Critics' Choice: The Top 5 Netbooks | Page 2

3. Lenovo IdeaPad S12
Number of top 5 lists it appears on: 3.
LAPTOP magazine rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
PCMag rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
PC World rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Current online prices: $430 and up.

Pros: Comfortable keyboard; good-to-amazing battery life; instant-on OS; excellent audio quality; ExpressCard slot; crisp screen.

Cons: Battery protrudes; some might not want a 12-inch screen netbook; pricey and heavier than some netbooks; cheap mouse buttons.

Worth quoting: "Larger than your average netbook, the S12 provides average performance at a fairly high netbook price." (PC World)

Worth noting: Some models of the IdeaPad S12 feature the nVidia Ion chipset, which is designed to boost graphics performance. But do you really want to spend over $400 for a netbook with a 12-inch screen (versus a more powerful laptop for not much more money)?

4. Samsung Go N310
Number of top 5 lists it appears on: 3.
CNET rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
PCMag rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
PC World rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Current online prices: $300 and up.

Pros: Unusual, rugged, rubberized design; excellent battery life; good keyboard.

Cons: Slightly overpriced (though prices since some reviews have appeared have come down noticeably); obnoxiously large logo on the lid.

Worth quoting: "The Go is a stylish and far-from-subdued portable that's shaped like a big rubber pebble." (PC World)

Worth noting: Samsung's been spitting out new netbook models at a furious pace, so it's easy to get confused by all the company's offerings.

5. Samsung N120
Number of top 5 lists it appears on: 2.
Computer Shopper rating: 9.0.
PC World rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Current online prices: $285 and up.

Pros: Large, comfortable keyboard; above average audio (for netbooks); solid battery life; smudge-free finish.

Cons: Smallish touchpad; screen glare can be annoying.

Worth quoting: "With its top-notch keyboard, excellent audio, and superb battery life, the Samsung N120 is a top contender for anyone looking for a netbook with a 10-inch screen." (Computer Shopper)

Worth noting: As the former mobile computing blogger for PC World, I saw lots of netbooks come and go before I made my first netbook purchase, and the Samsung N120 is the one I bought. It's got one of the most comfortable netbook keyboards you'll find. The battery lasts a respectable five hours or longer, depending upon use. And because it's been on the market for about half a year now, you can find it now for under $300. (I paid $410 in mid 2009.)

>James A. Martin covers mobile technology and travel in the Traveler 2.0 blog and is an SEO content writer for businesses.

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