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5 Netbooks That Rival The Sony NW-Series Netbook

Sony has finally released a netbook even if it still doesn't want to call it by that name and as for any other Sony products, expect the NW-Series to be a rather expensive model with a price tag hovering around £500.

We decided to explore around to find out what other models were available on the market that could potentially rival Sony's netbook while undercutting it pricewise.

(1) Asus EEE PC1008HA

The EEE PC 1008HA, which we reviewed last month, is a damn good netbook which is on sale for as little as £360 from Microwarehouse (opens in new tab) (they actually have the red version).

The Seashell, as it is commonly known, is cheaper than the Sony NW but otherwise, it comes with the same set of hardware - Atom processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB hard disk drive, Windows XP. Only the screen (and the screen resolution) is smaller. The 1008HA is just 1-inch thin (at its thinnest) and weighs a mere 1.1Kg plus it comes with 1 year warranty.

(2) Medion Akoya Mini E1312

This new netbook will be launched on Sunday at Aldi supermarkets (opens in new tab) and unlike others here, is build around an AMD platform. In theory, this means that the laptop should be running faster thanks to the combination of the AMD Sempron 210U CPU and the ATI Xpress 1250 chipset.

For £340, you get a netbook that has a bigger screen than the Sony, comes with the same resolution but also packs a 6-cell Li-Ion battery, HDMI port, a slew of applications with a three year warranty.

The rest of the configuration remains the same. An excellent deal although some say that battery life on the AMD platforms is not as good as on an Atom.

(3) Compaq Mini 702EA

Although Sony's netbook may cost more than twice this little netbook, we feel that the Compaq 702EA (opens in new tab) has a fighting chance against Sony's candidate.

At £200, it comes with a great tag price especially given that apart from a smaller hard disk drive and a smaller monitor, it packs the same components and applications as the Sony model.

You may therefore ask yourself whether it is worth paying £300 for these two upgrades. The 702EA also comes with a webcam and a 3-cell Lithium-Ion.

(4) Dell Inspiron Mini 10

The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 (opens in new tab) is not only tiny but it is also stylish thanks to the fact that you can choose from around 10 or so designs (some of which will cost you £35 though).

It comes with an Intel Atom Z530 processor, 1GB, a 10.1-inch HD screen that can display 1366x768 pixels, 1GB RAM, a 160GB hard disk drive, a webcam and a 6-cell battery. All for £379. You can also pack in a TV tuner for £30 which needs to be used with an external TV antenna.

(5) Acer Aspire ONE 751

The Acer Aspire One 751 (opens in new tab) has similar features as the Sony NW. It comes with a 1366x768 pixel screen - albeit a 11.6-inch model. It has an Atom processor with 1GB and a 160GB hard disk drive. But unlike the Sony model, it costs only £371 and has a battery life of 7 hours. Furthermore, it has a bigger than usual keyboard (characterised by a bigger space bar and a well formed SHIFT key) and a surprisingly thin profile given that its size almost puts in it 12-inch territory.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.