Netbooks are certainly one of the fastest growing segments of an otherwise moribund technology market due to a combination of common sense and smart pricing. If you are on the market to find one, then look no further as we have compiled the list of the five best netbook bargains in the country - in no particular order.
Not everybody needs the fastest and the latest technology and quite a significant proportion of computer users actually doesn't mind using a device that has the processing power of a 8-year old computer, shrunk to a size of a small hardcover book, and costing a couple of hundred pounds.
(1) £183.99 HP Mini-note 2133
HP has just announced that it will not launch a Linux version of its forthcoming Mini-note 1000 in the UK. It therefore makes perfect sense to grab the perfect alternative - the Mini-note 2133 - if you are a Linux fan.
Available at Saverstore for only £183.99, the Mini Note 2133, differs from other CPU by the fact that it comes with a VIA C7-M ULV processor rather than an Intel Atom CPU - which makes it slower than the competition. It also has a smaller 8.9-inch screen but can display up to 1280x768 pixels.
The rest of the specification includes 1GB RAM, 120GB Hard disk, VIA's Chrome9 graphics, WiFi, optional bluetooth, an ExpressCard slot, an integrated webcam and an all aluminium chassis. Rather than Windows XP, the Mini-note 2133 comes with a SUSE Linux operating system.
(2) £302.53 Samsung NC10 Netbook
If you are not impressed by Samsung's brand new NC20 credentials (slower CPU, heavier and pricier), then why not buy the NC10 instead?
If you don't mind buying off Ebay, you could bag yourself a significant bargain. Electrical-superstore-24/7, a recognised Ebay powerseller, sells the blue version of the NC10, brand new, box and sealed and with one year warranty for a mere £297.98 including delivery.
If you prefer an e-tailer, then Dixons offers the same Netbook for only £302.53 with free delivery. Use the voucher code Feb2 at the check out. The NC10 comes with a 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, 1GB RAM and a 160GB hard disk drive. As expected, it comes with Windows XP Home and a webcam.
Its 10.2-inch screen displays 1024x600 pixels, the same as its NC20 big brother. Samsung quotes its battery life as 7.5 hours which is exceptionally good and to round things up, it comes with Wireless and Bluetooth compatibility.
(3) £139.97 Asus EEE PC 4GB Black
Get the original Asus EEE PC from Laptopdirect for a mere £139.97. There's no netbook cheaper in UK with a full one year warranty. Laptopdirect says that it is a Grade A1/like new netbook, in other words, a refurbished one.
That should not prevent you from considering it. The EEE PC is only 920g and packs a smaller 7-inch screen capable of displaying 800x480 pixels.
It comes with an Intel Celeron 900MHz CPU, 512MB memory, a 4GB Solid State Drive that can be expanded through the SD card memory slot, a webcam, WiFi and a customised version of Linux courtesy of Asus. Battery life should exceed two hours.
That netbook might be nearly 18 months old but if your needs and your budget are modest, then give it a try. You can read our review of the original EEE PC here.
(4) £399.99 Acer Aspire 2930
This is not really a netbook but the sheer fact that current netbooks now share more with sub laptops than with the original EEE PC 701 warrants the inclusion of the Acer Aspire 2930 in our top five.
This sub notebook weighs 2.1Kg, more than twice Asus' first netbook but packs a substantially more powerful punch. It has a proper Core 2 Duo processor (running at 2GHz), 2GB memory, WiFi and Bluetooth compatibility, a 12.1-inch LCD screen (1280x800 resolution), a 250GB hard disk drive, a DVD writer, a webcam, Windows Home Premium and comes with Intel's GMA 4500MHD video subsystem.
The laptop, which is available at Misco, is made even sweeter by the fact that you probably have to fork more than £100 extra if you purchase it elsewhere. No wonder then that this little gem tops Misco's list of top selling laptops.
(5) £220 Advent 4211
If none of the above suits you, then have a look at this £220 laptop available at Currys. This Advent 4211 is a refurbished model which in Currys jargon means that it is either an end of line item or has been returned by a customer.
In either case, it has been professionally checked, tested, data cleansed, repackaged with all basic accessories and has a full 12 month warranty. So you won't need to be worried about it qualitywise.
As for the specs, this is a 10.2-inch netbook weighing only 1.12Kg. It comes with an Atom N270 CPU, Windows XP, 1GB RAM and a 80GB hard disk drive.
Other goodies include WiFI, Bluetooth and a webcam. An updated version of this no-frill netbook, the Advent 4213, is also available for less than £245 at Dixons with a bigger 160GB hard drive and an embedded SIM card slot.