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The laptop market has advanced at quite a pace over the last few years and a series of sub-categories have emerged including the smallest and lightest range of laptops which are generally called netbooks or tablets. Known for quality, low cost, products both Acer and Asus have dominated the netbook market so far. For more on the rivalry check out Asus versus Acer Netbooks.
In order to produce a contender for the smallest and lightest laptop most manufacturers have ditched certain features, the most common being a CD, DVD or Blu-ray drive. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most compact and portable devices out there to cater for different requirements.
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UMID mbook M2
If you are looking for the smallest and lightest laptop on the market, and this is your chief concern, then the UMID mbook M2 is a strong competitor for the title. Improving on the M1 this clamshell design is ultraportable. It weighs in at under a pound and features a 4.8 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It comes with a choice of Intel Atom processors, either 1.2 GHz or 1.6 GHz. The RAM has been beefed up to 1 GB, an improvement over the M1’s 512 MB, and the hard drive offers 16 GB or 32 GB of SSD storage space. They have also packed in a 1.3 megapixel camera, a microSD memory card slot and a 3G sim card slot for wireless functionality. There is also a USB port and a VGA output. In terms of battery life you’ll get up to 5 hours of use from a full charge. Finally the new model will run Windows 7 instead of Windows XP.
This device starts at $499 for the lower spec. Since this device is so small it doesn’t seem to offer much advantage over a smart phone with a built in keyboard which would offer more functionality and be even more portable. The UMID mbook M2 is probably a bit too small for most laptop shoppers. You can check out a demo video of the UMID mbook M2 in action.
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Asus Eee PC T91MT Tablet Netbook
We jump up a fair bit in size here but the standardized dimensions of many of the smallest and lightest laptops are similar to this offering from Asus which is 8.9 x 6.5 x 1 inches. It weighs in at just 2.1 pounds so it is small enough to be highly portable but still large enough for comfortable use. This device features an 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor, 1 GB of RAM (2 GB is an option), and 32 GB of SSD storage with an additional 500 GB of free Eee storage online. The 8.9 inch screen has multi-touch functionality. Once again the battery life will give you around 5 hours of usage from a single charge. There are two USB ports and two SD/SDHC memory card slots and the device runs Windows 7.
The Asus Eee PC T91MT will cost you just over $500. The screen is large enough to watch movies on and it swivels in any direction which is a nice feature. This is a solid offering from Asus and for anyone seeking a small and lightweight device which is still large enough to comfortably work on it is worth checking out.
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Acer Aspire One AOA150-1555 Netbook
This isn’t the smallest or the lightest laptop on offer but it is worth considering because of the specs and the fantastic price tag. It measures 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches and weighs 2.4 pounds. It has a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, 1 GB of RAM (1.5 GB is an option), and a 160 GB hard drive. There is an 8.9 inch display and a VGA output. This machine runs Windows XP, supports Wi-Fi and has 3 USB ports, 1 headphone and 1 microphone jack and a multi-in-one memory card reader. The battery life on this device is only 2.5 hours which is a drawback for people on the go.
The Acer Aspire One AOA150-1555 is available for under $300 so it isn’t difficult to see why it is so popular. It is a little larger than some of the other offerings but it remains highly portable and represents great value for money.
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HP Mini 110-1125NR Netbook
This laptop from HP is a bit bigger again measuring 10.3 x 6.77 x 1.04 inches and weighing in at just less than 3 pounds. It has a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive. The screen is 10.1 inches with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It supports Wi-Fi, runs Windows 7 and has a built in webcam. It also features a 5-in-1 memory card reader. In terms of battery life HP claim it offers up to 8 hours from a single charge (with limited feature usage).
The HP Mini 110-1125NR is being offered for $439.60 at Amazon right now. The bonus here is the 92% of normal size keyboard which is ideal for people who struggle to use keyboards which are too small.
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Sony VAIO Lifestyle
The final option on our list is the Sony VAIO Lifestyle which measures 9.7 x 4.8 x 0.8 inches and weighs just 1.4 pounds which makes it a real contender for the smallest and lightest laptop title. It has a 1.33 GHz Intel processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 64 GB SSD hard drive. There is an 8 inch wide screen display with a resolution of 1600 x 768 pixels. It has a built in webcam and microphone, GPS functionality and you can get wireless mobile broadband using the Verizon service. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and runs Windows Vista. There are two USB ports, a VGA output and slots for Memory Stick Duo or an SD memory card. Battery life is up to 4 hours.
The Sony VAIO Lifestyle is attractive but expensive and you won’t get much change from $900 if you want one of these. Sony is a great manufacturer but this device is tough to recommend. You can get more for your money with some of the other options on this list and my top pick is the Asus Eee PC T91MT. It may not be the smallest and lightest laptop of them all but it combines portability with decent specs and offers good value.