! Other features we know include:

  • MacBook style keyboard– What this means is that unlike other netbooks, where the keyboards are usually cramped or not as easy to use like normal laptops, this keyboard is like the ones on MacBooks where there is some nice spacing between the keys, making typing far easier.
  • Windows XP

Not many other features, nor the pricing and release date, are known, but this is definitely a nice lil’ netbook — especially when Microsoft comes out with Windows 7, including  better touchscreen capabilities (we’ll cover Windows 7 in a later post).

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Asus Eee T101H

4. Asus Eee T91– This looks the same as the T101 we just mentioned, with a 9 inch multi-touch touchscreen (hence the T91 instead of  T101- the 91 is for 9 inch screen, the 101 is for 10.1 inch screen. Oh, and the T is for touchscreen/tablet) that is also a tablet that swivels around 180 degrees . But here we got a few more cool features…

  • 1 inch thick and 2 lbs– Or should we say thin? In short, this thing is INSANELY thin and light.
  • TV Tuner– We don’t think this will be as nice as Dell’s but it’s still a nice feature to have 😉
  • GPS– Unlike Dell’s GPS, this one we actually can think of a use for. If ASUS makes a little car dock for this, it would not be a bad choice for a car GPS as you can easily have it as just a screen for GPS.
  • Windows XP

Again not too many details on this one (especially pricing or release date), but this should be a really interesting choice as you could either go with the bigger screen’d T101 or with the GPS and TV filled T91. Regardless, let’s hope Asus gets both of these out soon and at reasonable prices.

asus-t91

Asus Eee T91

5. Asus S121– Asus really had a lot of interesting netbooks at CES, which is why we’re focusing so much on them. The S121 is a little bit different than the Eee line we mentioned above, as it is usually much more stylish, high powered netbook, but also more expensive. This little guy really looks to push the netbook limit and is something I would consider as a regular, ultra portable PC like the Sony Vaio P (even though this has a 3 inch bigger screen). Why do I say this? Well the specs on this include:

  • 12.1 inch screen with a weight under 3 lbs
  • 8 hours of battery life- Perfect for those of us needing a laptop for school.
  • Windows XP or Vista– We’d still recommend XP 😉
  • 250 GB Hard Drive or 512 GB SSD– This is what leads me to question whether this is a laptop or an ultraportable. For one, it has that big 12.1 inch screen which is already questionable for a netbook, but the fact that this is packing a 512 GB SSD (which is something regular laptops don’t even have) really is confusing, as something like that will cost you a lot of $$$ (Asus even said so 🙂 ).
  • 1.3 Megapixel Camera
  • Wireless N and Bluetooth

This also has “CRYSTALLIZEDTM – Swarovski Elements masterfully imbedded into intricately crafted metallic hinges add a touch of class, reminiscent of a pair of marquis-cut diamond cuff-links on a business suit….” and “a luxurious and elegant leather palm rest” (their words not ours 🙂 ). Expect to come later this month for who knows how much 😉

asus-s121

Asus S121 netbook/ultra portable laptop

Well there you have it, some interesting netbooks from CES. These are the few we thought you should look out for as they look to be really cool, and we’ll of course keep you updated on these netbooks.

In the meantime, we wanna know what are your thoughts: you like/dislike the 5 we chose, have a different netbook that caught your eye? Let us know in the comments.

Info from Engadget.com

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Posted on January 16, 2009, in CES and Macworld, Computers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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