Here I was, thinking netbooks—especially Linux-powered ones—had long since been relegated to the history books. Maybe that was a little hasty of me. As Liliputing reports, two U.S. e-tailers have started carrying an 11.6" Asus laptop that's awfully similar to the netbooks and consumer ultraportables of old—and has a price tag to match.
The Asus X201E is listed at PC Mall for $315.99 and at Compsource for $314. Compsource offers a pretty complete run-down of the specs, which include an 11.6" 1366x768 display, an Intel Celeron B847 processor (clocked at a blistering 1.1GHz), two gigs of DDR3 system memory, 320GB of 5,400-RPM mechanical storage, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a 0.3-megapixel camera, HDMI out, and a two-cell battery.
The kicker? This cheap and cheerful little machine ships not with Windows 7 or 8, but with Ubuntu Linux. Cue flashbacks of circa-2008 Asus Eee PCs with 7-inch screens and dumbed-down Linux distros.
Laugh if you must, but the X201E is a whole lot of computer for just over 300 bucks. And unlike the anemic Atom chips of even recent Eee PC models, the system's Celeron B847 is a dual-core Sandy Bridge chip that ought to be reasonably capable. Throw Windows on there, or even stick with Ubuntu, if you're one of those people, and you've got yourself a perfectly decent little workhorse. I hope the RAM is upgradeable, though.