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Choosing the Best Netbook for Use Outdoors

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 4/25/2010

Netbooks are very portable devices, so it is reasonable that you might want to use your netbook outdoors. If a netbook has a glossy screen this is basically impossible. However, the matte screens on some netbooks makes them perfect for use in areas where sun glare is a concern.

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    Combating Sun Glare

    The march of the glossy screens has long been an accepted, but not necessarily loved, part of netbooks. Glossy screens look good, and they tend to provide more vibrant color, but they can be very difficult to use in lighting conditions which are less than optimal. Take a glossy screen netbook outside and you'll find that it is basically unusable. This problem can also occur in rooms with numerous windows or bright lighting.

    The solution is to buy a netbook with a matte screen, but finding them can be difficult because the matte display is not always advertised by the company making the netbook. This guide points out three common, excellent netbooks which have matte screens.

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    Eee PC 1005HA-V

    ASUS Eee PC 1005HA Considered to be the value option in the Eee PC 1005HA line, the 1005HA-V isn't much different from other netbooks in the 1005HA line. The 1005HA-V receives a 1.6Ghz Atom processor, down from the 1.66Ghz processor found in more expensive 1005HA models. But believe me, no one is going to miss the extra 66Mhz of performance. You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference even using benchmark software. The other specifications - 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive - are what you'd expect.

    The chassis is the same as any other Eee PC 1005HA with the only difference being the matte screen. This means that the 1005HA-V has a great keyboard and a great trackpad. Battery life is good, too, coming in at a respectable 6 hours during normal use. The 1005HA-V also has a webcam and wireless b/g/n, but it doesn't have Bluetooth. Considering the typical price of $320, the Eee PC 1005HA-V is a great value.

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    Samsung N150

    Best Netbooks for Sun Glare One of the few recently released netbooks which comes only with a matte screen, the Samsung N150 uses the latest netbook technology. The processor is a 1.66Ghz Pinetrail Atom processor, which is backed up by 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. It comes with Windows 7 starter and also includes a 1.3Megapixel webcam along with wireless b/g/n. The Atom processor allows the Samsung N150 to achieve between 6 and 7 hours of battery life in nromal use.

    The Samsung N150 is also a very nice netbook to look at thanks to a clean, modern design. The keyboard is good, although not as good a some previous Samsung netbooks, and the trackpad actually has two separate physical trackpad buttons - no gimmicks here. The Samsung N150 also includes a smaller battery than some other netbooks, allowing the N150 to come in well under 3 pounds and avoiding the battery bulge which plagues some other netbooks. The N150 is a great value, too, with prices starting around $309.99.

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    Lenovo Thinkpad X100e

    Best Computer for Sun Glare The inexpensive and utilitarian Lenovo X100e is a good choice for those who want a matte screen and a small size but don't mind sacrificing some battery life for performance. Since the X100e is part of the Thinkpad line, it receives not only an excellent matte screen but also an outstanding keyboard and trackpad. I really can't stress enough how good the keyboard is - there are laptops which cost thousands of dollars that don't have this good of a keyboard.

    Inside, the X100e is powered by the AMD Neo processor. The Neo is much faster than an Atom (but still slower than Intel's Core 2) and the X100e also comes with ATI Radeon HD3200 graphics, but the faster processor and GPU requires a trade-off in battery life. Despite having a six-cell battery the X100e only manages about 4 hours away from a power socket. The price makes up for that, however. The X100e starts at $449.99. That's more than the other netbooks here, but the X100e is also much faster and much better to use for long periods of time.