Netbooks to Avoid
Perhaps the best netbook advice comes in the form of what NOT to buy.
For starters, do not buy a netbook with the right shift key small enough to be a letter key. Also, avoid keyboards that put the right shift key out and to the side of the keyboard. You’ll pull your hair out hitting the wrong keys as you type.
Just as important as the shift key is the BACKSPACE key. Unless you type perfectly every time, chances are that your typing involves hitting several letter keys, and then the backspace key over and over when you change your mind or make a mistake. Test the keyboard in the store and if every time you try and hit backspace you hit F12 or something, find a different model.
Get the biggest hard drive instead of the solid state hard drive, which are smaller and slower than regular hard drives. The supposed benefit of these drives is that if you drop your netbook while it is writing to the disk it wouldn’t corrupt your SSD disk. I can count the number of times this has happened to me or anyone I know in the whole computing industry on one hand with no fingers. If you drop your netbook, hold your breath and hope it works out O.K., because you’re looking at 50/50 either way.
Finally, stick with the lower priced netbooks. A quick search around the Internet about what to do with older netbooks should convince you that these things are disposable. If Microsoft sticks to its guns on pricing and sizing, you won’t ever get to upgrade to Windows 7 (unless you shell out 25% to 50% of the purchase price for a new low-cost netbook), especially if it comes with a screen bigger than the maximum allowable 10.1".
Don’t forget, 1GB of RAM is obsolete already in all other machine segments. Would you consider buying a laptop with 1GB of RAM? In other words, these netbooks are already dragging the minimum hardware requirements along, software isn’t waiting, and since most of these units are not upgradeable, you’re just flushing money down the drain by buying an expensive notebook.