The 2 best features of Netbooks are that they are cheap (even the best ones are less than $ 500 and most are just over $ 300) and easy to carry around (both light and compact). The tradeoff is that netbooks (also know as mini laptops) are not very powerful. You can do work in Microsoft Office, read your email, play simple games, watch movies, even video chat on them. However if you start to run resource hungry applications or multiple applications, things start to slow down. If you want to do that you need one of the more expensive laptops.

In 'what netbook should I buy?' we are going to discuss the features that make a good netbook. Vital information to help you find the right netbook for your needs.

What to look for in a good netbook:

The brand: The best known brand is the ASUS. They practically invented the netbook and they have been the market leader since the beginning. They maintain their dominance by having a very high quality product that sells at a reasonable but not extremely low price. Other good brands are Toshiba, Dell, Acer and HP.

Memory: A new netbook should have at least 1 GB of RAM memory and be upgradable to 2GB. If you find that your netbook can not cope with your needs you can then easily upgrade it.

CPU: The CPUs in netbooks are made specifically for them and not used in Laptops or PCs. These chips use far less power than the CPUs of these other devices. Currently Intel's line of Atom chips are the most popular.

Operating System: Your OS options are: Windows 7 Starter or Windows XP. Vista uses too many resources to be a viable option. I recommend going with Windows 7, but if you are trying to save money you can save about $ 25 by going with Windows XP.

Size and weight: Decide what you are able to carry around and go with that. Netbooks tend to weigh between 2 and 5 pounds. A standard Netbook should be 10 x 8 inches in size and should be less than 3 inches thick.

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