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elmillia's avatar

Do they still make netbooks?

Asked by elmillia (67 points ) August 23rd, 2014

Two to three years ago I had a Toshiba netbook. It was an amazing device. Although it wasn’t very powerful, it’s battery lasted between 7 and 10 hours. It came with Windows 7 Starter (Which I replaced with Linux Mint), and overall it was a pretty solid machine until it broke last year.

Lately I’ve been looking to replace it. I want something that is cheap, has an extensive battery life, and is smaller than a laptop but has a keyboard (unlike a tablet). It doesn’t matter if it isn’t a very powerful machine, though, as it’ll only be used for word processing and similar usage.

The only computers I have found only match a few of my requirements.
The Macbook Air and Ultrabooks are too expensive.
The Chromebooks look like amazing machines and very cheap, but they typically only have a small internal drive (16GB) and are designed for web usage.

So my question is two-fold. Do they still make netbooks or computers similar to netbooks? And who in Australia sells them?

Thank you.

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20 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, they make them, but in VERY small numbers and they are being phased out.

I can’t say about Australia, as I live in another former British colony. By guess is that if you can find one, you will be extraordinarily lucky.

sinscriven's avatar

Netbooks just never caught on and were outshadowed by tablets that could do everything and do it better.

I used to have an Asus TF300T tablet and it was lovely especially for it’s price. It’s an Android convertible tablet that folds and lets you type on it just like a laptop but if you pull it out of it’s keyboard, you then have a 10” tablet, and for only US$300.

But pretty much any tablet these days will allow you to use a bluetooth keyboard to connect to it and type and there are tablet covers that integrate it to make it feel like “one” device, whether it’s Apple or an Android device. The new windows tablets also have covers that double as keyboards as well.

johnpowell's avatar

I actually just bought this. I get a solid eight hours out of the battery. Took about a hour to install Ubuntu on it.

And one of these solves the storage problem. Or you could just replace the SSD.

Pachy's avatar

Last week I sat next to a woman in a software brush-up class with one. She had forgotten her power cord so I shared my MacBook. I had to smile to myself because when netbooks were at the height of their popularity and available everywhere I bought and returned no fewer than 6 or 7 brands because I found them so underpowered and hard to type on. That’s when I bought my MacBook. I still think netbooks are kinda cool looking, but oh what toys they are, and now, full-sized laptops and tablets are so cheap.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@johnpowell – but the one you show has a 11 inch screen.

One of the major selling points of the netbook family was that they had 6 or 7 inch screens.

johnpowell's avatar

It didn’t sound like they really cared all that much about size and are primarily concerned about price. And I also pointed out that some chromebooks can run Linux and have a bigger SSD installed.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Netbooks were portable and disposable. To this day they are still more functional than tablets in some respects. What really happened is the cost of full size laptops now rivals netbook costs and tablets have taken over the portability niche.

elmillia's avatar

@Pachy I guess my Toshiba one was a gem among lemons them, because it was amazing. I THINK it was 11inch, which is bigger than my iPad but smaller than my laptop.

I have considered using the iPad with a keyboard for what I need the netbook for… but the iPad’s battery life when the screen is on is very limited, as is any tablet.

@johnpowell Except for the 16GB hard drive and Chrome OS, that system does look perfect for what I need, the specs give it an 8.5 hour battery life. The instructions you linked to also make replacing the SSD look relatively easy, but my question is… if I add on the cost of a 120GB ssd, wouldn’t it push the cost of the device up past laptop level? Not that I’ve ever seen a laptop that can run for 8.5 hours on battery.

Thanks everyone.

lillycoyote's avatar

I you can find a tablet that meets your needs and is affordable you could put it in a bluetooth keyboard case like this one. I have my iPad mini in one and I love it. It turns it into a little laptop. And they are made for all sorts of different tablets. And with mine at least, the Mini pops in and out of it pretty easily and it’s a hard plastic case that protects the device very well. The Zagg keyboard is also back lit and has an incredible battery life, not so much the Mini though, for battery life. :-).

Anyway, it might give you more options if needing a keyboard is an issue.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yeah, they still make net books, was in Costco last week and they had one an Acer Aspire one for $288 Canadian, with 160GB hard drive.

jca's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: That’s what I have – an Acer Aspire. Last time I got one it was from Costco. This time I got it from Amazon. Two years ago, they had a sale in November (Costco did) for $199, which was incredible. Costco also doubles the manufacturer’s warranty.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@jca I have a 4 year old Acer Aspire one with a 160gb hard drive running windows 7 starter that I got from Wamart for $288 Canadian then was a little shocked to see they haven’t gone up at all, and still use it to this day, but mostly for traveling since we got the the Mac the wife and I tend to use it more now.

jca's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: It’s good enough for me, as all I use the home computer for is internet, Facebook and email.

elmillia's avatar

@lillycoyote The problem i have with tablets such as the iPad is the same problem i have with laptops. Not enough battery power. My iPad Air and my HP Laptop both have a battery life of between one and two hours at the most. (iPad has more if the screen isn’t on all th time, of course)

I’m looking for something small, lightweight, and that i can spend half a day away from power and internet being productive. I do have office apps on my iPad, and office related stuff on my LT but neither devices battery lasts long enough. I have considered the Chromebook, but they are designed to always have the internet accessible – and store things online rather than on the local drive.

lillycoyote's avatar

@elmillia Here’s a YAG (yet another gadget) solution to your power problem. You can use it with your existing. I know, once you start attaching a bunch of other stuff to your existing stuff you might as well lug a desktop around with you.

More advice from me than you probably want but I don’t have much else to do today. :-)

External battery pack

johnpowell's avatar

With ChrUbuntu you can put Ubuntu on a lot of Chromebooks. And with Crouton you should be able to install it on any Chromebook.

If storage is a issue just go with some cheap USB thumb drives. I got a 32BG USB3 one for around 20 bucks. It works well enough for playing back a 720P movie in VLC.

jerv's avatar

Tablets have largely taken over as many used netbooks only as internet browsers and video streamers without the bulk and expense of laptops. Also, those that cannot get by with tablets generally are seeking a desktop replacement; gaming forums are flooded with people looking for cheap gaming laptops who refuse to consider a desktop that’s 5 times as powerful for one-third the price.

But there’s still enough demand for low-cost ultra-portables that they still make netbooks; just not as many as 4–5 years ago. Or you could modify a Chromebook for more storage.

XOIIO's avatar

Lenovo X200 is a nice machine if you can get one. Runs windows 7 no problem and has a proper hard drive, not some onboard flash crap

elmillia's avatar

Hey all.

Thank you everyone for your responses… After reading this and visiting local computer stores, I was left with a 10.1 inch Windows 8 Asus Computer (It looks strangely like a netbook but was called a laptop :P) or a 13.3inch Toshiba Chromebook. I choose the chromebook. I’m normally a firefox user, so Chrome is a bit of an adjustment but I’ll manage for now. Later I’m going to swap out the SSD with a larger one, and hopefully put a version of Ubuntu on it.

According to ChromeOS, it has an 8 hour battery life.

Thanks everyone for their help.

lillycoyote's avatar

@elmillia Glad you found a solution.

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