Top Ten Mini Laptops

Our latest Top Ten Mini Laptops as of May 2009. Once again we’ve trawled through dozens of our own and other peoples reviews and tried out the models and drawn our conclusions. We’ve based our results on practicality, functionality, cost and looks.

This month has seen the departure of several models from our Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings, as newer models come out. These include:

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

The original Dell netbook whilst small and compact was a compromised netbook, lacking the function keys, offering limited battery life, colour choice and storage and so it has exited our Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings this month. However, the new larger Inspiron Mini 10 solves some of these problems. We’ve yet to review it, but on the face of it they’ve sorted out the keyboard, which is incidentally quite large and some other problems.

The Dell Inspiron Mini 9 remains very good value on a Vodafone contract however, from around £20 per month. Consider separating the bundle and buying an Inspiron Mini 9 and USB modem contract separately and you would be spending around £30 more in total. Definetly worth a look…

Asus Eee PC 1000

Asus introduced the Eee PC 1000 after MSI brought out the first 10 inch netbook, the MSI Wind. With it’s brother, the Eee PC 901 they introduced a whole range of new features to the successful Eee PC range including large 6-cell batteries as standard and the now industry standard Intel Atom 1.6GHz N270 processor.

However, as larger brands have put together there netbook offerings, the big Asus netbook has slid down the tables. Asus have updated the model bringing out the Asus Eee PC 1000H, Eee PC1002HA and gorgeous variant – the Eee PC S101.

MSI Wind

The MSI Wind although loved by some has exited our rankings for two simple reasons. Firstly, there are now bigger brands with better products such as the Samsung NC10. Secondly, even if you did want to buy an MSI Wind you’d be wasting your money buying one. Why? Because you can buy an Advent 4211 instead! It’s the same computer, with different logos, but about £50 cheaper depending on where you buy. Even then, you’d be losing out. The new LG X110 is not in fact that new – it’s a restyled version of the MSI Wind which looks quite attractive. It also comes with 3G embedded.

So here we arrive at the Top Ten Mini Laptops Rankings… starting at the bottom:

#10 – Asus Eee PC 701

The first netbook unveiled by Asus at COMPUTEX Taipei in 2007, which kicked off this entire industry trend, has once again reappeared in our rankings. Yes, it isn’t as powerful as newer models, yes it does have a smaller screen and yes it does cost up to half the price of the newer models. True to its netbook routes, it is still one of the smallest, cheapest and lightest netbook.

If you were considering going for a budget mini laptop (fair enough during harsh economic times!) there are some unbranded models. But it’s always worth buying branded particularly with computers since you can take advantage of the after sales support network. For what it is, the Asus Eee PC 701 is still a bargain!

Overall: 2 stars – previous ranking February 09: Back in the Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings!

#9 – Asus Eee PC S101

Although we’ve previously ranked this netbook quite highly, Cnet still ranks it highly at their #3, but under it’s delicious skin there’s not very much there, especially for the price they’re asking – £449. On closer inspection there’s a derated battery – 4-cell instead of 6 like it more functionable brothers or not integrated 3G option like on the Eee PC 901. At about twice the price of similar spec, yet more powerful models it’s harder to justify a higher ranking anymore.

Overall: 3 stars – previous ranking February 09: #6

#8 – Toshiba NB100

The Toshiba mini laptop has climbed the rankings thanks to some incredible price cuts. The Editor has found Amazon.co.uk shaved £50 off the £299 RRP, with LaptopsDirect cutting a further £50 off that during April in a clearance sale. The computer isn’t as good as some competitors such as the Asus Eee PC 901, but the build quality is pretty solid and the brand holds a lot in its name so we consider it a safe buy.

Toshiba have also unveiled plans for a larger 10 inch model boasting 160GB of storage and 3G embedded. See New Mini Laptops

Overall: 3 stars – previous ranking February 09: #10

#7 – LG X110

This pretty new laptop is infact based upon the pioneering 10 inch laptop, the MSI Wind. The corners have been rounded off to give quite an attractive chassis, and the price tag isn’t too bad either. The addition of integrated 3G allows for connectivity wherever you can get mobile phone signal, not yet available on competing models such as the HP Compaq mini 700 or Samsung NC10.

Overall: 3 stars – previous ranking February 09: New ranking in this months Top Ten Mini Laptops, but the MSI Wind hit #9

#6 – Acer Aspire One

The Acer Aspire One family has grown to include the new D150 10 inch netbook. We’ve decided to merge the two for the sake of rankings. The price range for new model is similarly good value to its smaller brother, significantly cheaper than the £300 odd you’d expect to pay for the very latest netbook.

Despite the addition to the range, the Acer has slipped slightly down the rankings as newer and better models enter the Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings.

Overall: 3 stars – previous ranking February 09: #5

#5 – Asus Eee PC 901

The Asus Eee PC 901 is a truly complete netbook. It replaced Asus’ earlier 9 inch models, the Eee PC 900 series introducing 6-cell batteries and Intel Atom processors as standard. Now available for FREE on contract with Orange in a variety of colours the options are vast. We consider it the best 9 inch portable mini laptop.

At the time of writing, the Asus Eee PC is available for around £25 per month on Orange Pay Month Mobile Broadband.

Overall: 4 stars – previous ranking February 09: #4

#4 – Asus Eee PC 1002HA

The top end of the Asus Eee PC range comes in the shape of the Eee PC 1002HA. Complete with a restyled chassis with inspiration taken from the seductively sleek Eee PC S101 and the insides of the Eee PC 1000H. Unfortunately, they’ve stopped a hairs breath away from making something quite amazing by failing to offer the 6-cell battery as standard like the earlier Eee PC 901/1000 models. None the less it hit’s #4 in our Top Ten Mini Laptops rankings – a new entry.

Overall: 4 stars – previous ranking February 09: New ranking!

#3 – Samsung NC10

Samsungs low-key entry into the netbook world has been met with overwhelming sales success. The keyboard, crafted to make the letter keys larger and the number keys smaller to help with typing is almost a match for an HP netbook. Recently, O2 have partnered up with Samsung to offer a range of laptops on mobile broadband contract including the NC10. O2 offers one of the better networks, with it being the sole provider for the infamous Apple iPhone in the UK. As well as providing an excellent network, they also offer free Home Broadband for mobile broadband customers.

Samsungs confidence in netbooks has become overwhelming, with the larger Samsung NC20 now available and more models unveiled and waiting in the pipeline. See mini-laptops-and-notebooks.com and click on ‘New Mini Laptops’ for details including pictures!

#2 – HP Compaq Mini 700

Not shifting from last months Top Ten Mini Laptops is the HP Compaq mini 700 which boasts the best keyboard in the netbooking world. You’d think it obvious to stretch it right to the edges woudn’t you, but few mini laptops do so. Although it does leave the trackpad a tad on the slim side, it’s a much better interface than other competing models. Keeping it high in the rankings is it’s price which has dropped significantly over the last few months to around £250-260, far less than the Samsung NC10.

The HP Compaq mini 700 is also available on mobile broadband contract, with Orange and 3, although all in we don’t find it as good value on contract as the providers other offerings. For example, on Orange you pay a fiver extra for the Compaq over the Asus Eee PC 901 for the same service – so it’ll cost an extra £120 over the duration of the contract.

Overall: 4 stars – previous ranking February 09: #2

and our #1 mini laptop is…

Sony VAIO P Series

The new Sony VAIO P Series mini laptop was unveiled at CES. Sony’s new 8 inch, £849 “lifestyle pc” (Sony are vary wary to avoid the term “netbook”) is less than 2cm thick and only slightly larger than an office envelope. It comes with a world of features including 3G Mobile Broadband, inbuilt GPS, Windows Vista, battery life of up to 8 hours, SSD storage of up to 128GB and amazingly weighs less than 640g!