With so many new netbooks entering the market these last weeks, it was finally time for a new list with the best netbooks in the 10 inch class, based on my personal experience with them and reviews from buyers all around the world.
However, having so many good choices on the market, it was pretty difficult to make a top, that’s why i divided the article in 3 parts: cheap netbooks, mainstream and “money are not a problem” devices. You can read about each of them below.
While a couple of years ago we used to get plenty of new 10 inch netbooks to choose from, 2012 saw most of those models discontinued, with only a bunch of new ones to replace them. I’ve tested all the new 2012 netbooks launched so far and you’re going to find details about each of them bellow.
It’s important however to understand that there’s a new trend settling for this class: 10 inch netbooks tend to become more powerful and cheaper, but you no longer get the premium options you used to get a couple of years ago.
Also, a bunch of producers have abandoned this class, like Samsung or Sony, which leaves more room for Asus, Acer, HP and Toshiba products in our list.
Of course, this post is not a top, it is a list of recommended products, based on my experience with them and reviews from journalists and regular buyers, posted online. I can’t say which of these is better than the other, that’s for each of you guys to decide, based on your needs and expectations from these little machines. My short explanations and the through reviews on this site will help though, plus you can always leave a comment and ask for advices.
Best netbooks for budget oriented customers
If budget is your main concern, but you’re still looking for a nice device, than these laptops in here are the ones for you. They come with decent hardware and battery life, but in most cases they won’t be the best in terms of materials and finishing quality and will offer old style flat-keyboards and no Bluetooth.
Asus EEE PC X101 with Meego – details here
The X101 is perhaps the lightest, slimmest and also cheapest 10 incher available in stores these days. But there are a couple of reasons for that: it packs a low-power single core Atom processor and no HDD, but a 8 GB flash-drive for storage (which you can extend by using a SD card). Plus, you don’t get Windows as the OS (not that there was enough space for it anyway, but Meego, a light OS meant for basic tasks), but an OS I actually tested on the Acer D257 last year and found out that it has some severe lacks.
So you do get your downsides, but those come with the package if you’re looking for a 2 pound 0.7 inch mini laptop that still packs a decent keyboard, decent trackpad and standard 10 inch screen.
Are all these worth around 200 bucks (see the updated price over at Amazon)? Personally, I’s day no; I’d rather pay 50 bucks extra and get a faster processor, more storage space and a proper OS. You might argue that those devices will be heavier/bulkier and this X101 Meego netbook is going to be fine for light use, which is true in theory, but my past experiences with Meego just won’t let me recommend it to anyone.
Asus EEE PC X101CH – more details in here
This is Asus’s latest entry-level netbook, their most affordable 10 incher for 2012. Part of the new Flare EEE PC family, it brings a new design and the latest Intel Atom platform.
On the outside, you get a plastic case with a dimpled texture. Opening the lid cover, there’s a proper keyboard and trackpad, plus a matte 10 inch display, and you’ll notice that the same color used for the exterior is also used on the palm-rest. You’ll also notice that there’s no a single bit of glossy plastic on this machine, which makes it so much more suitable for life on the road.
Inside you get an Intel Atom N2600 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 320 GB storage space and Windows 7 Starter. The dual-core CPU is part of Intel’s new Atom CedarTrail platform and can handle well basic multitasking, plus it can deal with HD and Full HD content, which can also be output via HDMI to a bigger display. Also, the entire hardware platform is fanless, thus the computer runs very quiet, but also decently cool.
Asus set the list price for the EEE PC X101CH at about $269 in the US, with a 3 Cell battery that’s gonna offer around 4 hours of life in a daily use scenario. But I’m pretty sure the prices will get lower in time, so you should check this page on Amazon’s website for up-to date prices and some extra details about this machine, plus pictures and reviews from those who already bought the little fellow.
– see full review
Last but not least in this list of affordable netbooks, there’s the Toshiba NB505. This has been quite popular during 2011, and while not available in the US in most stores, it still is around the world, that’s why I’m still keeping it here, until the new generation Toshiba netbooks pop out. It brings a single-core Atom Processor, 1 GB of RAM, 320 GB storage and Windows 7 Starter, plus a 6 Cell 48 Wh battery that will get you about 6-8 hours of life on everyday use.
On the outside, the NB505 is covered in some high quality smooth plastic, with a textured dimpled finish. You can get it in 5 different colors, like brown, blue, green, turquoise and orange and all look way better than that dull black you usually get on cheap notebooks. There is also a nice partially Full-size keyboard (see details about netbooks with Full-size keyboards), unlike the keyboard on most netbooks that are 93-95% of a Full size one.
Overall, the Toshiba NB505 is for sure a solid affordable laptop. Only real objection goes towards the glossy screen that will reflect anything when used in strong light. The reviews and marks scored by this product with experts and regular buyers also stand as proof to how good it actually is.
As for the price, the NB505 is usually listed around 250 bucks, but prices might vary from store to store, especially now when the stocks are running out soon. In Europe, this one goes as Toshiba NB500 and costs just around 200 pounds in the UK or around 250 euro in Germany .
All in all, the devices above meet different expectations, as they are built on different hardware and software platforms. Picking one over the other will depend on your needs and taste.
In the next couple of months, we should expect more cheap 10 inch netbooks in stores, and I’ll update this post once they become available.
If you’re considering getting an used laptop, you should take a look at devices like the Asus 1001Ps, the Acer Aspire One D522 or the Toshiba NB305 . Should be able to find these for around 200 bucks, but buying an used laptop comes with risks (it might break after a couple of days or weeks and fixing it will cost you way more than buying a new one, in most cases), thus I won’t really advice you to do it. Better go for refurbished netbooks if you’re looking to save some bucks, at least you’ll get 3-6 months warranty.
For more options of fair-priced mini laptops, you should check out my other post about cheap netbooks as well.
Mainstream netbooks – best in terms of performances/price
Want an overall good laptop (not that the above are bad) that won’t leave a hole in your wallet? Then one of the mainstream netbooks in here is perhaps what you need.
They provide the standard hardware based on Intel CedarTrail ( and the older PineTrail) Atom and AMD Fusion platforms, but with dual-core processors, so they offer improved performances and excellent autonomy, while looking good and having price usually around $300-$350. And there might be some other models as well: chiclet keyboards, ergonomic touchpads with multi-touch, Bluetooth, big batteries, HD displays, etc.
Asus EEE PC 1025C (read review) and 1025CE (read review)
These are the best 10 inch netbook Asus has in stores for 2012, the mainstream EEE PC 1025C, the good all-rounder with a proper price tag, and the top-of-the-line EEE PC 1025CE, which adds a couple of things on top, like I’ve told you in this detailed comparison of the two.
I’ve tested them both here on the site and you get the links towards the reviews above.
The 1025C is a solid machine and it’s going to start at $299, with an Atom CedarTrail N2800 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 320 GB HDD and Windows 7 Starter. Plus a 3 Cell battery, while a 6 Cell battery version is also going to be available for 20-30 bucks extra.
The 1025C is going to be quite snappy for a 10 incher, as the new Atom is indeed fast (a comparison between the N2800 and the previous generation Atoms is available here) and it’s also going to offer good video playing abilities (I’ve tested all kinds of 1080p videos and they all worked just fine). On the outside, there’s a new design, brought by this new Asus EEE PC line the Taiwanese company launched for 2012. The result definitely looks good and feels solid, with a soft plastic exterior and interior, available in a bunch of different colors. Plus, you do get a 10.1 inch matte display.
The 1025CE is basically the same device, with a couple of extras: you get more color options to choose for the exterior (and the bottom is also made from the same smooth material used for the lid cover, while on the 1025C is made from some regular textured plastic), it comes with an USB 3.0 slot and an enhanced WebCam and it’s only going to be available with a 6 Cell battery. As a result, the price tag is going to be slightly increased, starting at around $319 for the Asus EEE PC 1025CE.
So, there’s little not to like about these EEE PCs. But on a closer look, there’s one thing: the memory is soldered on both of them (although that might differ from region to region) and since the machines only come with 1 GB of RAM by default, you won’t be able to upgrade them, despite the fact that the platform can take up to 4 GB of memory. And a netbook with only 1 GB of RAM these days, well, it’s not going to be as snappy as I’d want it to be.
Acer Aspire One D270
This is Acer’s new 2012 netbook, bringing forward the new Intel Atom CedarTrail platform.
In terms of exterior and looks, the D270 sees no significant changes from the Acer D257, the most appreciated Acer 10 inch mini laptop in 2011 (the one we actually tested over here). There’s also the same keyboard, trackpad and screen, as much as I’d want to see a matte display on this machine, like you get on the Asus netbooks these days. The case is also covered in glossy plastic, which looks indeed great when you take the little fellow out of the box, but it’s going to catch fingerprints and scratches the minute you actually start using it.
The Acer D270 ir right now available with an Intel N2600 Processor, 1 GB of RAM, 320 GB storage and Windows 7 Starter, plus a 6 Cell battery as default. More powerful versions with an Intel Atom N2800 will also follow for sure in the next months. The good part is that the memory isn’t soldered like on the Asus machines above, so you can upgrade it, but on the other hand the Acer doesn’t offer an USB 3.0 slot and overall feels poorer built than the new EEE PCs.
All in all though, this is a fairly good 10 inch netbook. It brings forward the faster Intel Atom Cedar Trail platform that’s gonna provide decent everyday performances and solid video playing abilities, it packs a long-lasting battery (6 hours of daily use) and it’s the cheapest 2012 generation netbook available right now, with a starting price of $279. Of course, as months pass by, I’m sure the price will drop even lower, so you’d better check out this link towards Amazon for up-to-date pricing details.
Asus 1015B/1015BX – see full review
The Asus 1015B/1015BX is the first 10 inch laptop from Asus to come with AMD Fusion hardware and the result is a versatile netbook.
This is however a 2011 Asus EEE PC and while you’ll hardly find it in the US anymore, it’s still available in Europe. The link towards the review will tell you more about what is a great multimedia mini laptop, with decent performances, good video playing abilities and enough battery life to last you throughout most of your daily chores.
In the US, the prices for the 1015B started at around $270, with the better versions going for 330-350 bucks. In Europe, you’ll find the Asus EEE PC 1015BX, going for about 320 euros, with an AMD C50 APU.
I for one am looking forward for the updated 2012 AMD powered EEE PC (probably called the 1025B/1025BX) and I’ll update the post once it starts showing around.
HP Mini 210
Although not a particular fan of the HP Mini series, i could not let these netbooks out of this list, as they are fairly popular and appreciated in the US.
They benefit from a huge network of dealers and services throughout the States and one can easily configure its own setup on HP’s website. But that leads for quite a high price-tag for the final product
There are however a couple of pre-configured HP Minis I consider worthy, one of them being the HP Mini 210-4150R which comes with a new generation Intel Atom N2600 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 320 GB storage, 6 Cell battery and Windows 7 Starter. Thus, config wise, this HP is on par with the Acer D270 and the Asus X101CH listed above, but it is a bit more expensive, going for around 300 bucks (although you might find it cheaper online).
Is it worth the extra tens of dollars though? Well, the HP definitely is solid build and look good, plus that keyboard is actually quite comfortable for a 10 incher. On the other hand, it comes with a glossy screen, but at least the entire casing is covered in matte plastic. So, the HP is not as shinny as the Acer, which makes it better for the road, but also not as rough as the Asus.
Toshiba NB520 and NB550 – not available in the US
These are two devices that deserve a place here in our top but are only available in some European countries right now.
On the outside, they are all the same and resemble the NB505 you can find above, with a smooth plastic exterior and a dimpled finish, partially Full-size keyboard and glossy 10.1 inch display. Inside though, they couldn’t be more apart:
- Toshiba NB520 comes with Atom N550 CPU, 1 GB of memory, 250 GB hard-drive and Windows 7 Starter;
- Toshiba NB550D comes with AMD C50 APU with dual core 1.0 GHz processor and DirectX11 capable graphics, 1 GB of memory, 250 GB hard-drive and Windows 7 Starter as well (more details in my review here)
Plus, both come with potent Harman Kardon speakers embedded in the palm rest, the best you can get on 10 inchers for sure.
Price wise, the NB520 is available in Germany for 300 euros and in the UK for 280 pounds. The AMD powered NB550D goes for 320 euros in Germany and around 300 pounds in the UK.
Fancy and exclusive netbooks – best money can buy
If all the above are just not enough for you and you’re ready to pay $400+ for a 10 inch mini laptop, than the devices in this category are the ones for you. They are just the best money can buy and offer some fancy features and aesthetics, like touch-sensitive HD displays, metallic cases and stellar battery life.
However, i will not insist too much on this category, mainly because in the 10 inch class, you can hardly find anything above $400 really worth that kind of money. Also, the devices available right now and listed below do not offer latest generation hardware, but are built on last year’s Intel Atom PineTrail platform. And they might not be upgraded at all.
You do get the HP Mini 5103 with a metallic casing and lots of customization options (touch display, carrying handle, fast 7200 rpm HDD, extra memory, big battery), which can easily jump even to 1000 bucks, but you will still end with the same level of performance offered by other cheaper netbooks.
Plus, there’s another solid business netbook with aluminum casing and quite good features and specs, the Asus EEE PC 1016P. But are you really sure you want to pay that much extra for “details”?
That’s about it for now. If the post was useful, please tell your friends about it and leave a comment. Like i already said, as time passes and new devices will enter the market, you’ll see changes and updates. So make sure you check this one periodically. Also,prices and availability might change in time, so be sure to check the links for each product for up-to-date details.
In the end, i can only hope i could give you a hand in deciding which of the current 10 inch netbooks is the best for your needs and budget. Once again, I have to say that is a list of recommended mini laptops you will be able to find worldwide, although the prices are listed in dollars in most cases and will vary from country to country.
Thanks once again for your time and don’t forget, feedback would be greatly appreciated.