Which of these 11.6" PC laptops should I get?
November 12, 2009 6:20 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an ideal 11.6" laptop/netbook for under $600.

I have $600 to buy a laptop and I think I've narrowed it down to two (I think). They both run Windows 7 and seem comparable in other respects.

I plan to use this laptop for taking notes, writing papers and browsing the internet, as well as maybe occasionally streaming video like on Netflix or Hulu. I own an external optical drive already for DVDs. Thing is, I know nothing about video cards.
My current full-size laptop is still functional for watching movies and I don't play games other than Snood and the games that come on the computer (Solitaire and that sort of thing).

This Acer from a previous post seems pretty great, but I'm a little hung up on the price once I pay for expedited shipping.

I'm also considering this Toshiba model that has a dual-core processor (right?). For this one, I can buy it in person (from the dreaded Best Buy), which is a plus in that I need it ASAP.

I've read up on these on CNET and other user reviews. But if anyone has strong feelings either way on these, or can tell me if one is glaringly better for the price, I'd really appreciate it. Or, if you want to suggest a different 11.6" laptop (other than Dell), I am definitely open to other suggestions. The choices were somewhat overwhelming.
posted by ishotjr to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The HP Mini 311 with Ion is fairly well reviewed.

Also the Toshiba you linked is a 13.3".
posted by wongcorgi at 6:27 PM on November 12, 2009

If you can edge just a teeny bit over $600, you might consider the nVidia Ion/ Intel Atom Lenovo S12, which apparently handles HD video playback. The lower-end Ion model is on sale at Lenovo for $600 right now, and the slightly better one for $650.

There's a non-Ion Lenovo S12, too, which I wouldn't bother with. Lenovo's got really nice build quality-- my old-school S10 is a tank.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2009

And, hell, here's one for $550 at newegg.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:31 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: Ooops! I started writing the post before I found the Toshiba and I forgot to fix that part about 11.6.
posted by ishotjr at 6:31 PM on November 12, 2009

Woot has a refurbished 11.6" Gateway today. You can buy 2 for $600 and have some change left over. A coworker has this model and loves it.
posted by Yorrick at 6:51 PM on November 12, 2009

Best answer: I bought this machine earlier today based on MeFite comments to a similar AskMe. Newegg was out of stock for 2 weeks, and now I see they are out of stock again after less than 8 hours. It has a processor (dual core SU73000) that blows the Atom out of the water. Four gig of RAM, 64 bit OS, bluetooth, HDMI, and a battery that gets 8 hours. (I read several reviews saying that the 8 hour figure is pretty realistic if you employ some power saving measures. Best of all, its a penny under your budget. It's better than the TZ model you are looking at, and only $50 more. The Toshiba with the SU4100 has a 13" screen. The T115, which is the 11.6" model uses either the SU2700 (single core) or Celeron 743 (also single core). The Toshibas are cheaper, and they have epic battery life. Office Depot stocks them so you can check out the keyboard. The keyboard on the Acer is an acquired taste. (The flat keys are not sculpted at all.)
posted by Crotalus at 7:33 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I just read your follow up comment. If laptops with larger screens are on the table, then this one is tough to beat.
posted by Crotalus at 7:49 PM on November 12, 2009

Lenovo S12 from lenovooutlet. 350, 12 inch screen, light, kickass components, including via/nano graphics.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 8:15 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: I'm not finding an S12 on Lenovo Outlet. Maybe they're not in stock.
posted by ishotjr at 8:34 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: In case anyone reads this again, my budget has unexpectedly increased to $800, so if anyone has any suggestions in that price range, I am all ears. Thanks!
posted by ishotjr at 11:33 PM on November 12, 2009

Best answer: Now that the budget has increased to $800, you can branch out in all kinds of directions. If you are still interested in the same type of laptop you were looking at when you thought you had $600, then this beast is where it's at. Also, at an $800 price point the Sony Vaios with the T6600 processor are great with superb build quality and excellent ATI 4570 or NVidia G210M graphics. However, while much more powerful, these do not have the same kind of battery life that you will find in the Asus.
posted by Crotalus at 12:34 AM on November 13, 2009

Best answer: Whatever you get, don't get the Atom processor/Ion chipset combo (yet). It's terribly underpowered and chokes to death on Flash.

Dang, upon looking around, the Acer Aspire 1410 is a pretty good deal.
posted by General Malaise at 6:29 AM on November 13, 2009

Response by poster: Awesome, Croatlus. I was browsing CNET reviews some more on my new price point and that exact laptop was one that I was really interested in. Good to have some confirmation! I think I'm going to order it and get it shipped here for tomorrow. Thanks!
posted by ishotjr at 6:37 AM on November 13, 2009

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