Netbooks and mini laptops with touchscreen sound like the best of both worlds: you can type, but you can also ignore the keyboard and just manage things through touch. However, now that there’s the iPad, I do think this line of products is going to struggle. However, a netbook does have software that’s much more compatible with your desktop pc. Also, they come with ordinary USB ports and things like that, so there are no worries about getting information from one to the other.
These tablet netbooks (as they’re starting to be called) are great for taking with you to meetings as an e-reader. If necessary, you can also actually change the documents you’re reading.
All these netbooks come with good customer reviews. I guess people in this market are choosing an iPad or Tablet very often. Remember whatever you do: these small devices usually come with less computing power than an ordinary PC. This is true even for the iPad. Still, the iPad is at least built to be fast loading and easy to use through the touchscreen.
There doesn’t seem to be much to distinguish these machines. They’re all slightly under 3 pounds. If battery life is an important consideration: go with the Asus (it was one of the the reasons I bought my Asus laptop last year). Of course any mention of battery life is a guess. In practice it will be less, especially if you go online.
If you want a netbook that doesn’t take tinkering, go with the Touchnote.
Let me start with the netbook with touchscreen that has the most recent amazon reviews:
What strikes me in the reviews is that everybody is pleased, but everybody also had to de-install software, and install more memory. In short: it’s the old geek route, you buy something, and tinker with it till you’re pleased. The advantage of a device with a keyboard is of course that this process of tinkering is doable. I can’t imagine trying this route on a real tablet pc where you can only change things through the touchscreen. But then, perhaps I should get used to that.
It is no wonder people are pleased with this netbook / tablet: it is a real netbook with Windows 7, yet the touchscreen is also put to good use with applications designed for that specific use.
- Touch tablet with 180°screen rotation
- Lenovo NaturalTouch Panel – responsive fingertip touch screen technology with touch-optimized multimedia applications
- Lenovo NaturalTouch – a range of touch-optimized multimedia applications
- DirectShare – easily synchronize your files with another notebook without connecting to the internet
- Active Protection System protects hard drive from shocks
- 2 USB ports
- 4 hours of battery life at best
The weight is 2.6 pounds – which is doable for most uses. However, if you’re going to have to carry it around a lot might be a bit much. (An iPad weighs in at only 1.5 pounds).
This netbook / tablet with touchscreen is 1.48 kg. Before you think that’s lighter, it’s not. It’s about 3 pounds, like the previous netbook. Again the reviews compare this to the iPad and choose to go with a netbook because of compatibility issues. The netbook comes with Windows 7 starter, but can handle the full edition without hardware upgrades (unlike the Lenovo).
- 10.1″ Touch screen, Intel® AtomTM Processor N280 1.66GHz. Windows® 7 Starter.
- 10.1″ Touch TFT-LCD WSVGA, 1366×768 with LED backlit. 92% full-sized keyboard.
- Mobile Intel®945GSE Express Chipset+ ICH7M. Embedded HSDPA Support. Smart Manager Intuitional Setting
- 2.5″ 9.5mm SATA HDD 5400rpm, 250 GB. Multi-Touch Mousepad. Battery Check Design.
- Comes with 2GB SD RAM UNINSTALLED – MUST SELF INSTALL.
- No report on battery life.
I love my own Asus 13 inch laptop, so I’m partial to this one. All else being equal, this is the one I’d pick. However, like the Lenovo and unlike the Touchnote tablets, this touchscreen netbook needs to be upgraded out of the box if you want a decent speed and usage out of it. However, it can handle Windows 7 once you do that.
- 3 USB ports
- Intel ATOM N450 CPU
- 1GB DDR2 1 x SODIMM slot; up to 2G; 160GB HDD; no optical drive
- 10.1″ Touch Screen (Multi Touch functionality when loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium OS)
- 802.11 bgn; 3M pixel camera
- Windows 7 Starter OS; 35W/h polymer
- Battery life: Up 6.5 Hrs
- Under 3 pounds.
I also looked at the 8.9 inch screen tablet netbook by Asus, but it still comes with Windows XP. I mean really! I guess they think that those smaller netbooks will be outdone by the tablets coming out this year and next. I can’t blame them. HOWEVER, the tablets I’ve seen don’t have USB connection or anything like that, so I think there’s still a market for a small portable touchscreen netbook that DOES act like a pc when you need it to.
In short, if you have to go with a touchscreen netbook, I’d recommend the GIGABYTE TouchNote T1028 10.1. However, really, since operating systems aren’t ready for touchscreen on PC just yet, I’d wait it out myself. Get an iPad if you must have a touchscreen device.