What is the Best Netbook Brand? Acer, ASUS, Dell, Lenovo, HP, MSI, Samsung?

by Jay Bika on November 19, 2008 · 39 comments

in Netbook Buying Guide

Now that you know what you need in a netbook computer (Read: How to Pick and Shop for The Best Netbook), it’s time to figure out what brand and model to pick from. Even though netbooks are pretty new, there is already quite a selection and that can get a little bit confusing.

In this article, I will try to answer the tough question of which is the best netbook notebook computer. I have to add before I go on that this is my view and not a universal perspective. You may want to consult with other guides for their take on the topic and thus be a better informed smart shopper.

Moving on…

So far, the serious players in the netbook business seem to be Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung and Apple (if you we say that the MacBook Air is a netbook). There are a few more of course and new players do show up everyday but at this time of writing, the above mentioned are the ones that you should consider as serious contenders in your shopping spree. 

To make matters interesting, some of these netbook brands have one or more models that have their own distinct features. For instance, current market darling Asus offers, four models as I write this. How do they differ? They differ in CPUs, display sizes, storage types and sizes and of course prices. I will talk more about this in a bit but keep this in mind. (See: The Best Netbook Guides You Will Ever Read)

So what is the best netbook brand?

Are you familiar with the term OEM short for Original equipment manufacturer? In layman’s terms it means that basically there’s one major computer manufacturer located somewhere in Asia who makes the netbook and different brands will take that netbook and tweak the exterior to fit their existing brands.

Basically, it’s the same computer but it’s just that it looks different. It’s really like a policeman who wears a uniform when he’s at work but when he goes to the swimming pool to relax with his wife and children puts on a swimming costume. This man may be wearing different uniforms but he still is the same under the “hood”.

My point? Netbooks are more or less the same. I understand that techies and purists are going to be on my case about this but consider this: 

The MSI Wind PC which is considered to be one of the best netbook on the block. According to Wikipedia, It turns out that there are 18 known original equipment manufacturer versions of the Wind:

-Advent 4211 in the UK.

-Medion Akoya Mini in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland and Australia (as of 23rd October 2008) (the Medion Akoya Mini is a slightly different containing a different wireless card, no Bluetooth (Aust. model features mini Bluetooth dongle), and 0.3MP camera).

-MyBook M11 ‘Freedom’ in Denmark, however, unlike the other OEM versions, the MyBook M11 does not have a logo on its case.

-Mouse Computer LuvBook U100 in Japan.

-Mivvy M310 in the Czech Republic.[7] but with 2GB of RAM and a 120GB HDD.

-Tsunami Moover T10 in Portugal (XP version only)

-NTT Corrino 101I and Aristo Pico i300 in Poland

-RoverBook Neo U100 in Russia with 120GB or 160GB HDD

-Axioo Pico in Indonesia with 160GB HDD but not include Bluetooth

-Multirama HT Xpress Book in Greece with 160GB HDD

-Positivo Mobo White in Brazil, with 4 models: 1000, 1050, 1070 and 1090. All sport Intel Atom Processors and range from 512 MB RAM / 80 GB HDD (Mobo White 1000) to 1 GB RAM and 160 GB HDD (Mobo White 1090).

-The Proline U100 in South Africa. 

Wikipedia goes on to say that “all OEM versions are offered in different colors to the original MSI Wind, apart from the Tsunami Moover (white only) and the Mobo White”.

Pictured above are the Proline U100 and the Medion Akoya Mini. Can you spot any visual difference?

So now suppose that you went into a store that sold netbooks and by a weird coincidence sold all the above brands under one roof. Yes, they would be priced differently according to the different specifications such as hard drive storage size or the strength of the brand.

Essentially though, you would be buying the same netbook! How about that?

I am not saying that the same manufacturer makes ALL netbooks. But I will say that in a matter of quality, they’re pretty much the same which leads me to conclude that you should not really pay attention to the brands but more to the specifications and the price to make sure that you buy the netbook that is right for you.

As long as you stick to the brands mentioned earlier (Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung and Apple), you should be good.

Now the trick is to find the best netbook model. What makes each model different to its sibling under the same brand family is the different specifications. For instance, the major difference between the Asus Eee PC 701 and the Asus Eee PC 1000 is the display size (7” versus 10”). You could also add the processors (Celeron versus Atom) and so on.

That would mean that the best Asus netbook for you would be the Asus Eee PC 1000 if you would rather have a 10” large display than a rather small 7”. But you may also see that the difference in prices is something major and that you do not want to spend an extra $300 for a screen display difference because after all, you can live with the 7”.

So what is the best netbook notebook computer? It’s the one that suits all your needs and that has the price that you like. If you’re still undecided, you can just go with the best sellers. For that, you can head over to your fave retailer and ask her or him which model people seem to like the most and go with the choice of the majority. 

After all, if everyone is buying a certain unit, it must be the best netbook otherwise it would be gathering dust!

{ 12 trackbacks }

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mat March 1, 2009 at 8:06 am

i like the asus units after all they did start what is now the fastest growing computer segment ever. i esp like the 9 inch versions .

the only other one i would get would be a lenovo based on previous experience with thinkpads.

2 Nate June 3, 2009 at 11:46 am

I started with the MSI Wind (1GB of Ram, Intel Atom Processor N270, 10.1″ screen, 160GB hard drive, 6 hours of battery life on power saver, wireless b/g/n/bluetooth, Windows XP). I liked the overall look of this netbook. The screen does not raise above the keyboard like the other netbooks, it was fairly light and worked well. I upgraded the ram from 1gb to 2gb, this was an easy process and I would recommend netbook this over the Acer Aspire. Ive tried the Acer Aspire One (1GB of ram, Intel Atom Processor N270 160 Gb hard drive, 3 cell battery [3 hours], 9″ screen [i think], wireless b/g, Windows XP). This netbook is very light, but you need to keep your power adapter close with that 3 cell battery. The Ram upgrade (max 1.5 Gb) is a very difficult process compared to the MSI and Asus; you pretty much take apart the whole netbook to get to the Ram slots. With regards to its looks, I dislike the huge gap left between the screen and the rest of the computer, and the hinges look weak and easy to break. The Acer seems to run slower than the others. The Acer is for people who want the lightest of netbooks. Lastly, the Asus (1GB of Ram, Intel Atom processor N280, 9.5 hours of battery life, 160GB hard drive + 10 Gb of free online storage, Wireless b/g/n/bluetooth, 10.1″ screen, Windows Xp). This is my favourite of the netbooks, even though it is on the heavier side due to the super high capacity Ion lithium. I upgraded the Ram from the 1Gb to a 2Gb stick (only 1 slot available) and it runs great. The 9.5 hours of battery life is on its power saving mode that cuts its processor speed in half (1.6 Ghz to 800 Mhz, same way the MSI Wind gets 6 hours), but for basic applications, its fine. There is also a Super Performance Mode, High Performance mode and Auto Power Saving mode; the super/high performance modes work well for running games and internet browsing, and the battery will still last about 5 hours on super and 6 on high. It comes with the same features as all the others (1.3 mp camera, high definition sound support even though it only has your standard headphone jack output, memory card reader, 3 usb ports, and ethernet connection) but it comes with some cool software that lets you uses your touchpads multitouch feature to quickly navigate internet pages, start a magnifying glass, and quick access to programs or folders. Lastly, i like the chic style keyboard on the Asus more than the others. The Asus is a little more expensive, but for people who do not like carrying around the power adapter (like a long plane trip where there is no plug), and speed, this is your netbook. I have not tried the other ones yet but they will have to live up to the performance of the Asus Eee PC.

3 Paolo August 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

It was one of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen on the net

4 Tom October 14, 2009 at 8:44 pm

You still didn’t say which is the best? All you said (after scrolling down and skipping the jibber jabber) is ask someone what sells the most.

5 fdsa November 25, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I agree worst review. But Nate had some interesting insight.

6 Gigglez32 February 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

well at my job we used Acer for several years in a busy broadcast environment; they “never” failed us. Any problems we did have were due to user’s installing junk etc.; the actual laptops were very reliable.

I checked out Dell and Acer; bought an Acer (Aspire 1692wlmi). My niece has had the Aspire 1680 series equivalent model for a year; rock solid.

A friend bought a Dell Inspiron late last fall. It had a new tft within the first month; a replacement drive within six weeks ((Dell sent the drive and she installed it with their help over the phone!!!).

On all laptops, it is important to keep the air vents clear… Early Dell 5000 series overheated…; partially due to less than adequate design of air-flow and overall cooling; partially due to dust clogging up the air ways… Users various at that time did advise regularly cleaning out the laptop air-ways…; many finding them almost solid with accumulated dust… The problem has been resolve by all accounts on later models and subsequent series…? Wise nonetheless to be aware of this issue for any laptop?

The Acer (at least the Apsire 1900 series) do not appear to run hot; the cooling fan kicks in as need-be – and isn’t very noticeable (you can hear it in a quiet environment – but only just…). Mind you the power adapter (an in-line unit) does seem to get a little warm… Can’t comment on the Dell equivalent.

Battery life on the Acer is not fantastic, but then neither is it for the Dell equivalent. Some Dell models allow a second battery in place of a removeable CD/DVD unit – though not on all?

With an Acer you get more for your money in terms of bundled utils; whilst frequently kit arrives overloaded with useless items…, some of the A-V/Media etc. utils, as supplied by Acer, are very user-friendly – especially for anyone not really into the technology/utils proper – just want to use it for standard routines). The bundled Anti-virus can be dumped in favour of other better (at least in my experience) freebie or reasonably priced utils… I favour Avast at present (avast.com).

Acer ship their systems with an 80Gig (or larger?) drive partitioned in to two drives; C: for OS etc.; D: for ???? use – data obviously. Acer loads XP-Home (usually), whereas Dell loads either Home or Pro (with an additional charge for the latter). Dell do a lot of deals – buy it now upgrades etc… Acer may/may not have the saimilar around from whichever dealer?

Both Dell/Acer do not privide full version XP etc. CDs… I think Dell issue you a recovery set of CDs etc; probably a small Dell critically related “hidden” partition at the start of hard-drive too. Acer may/may not provide similar CDs; but I think usually send it to you configured with a nag-screen telling you to make your own recovery CD/DVD as soon as you power up etc. – mine arrived that way and I made the disks accordingly…

Dell support appears to be anywhere but N.Am or Eire (for Europe); usually in India??? Not sure where Acer equivalent is for N.Am; but for UK etc. I think they have a European base…?

The audio quality of laptops does often leave a litle to be desire. The Acer is “OK” via decent headphones; barely acceptable on its speakers; probably OK via the line-out to an external amp etc… Dell I think are slightly better on the built-in speakers – but otherwise no different to the Acer overall?

Incidentally the Acer Aspire (1690 series) does get generally good to excellent reviews overall…

Hope my comments (a little long I know) are some help; strictly based on my own and family member’s experiences.

In the end it will come down to how much you want to spend; what gives you the most or the best (not always compatible…) for your bucks…? But I would favour Acer (Aspire 1690 series) at present.

7 orange May 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm

WhAT THE F*CK, NO SONY YOU MY FRIEND (WRITER) ARE KIND OF BEING A BITCH

8 manish May 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

i have a msi CR400 classic series notebook.It has become more than 1 year of using this notebook and up to now it has not showen any kind of problem .I think it has 1 of the greatest looks very sleek..i love it.power,look and really relaiable MSI is best

9 AKONFUCKDRDRE January 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm

lenovo its awesome best computer indestructible

10 Dodong February 19, 2011 at 12:07 am

i have Dell Inspiron 1440, (Alienware 7 ultimate, dual boot with, LINUX ZORIN ) i bought this last summer. I had nothing to complain to this laptop. Im doing some video presentations,(power director,camtasia,Corel Video Suite, adobe after effects) programming (VB.NEt, NETBEANS), web designing, flash animations, Photo Edititng. But seriously it depends on how to use i. if u up to gamming why not buy an expensive one? (alienwares,TOSHIBA gaming laptops and ETC.) i dnt rely on brands but i do really rely on how to use it.The only problem with other manufacturers is their customer support. DELL has the best. I tried also to work maximum of 9hrs straight with some of my projs. but still this one is superior.

11 jose July 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I agree what the F are u talking

12 shabarej Alam September 23, 2011 at 4:33 am

I don’t no

13 shina November 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

whick is better Acer Aspire One Slim (AOD250) 10.1in. Netbook or samsung np-150p thanks,.,.

14 pcbzic October 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Hi everyone,
This is my RMA story.

Every third ASUS laptop is DIFFECTIVE.

I had a custom Asus gaming laptop G51JX-3DE/G60JX ($2351) from Xoticpc.com. I can’t say I have it because it has already been in the Asus repair station for more than 2 months and I don’t know when I will get it back. My RMA status is still the same: “Waiting-[WB1] Wait for Material/Spare Parts”. I emailed the Asus representative Mr. Tien Phan cl-tien@asus.com and got the response that the issue with my notebook was duplicated, and it was currently at a repair station waiting for the necessary parts to come in.
Because of that I began to initiate some action and look at what I could dig up.
If you look at the Asus website you will see that now it only has 2 gaming laptops G75VW (17’) and G55VW (15’), but there were a dozen different models in 2010.
My friend’s computer market analyst said that the Asus repair station is piled up with defective laptops, transformers, tablets. Almost every third ASUS laptop is DIFFECTIVE.
Since 2008 Asus started to produce their own laptops in huge amounts, though previously it was focused on the production of motherboard and other components. The range of its products increased in many times. They tried to compete even with Apple (Zenbook, Pads). But the Asus team just can’t compete with Steve Jobs’ team. As a result the quality of Asus products begins to fall dramatically. Asus Customer Service just can’t cope with the avalanche of custom claims.

Unfortunately, the quality of the motherboards – diamond in Asus crown – became worse compared to what it was before 2010. I built three rigs with Asus motherboards, last one is P6X58D Premium and I am satisfied with their quality. But now days are different.

Now we need to think seven times before buying an Asus laptop.

Having every third ASUS laptop DIFFECTIVE is too much.

pcbzick.

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16 Lea October 25, 2012 at 2:00 am

How about the samsung?

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