UNB/ CS/ David Bremner/ blog/ posts/ Which netbook to buy

There have been several posts on Planet Debian planet lately about Netbooks. Biella Coleman pondered the wisdom of buying a Lenovo IdeaPad S10, and Russell talked about the higher level question of what kind of netbook one should buy.

I'm currently thinking of buying a netbook for my wife to use in her continuing impersonation of a student. So, to please Russell, what do I care about?

I think a 10" model is required to get a decentish keyboard, and a hard-drive would be just easier when she discovers that another 300M of diskspaced is needed for some must-have application. I realize in Tokyo and Seoul they probably call these "desktop replacements", but around here these are aparently "netbooks" :)

Some options I'm considering (prices are in Canadian dollars, before taxes). Unless I missed something, these are all Intel Atom N270/N280, 160G HD, 1G RAM.

| Mfr    | Model    | Price | Mass (6 cell) | Pros                                 | Cons                                  |
| Lenovo | S10-2    | $400  | 1.22          | build quality,                       | wireless is a bit of a hassle (1)     |
|        | S10e     | $400  | 1.38          | express card slot                    |                                       |
| Dell   | Mini 10v | $350  | 1.33          | price                                | memory upgrade is a hassle (2)        |
| Asus   | 1000HE   | $450  | 1.45kg        | well supported in debian (3), N280   | price                                 |
| Asus   | 1005HA   | $450  | 1.27kg        | wireless OK, ore likes the keyboard, | wired ethernet is very new (4), price |
| MSI    | U100     | $400  | 1.3kg         | "just works" according debian wiki   | availability   (5)                    |
  1. Currently needs non-free driver broadcom-sta. On the other hand, the broadcom-sta maintainer has one. Also, bt43 is supposed to support them pretty soonish.

  2. There are web pages describing how, but it looks like it probably voids your warranty, since you have to crack the case open.

  3. I don't know if the driver situation is so much better (since asus switches chipsets within the same model), but there is an active group of people using Debian on these machines.

  4. Very new as in currently needs patches to the Linux kernel.

  5. These seem to be end-of-lifed; stock is very limited. Price is for a six cell battery for better comparison; 9-cell is about $50 more.