Almost every time we write about a new netbook, someone seems to comment that it's too expensive. "Why should one pay $500 for a cut-down system when you can get a 15.4" Dell notebook for the same price," they say. Netbook owners tend to justify their purchases by pointing to their machines' often-superior battery life and portability, but those justifications often fall on deaf ears.
We noticed such comments last week when we featured Asus' $450 Eee PC 1000H in our deal post, so we figured we'd recommend something a little cheaper this time. As the recent winner of a TR Editor's Choice Award, Acer's Aspire One seems like a great candidate.
The Aspire One costs only $329.99 with free shipping at Newegg, and it's definitely much closer to the original netbook concept than the Eee PC 1000H. Acer includes 512MB of DDR2 RAM, 8GB of solid-state storage, a three-hour battery, a copy of Linpus Linux Lite, and a narrow trackpad with buttons on either side. You still get an 8.9", 1024x600 display with LED backlighting, however, so you should be able to browse the web without horizontal scrolling (or too much eye strain). That's definitely not bad for just over 300 bucks.
If you'd like a different flavor of the same thing, Newegg sells a dark-blue variant for the same price (albeit without free shipping), and there's also a $399.99 model available with 1GB of RAM, a 120GB mechanical hard drive, and Windows XP.