Best 10 inch netbooks and mini laptops right now
We call netbooks the compact laptop computers with up to 12 inch displays and light body, but still capable of running all your everyday applications and software, while offering good autonomy and being quite affordable.
From all of them, the best balance between mobility, performance and price is offered by the 10 inch mini laptops and this is why they are the most appropriate picks for the majority of users. However, there are lots of different 10 inchers available right now on the market, some better, some worse. That’s why I’ve decided to write this post and tell you a couple of words about the models that stand out from the crowd.
You will notice that specs are pretty much the same for all the devices present in here, because most of them use the same Intel (or AMD) platforms. However, there’s more about picking a laptop than specs. You will want to know how well they look, how reliable they are, how comfortable is the keyboard, what to expect in terms of battery life or whether or not they get noisy or hot.
This is why i made this list of recommendations, so you’ll know that these devices are good and can meet most of your criteria. The list is based on my experience with these netbooks (I’ve been around them since early 2008) and reviews/opinions from regular buyers, gathered from various online sources.
So, let’s see what are right now the best 10 inch netbooks.
Affordable and cheap netbooks
If on the market for such a small computer and on a tight budget, here you can find the top picks you can get for under $300. All these devices are brand new, come with warranty and managed to score good marks and reviews with professional testers and regular users, despite their low price point.
So they are good and should be enough for most of your tasks, as long as you don’t expect them to be lightning fast or cope well with multitasking, playing HD video content or games.
Asus EEE PC 1001PXD – $249.99
The 1001P line of netbooks has been around for a while and the 1001PXD is one of its latest members. This Asus manages to provide an excellent price/features ratio. Comes with standard specs (N455 processor, 1 GB of memory, 250 GB hard-drive) and is also very solid built, with a matte textured casing that will deal perfectly with fingerprints or scratches.
However, unlike more expensive devices, this one only offers a standard flat keyboard, which is good but not as comfortable as an ergonomic chiclet one. Also, in terms of connectivity, you only get Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Fast Ethernet, so no Bluetooth.
There’s one bad point though: this 1001PXD only packs a 3 Cell battery, so should be enough for only 3 to 4 hours of life and that’s low for a netbook.
But does sell right now for only $249 an is available in white, black or blue. That’s with Free Shipping included so it sounds pretty good. Of course, the EEE PC 1001PXD does have its weak points, but is overall a sturdy and worthy little machine and considering its price, it’s for sure a great buy.
Toshiba NB505 – $299 $279
As a Toshiba netbook owner i must say they are one of my favorite netbook producers and for good reasons. The NB505 is what they have to offer these days in the affordable range of 10 inch mini laptops and this is a very appreciated product, as it combines solid construction, good performance, ergonomics and battery life in an overall great netbook for its price tag.
In terms of hardware this one is standard: Atom N455 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard-drive, Wireless N, Windows 7 Starter. But unlike other cheap netbooks, comes with a big 6 Cell battery that will last around 6 hours in daily use.
The exterior is covered in some smooth rubbery plastic and feels great; will also deal well with time, scratches and fingerprints. And you have 6 different colors, from the classic Blue and Brown to the funky Orange and Turquoise.You also get a proper sized trackpad and the new Full-size keyboard the guys at Toshiba developed for their 10 inchers, which should be great for those with bigger hands, but will take some time getting used to.
More details are available via this link, where you can find the NB505 on sale, for only $279 with shipping included (list price is $299, so you get a nice discount). You’ll also find the marks and reviews from those who already bought one of these, plus more pics and info.
Asus EEE PC 1015B – from $289
The 1015B is the first 10 inch Asus to hit the market with AMD’s new Fusion hardware on board. New platform won’t make the device faster in everyday tasks, but will make it capable of dealing with HD content (including 1080P) and even some popular but older games, like Word of Warcraft or Counter Strike.
There are several configs you can get for the 1015B, starting with the C30 Ontario APU and ending with the dual-core C50, plus 250 GB storage, 1 GB of memory (expandable to 4 on a single slot) and Windows 7 Starter. And a 6 cell battery on top, that should get you around 5-6 hours of daily use every single charge.
Not much to say about exterior and keyboard, as they are identical to the ones you will find on all higher end EEE PCs these days: matte rubbery finish, chiclet keyboard with a good layout, accurate and proper sized trackpad. And there’s also the 10.1 inch matte display, which you’ll mainly find only on EEE PCs these days in this class.
The Asus 1015B goes for $289 right now, for the black version with AMD C30 APU (that’s the entry level AMD platform) and is for sure a great pack if you want a small, portable multimedia companion. More powerful and better equipped versions go above 300 bucks and you can check them out via this link.
Acer Aspire One AO255E – from $329 $287
While not a big fan of Acer, based on my previous encounters, we’ve seen their devices come a long way in the last years and the portables they have to offer these days are actually very very good, able to compete with devices from Asus, Samsung, HP or Dell, while being cheaper.
The Aspire One AO255E is their most popular model. It comes in a couple of different versions but we’re mainly interested in the top one, boosting a dual-core Atom N550 processor, 1 GB of memory, 250 GB hard-drive and Windows 7 Starter OS. You don’t however get Bluetooth and there’s only a smaller 6 Cell battery installed, capable of around 5 hours of life (8 on paper).
But you only have to pay less than 300 bucks for it, as the AO255E goes online now for only $287 and that makes it the cheapest good netbook with a dual-core Atom N550 processor. See the link for details.
Of course, you will have to stick with the glossy exterior, which actually looks amazing and is available in several different colors, but will scratch and catch fingerprints like crazy. And there’s also the glossy display. Plus, while keyboard is pretty good, trackpad is kind of narrow and sometimes imprecise.
Still, if you want a fast but cheap netbook, this is the one for you. Of course, there are other netbooks that can outmatch it in terms of looks, ergonomics, build construction and features, but none can compete with the Acer Aspire One AO255 in terms of pricing.
Best 10 inch netbooks
Here are the true best 10 inchers you can get these days with prices ranging from 300 to 400 bucks, although some will pop over the $400 mark because they pack some extra features (see details below).
Still, if you want a solid 10 incher, these are the devices you should consider these days.
Toshiba NB305 - $379 $329
The Toshiba NB305 is right now one of the most popular netbooks in the US and my personal favorite. It brings similar hardware to the best other 10 inch netbooks available, with Intel Atom N550 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard-drive and top notch connectivity. And while some might not consider it as good looking as the EEE Seashells, the Toshiba Mini NB305 is very solid built. Plus, based on my experience with the previous generation, it is also very reliable.
And last but not least, the Toshiba is the most comfortable of all. The lightly textured casing is available in a multitude of colors and is resistant to scratches, the screen is good, although still glossy and the metallic-feel keyboard plus trackpad with two click buttons is the best combo present on a 10 inch netbook at the moment.
The Toshiba NB305 is available for $329 these days, with a nice discount and free delivery included. And while this is an older generation 10 incher from Toshiba, it still remains one of the best picks in the class, especially now as it benefits from the hardware upgrade and the price cut. However, I doubt it will last in stocks for long, so better grab one fast.
Acer Aspire One AO522 – around $325
Acer also paired with AMD to launch a Fusion based 10 incher and that’s the AO522 we have here. This particular model however ships with the fastest AMD APU designed for netbooks, the C50 (unlike the Asus 1015B presented above), the ones that merges a dual-core 1.0 GHz processor and AMD 6250 graphics on a single chip.
These make the little machine quite snappy in everyday tasks (not snappier than Atom N550 equipped netbooks though), but the real difference is noticeable when dealing with HD content and games. This one can play 1080P video, both streamed and self stored, and can even output it via HDMI. Plus, can handle older but still popular games like WOW, Call of Duty, Counter Strike or Starcraft.
On the outside, the AO522 is identical to all the other Acer 10 inchers available these days, with the glossy exterior, slim body and island keyboard. Boosts the same 6 Cell 4400 mAh battery and the AO255E model, but is only rated at around 6 hours of life, so we should expect 4-5 in real life use.
All these for $329 sound nice. And it’s even cheaper on Amazon.com , where it goes for $325 with Shipping included. See the link for reviews, more and bigger pics and extra details.
So, the AO522 packs AMD Fusion and that should make it a feasible choice if you need a more versatile 10 incher with a nice price tag. Won’t see any differences in every day tasks from a dual-core Atom N550 device, in fact I found the C50 slightly slower, but when dealing with multimedia content and games, this one is far superior. Thus, if you plan on using your 10 inchers for such stuff, the Acer Aspire One AO522 won’t let you down.
Asus EEE PC 1015PEM – $379 $368
The EEE PCs is for sure the most notorious line of netbooks on the market. The 1015PEM is their top mainstream model right now, a device meant to merge design, ergonomics and power in a single perfect laptop.
This one is a bestseller all around the globe, but especially in the US and Europe, as it is a little pricier than most of its competitors. Comes with Atom N550 dual-core processor, 1 GB of memory, 250 GB storage + 500 GB online, Windows 7 Starter, Wireless N and Bluetooth 3.0. Plus, you get a huge 6 cell battery capable of around 10 hours of life on a single charge (13 based on Asus’s tests).
Design wise, this one is nearly perfect. It comes with a soft rubberized exterior available in a bunch of different colors, allowing great grip and capable of dealing well with smudges and scratches. Opening the lid you get the ergonomic trackpad and chiclet keyboard, plus the 10 inch matte display, a feature not very common on netbooks.
All these make the 1015PEM a little bit more expensive than most of the competitors, but we’re sure it is worth every penny of the $379 bucks you’ll have to pay for it. And if you’re living in the US, you can find it online on Amazon.com with a small discount, for only $368, with Shipping included. And there’s also a cheaper model, with a smaller battery and no Bluetooth, going for around $315 . See the links for details, pictures and reviews from owners.
Overall, the 1015PEM is for sure one of the best 10 inchers you can find these days. Too bad though the big battery model is only available in the States.
Asus EEE PC 1015PN – around $430 $350
The 1015PN is for sure the most powerful 10 inch netbook, as it boosts the dual-core Atom N550 processor and Nvidia ION graphics (this makes it capable of handling HD multimedia content and games). It’s even overall better than those devices with AMD Fusion inside.
Everything else is identical to the 1015PEM, but the powerful hardware will take battery life expectations to only 9.5 hours on paper, so more like 6-7 in real life use.
Price wise, the 1015PN is listed at $430, but you can find it online in the States for as low as $349, and that’s a great deal for sure. See the link for more details.
You will notice it’s even cheaper than the 1015PEM and you’ll ask yourself why, since this one is faster? Well, most users don’t need the better graphics capabilities of this one, as they don’t plan on running 10180p content or games on 10 inchers. They do however need battery life. Plus, in order to properly use this one, you’ll need to upgrade Windows to at least Home Premium version, as the Starter bundled with it prevents the ION graphics from functioning properly (won’t allow Optimus to kick on so you’ll have to change between graphic boards manually). That takes the overall price of the 1015N above 400 bucks, considering the OS update costs.
Still, if you want the fastest 10 incher, this is the device to consider, as long as you upgrade the operating system, get 2 GB of memory on it and replace the hard drive with a faster 7200 rpm one or even an SSD. All these however make the 1015PN a netbook for enthusiasts, rather than one meant for average users.
Samsung NF310 – $399 $384.99
Samsung is known for their electronic products, but not that much for their laptops. With the new series they seem to have struck gold though, as they managed to get them as close to perfection as possible.
The NF310 is their top device in the 10 inch segment and it’s a great mini laptop, starting from design and ending with features. Yes, the exterior is glossy and only available in black (so will scratch and catch fingerprints), but it looks very nice, with that curvy shape.
Opening the lid you’ll notice a very comfortable chiclet keyboard and a proper sized trackpad, plus a matte 10 inch display. However, unlike most 10 inch display found on netbooks, this one boosts HD resolution: 1366 x 768 px so everything will look smoother on it. Also packs decent viewing angles and good brightness levels.
Punchy Atom N550D processor is used, so this device will handle 720p content flawlessly. Of course, 1080p content is still a not match, but you won’t need it anyway since the NF310 lacks an HDMI port. Excellent 3D SRS speakers were also thrown in the mix, alongside a 6 cell battery that can go for 6-7 hours on daily use (up to 9.4 hours on paper).
Now, you probably expect this one to be expensive, but its $399 list price is actually quite good. And Amazon.com even sells it discounted, for $384.99 these days, with Shipping included. See the link for extra info.
All in all, the Samsung NF310 is a great bundle and offers something almost no other 10 incher does: a 10 inch matte HD display. Add the excellent keyboard, powerful hardware, great speakers, nice design and good battery life and you’ll get a winner. Reviews and almost perfect marks scored by the NF310 with experts and regular users also stand prove of its quality. Of course, it could have had a matte plastic or metallic body or Nvidia ION, but those would have made it probably too expensive.
Asus Touch EEE T101MT – $550
Unlike all the other netbooks above, the Asus T101MT is a netbook tablet PC, with a convertible touchscreen. Thus, it can be used like a standard netbook, as it comes with a keyboard and all, but also the screen can be swiveled in order to transform the device into a slate.
Having this function adds a lot to your everyday experience with the device, browsing or watching movies being an absolute pleasure while in tablet mode. Also, you can use it to take notes or sketch different things with the included pen. Besides this, the Asus T101MT looks very nice, with a black matte finish and incredible attention to details.
However, it is sometimes sluggish, as the poor Atom hardware inside can’t really keep pace with all the demands of the touch interface. Still, for every day tasks, it should do just fine. It packs 2 GB of memory and Windows 7 Professional, but these two to add to the final price.
The Asus T101MT goes for around $550 w/ Shipping included in the US these days. You can get it from here, where you’ll also find more details, pics and reviews from regular users who bought it and posted their opinions about it online.
These are some of the netbooks that didn’t quite made it here, mainly because they are not available worldwide, but only in some parts of the globe (mainly in Europe and not in the US) or because we considered them too expensive to actually recommend them. These are great picks as well and should be also considered:
- Toshiba NB520 and NB550D – the superior exponents of Toshiba’s new line of netbooks. First one comes with dual-core N550 Atom processor while the second does come with ADM C50 hardware and a big 6 Cell 61 Wh and is for sure a power horse, especially capable of handling all kind of multimedia content and output it towards and external display. The NB520 is mainly available in Europe for around 300 euros, while the NB550D is only on sale in the UK and some particular eastern European countries for now and goes for around 330 pounds .
- Samsung NF210 – another great looking 10 incher from Samsung, with some excellent keyboard and build quality. Goes for around 250 euros in Germany/France/Italy and packs Atom N550 processor, 6 Cell battery and all the other standard features.
- Dell Mini 1018i - although available in the US with prices starting at $299, I’m not really a fan of Dell 10 inchers, as I (and many others, based on reviews) consider them overpriced and overall poor built. They do have two advantages though: can be configured to your own preferences on Dell’s US site and benefit from Dell’s extensive support and services chain available in the States, just in case something goes wrong with them.
- HP Mini 210 – the Mini 210 is actually a pretty good netbook and is available in the US. However, I find HP’s netbooks to pricey to actually recommend them. For instance, for $329 you can only get the single core N455 processor, black finish and a small battery, while all the devices listed above offer more for a smaller price. You do get to pick your own config on HP’s official site if you’re living in the US, but expect to pay 10-20% extra for one of those configured 210s. And that’s just no worth it in my eyes.
Of course, being able to configure your own mini laptop can make them much more versatile. You can equip them with dual-core processors, HD 10 inch display, more memory and faster hard-drives, plus bundle them with extended warranty and software. But these can easily get prices for these above 500 bucks. And who would actually pay that much for a netbook when you can get way better and still portable devices in the 11.6 and 12 inch classes?
That’s about it for now. These are at the moment the best options for quality 10 inch netbooks and mini notebooks. As you can see, there are cheaper and more expensive versions, matte or glossy ones and many color options, so theoretically there’s something for everyone’s taste in here.
Still, this list will suffer changes in time, as new and better devices will enter the market. Thus, don’t forget to check it out from time to time I’f you looking to get a 10 inch mini laptop in the near future.
I can’t recommend any particular device as they are all good, but if you need help and info on any particular models and situations, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact my be email. I’ll be glad to help you.
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