Systems that have hefty graphics cards often don’t last very long on a charge. When you’re talking a 17-inch, 10+ pound gaming rig, that’s not a big problem. However, long battery life is one of the key selling points of netboos. Take that away and consumers may balk.
On the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous surfing over Wi-Fi), the Samsung N510 outlasted every other Ion netbook with a runtime of 4 hours and 57 minutes. Right behind it was the Mini 311, lasting just 5 minutes less at 4:52. Both the IdeaPad S12 and the Eee PC 1201N are an hour behind, lasting only 3:56 and 3:53, respectively. This isn’t too surprising for the Eee PC 1201N considering its unique dual-core CPU.
Now we come to the big question: price. Ion technology, along with bigger display sizes and Windows 7 Premium adds cost to these netbooks. The Windows XP version of the HP Mini 311 has the lowest starting price–$399–but once you configure it with similar specs to the competition the price goes up to $584. The IdeaPad S12 costs the most ($649) and the Samsung N510 isn’t far behind ($599). The most powerful of them all is also the least expensive of them all. The Eee PC 1201N costs just $499.
WINNER — TIE: ASUS Eee PC 1201N and HP Mini 311. The 1201N clearly offers the most bang for your buck, so long as you can live with less than four hours of endurance. But if you can live with the older Windows XP, the Mini 311 is an equally compelling value at $399.