Netbooks Prove that the Form Factor Has the Right Stuff

Netbooks from Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Asus demand trade-offs, tests show, but they let users do almost everything they need to do for a low cost and at a light weight.

By: John Dodge

When I first started testing netbooks, I thought they were not really a substitute for full notebooks. However, after four weeks of using three of them, I'm not so sure.

Netbooks let me do everything I need to do-e-mail, Twitter, word processing, Web surfing and blogging/content management. And I've adapted to the smaller keyboards. In short, the trade-offs I have had to make are worth the weight, size and price benefits that netbooks offer.

Indeed, netbooks are poised to eat substantially into the sales of full-sized notebooks, changing industry dynamics by transferring power to the Taiwanese companies that have popularized netbooks (Asus, Quanta, Compal and Wistron, for example).

The Lenovo IdeaPad S10 I tested has features that some other netbooks do not.

The HP Mini has the best keyboard of the netbooks I tested.

The Asus Eee PC is a mostly solid netbook that is priced aggressively, but its keyboard leaves a lot-maybe too much-to be desired.

And eWEEK Labs Executive Editor Jason Brooks provides some advice on determining whether netbooks have a place in the enterprise at