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I bought this little eMachines 350 netbook when I needed another PC in a hurry when my old decided to expire and I needed a replacement in a hurry. To be honest the specification wasn't a great consideration as I thought I don't really do anything too advanced anyway, mostly just surfing the internet and a little bit of word processing.
Price was the driving factor and I saw this netbook in the supermarket for around £160, which was considerably less that other netbooks and laptops. It does have a 10 inch screen, Windows 7, Intel Atom N450 processor, 1gb ram and 160gb hard drive which is more than adequate. As is generally the case with netbooks it doesn't have a built in disk drive or cd/dvd but to be honest I don't miss them anyway. It does have two usb ports, so if I wanted these I could cheaply buy a portable one to plug in.
It has a touch pad to moving the cursor which is quite sensitive and easy to use, but I sometimes prefer using a mouse which I can plug into one of the usb ports. I use the other usb port for a 3G dongle so it is truly potable and I can use it nearly anywhere.
What I really like about it so much more than my old laptop is that it is just so very light and is easy carry round to use anywhere about the house or even when I'm travelling. The battery life is also fantastic (unlike my old laptop which was forever needing charged). I think it was described as 4-5 hours on a full charge when I bought it, but I'm sure I get much more than that - probably 7-8 hours which is fantastic.
You can pick these fantastic little machines up on ebay for less than £100 now sometimes and I'd really highly recommend them!
this is a fantastic little machine for less than £160.00. It has all the ususal features of a netbook, small compact and very light weight which obviously makes carrying it arround is so easy.
It comes with Windows 7 home edition, which is very quick to start up, the battery life is also very good, easily getting the 4 hours that the manufacturer states. The touch pad is a little larger than on most other netbooks that i have used, the hard disk is 160 gb, i will never fill it as i use it mainly for accessing the internet. because it uses windows 7 it compatable with all web based software, this is where netbook operting the windows ce version let themselves down, but no problems on this little machine, latest versions of java etc are always available for windows, the 1 gb memory is also more than enough to keep the machine running smoothly on exel, word and explorer (not realy tried any other software on it yet)
as with all netboks theres no cd/dvd but a usb version is available for the few times it would be needed.
I bought this netbook to replace a recently-deceased laptop. Since I use a decent desktop at home, this was intended as a budget computer for basic productivity on the train, in the library etc. I sought a solid machine with decent functionality, light-weight design and, most importantly, a good battery life. I am pleased to report that this little gem ticks every box!
Out of the box (which is small yet sturdy), the sleek design and matt finish are very appealing. Even with the battery in, it is also very light (just over 1kg) and can be easily held in one hand without straining your muscles. The lid closes very smoothly on the base and doesn't feel flimsy, sits comfortably on a desk or your lap. The keyboard reaches right up to the edges and is excellently laid out, which is often a swing-and-miss problem with laptops. The space on the inner surface is used very well, with the keys well-sized and always reachable. Some of the extra-function [Fn] keys are unintuitive in their placement, for example the MUTE button is away from the up/down volume keys, but all-in-all very user friendly.
All the ports are on the sides rather than the back, which I prefer. It could probably do with another USB port, but two is just enough most of the time, and all other important ports are well catered for (VGA, SD/MMC, headphone etc.). There is no CD/DVD drive, but this is the standard with netbooks. The charger is also very compact, not much larger than a mobile phone adapter.
Overall, top marks for the design in a budget netbook!
The display is an important to me in consumer electronics. The 10.1" LED 1024x600 on the E350 is actually very nice indeed, much brighter and more colour-rich than I was expecting! The glossy surface is quite reflective, but doesn't seem to attract dust nearly as much as others. There is also an excellent range of brightness settings permitted, with the brightest really bringing the best out of the screen. No sign of ghosting, streaking or dead pixels. The screen really is excellent for such a cheap machine.
The 1.66GHz Atom processor is pretty capable at managing basic tasks. Start-up is relatively fast (quicker than my desktop in fact, which is significantly more powerful) and, with a little patience, the general user experience is fine. It can slow down when managing several power-hungry programmes, but this is to be expected - and besides, if you want to video edit, play games and watch 1080p movies, then you're at the wrong end of the market!
The 1GB installed RAM can be upgraded to 2GB, which would probably improve multi-tasking, but for gentle productivity I have found this netbook to be more than sufficient. You can easily flit between a powerpoint presentation, word doc and browser without getting frustrated. Watching SD movies is also very smooth, no noticeable lag while navigating videos.
The trackpad is nice and sensitive (sometimes a little too sensitive) with left- and right-click buttons a good size. The synaptic-based pad support two-touch scrolling, edge scrolling and pinch zoom - all great extra functions, but the scrolling is sometimes very erratic.
The pre-installed OS - Windows 7 Starter - is a little limited (e.g. no Aero Glass themes, inability to change desktop background, no Media Centre etc.), but includes all the core features. Besides, if you're not happy, you could always upgrade the OS.
The sound from the mono-speaker on the bass is not great, pretty tinny but the volume level is ok if you're watching a youtube video with friends for example. The sound production in general, however, is fine - music sounds good with a decent pair of headphones.
The WLAN signal strength is great, never had a dropped connection anywhere in my house and browsing is typically fast.
Finally, the battery life. This has got to be one of the most impressive features. Going from a laptop that would barely survive for an hour, to getting ~8 hours on a full charge with this machine, even with consistent usage, is remarkable. With power saver mode active, it can last even longer. Power management seems excellent and accurately reported. It also charges quickly, making for a general experience which doesn't have you constantly worrying about where the nearest plug is!
Very few complaints on the performance side of things.
This model comes with a VGA webcam installed at the top of the lid. The quality of image is what you'd expect, a little grainy at 640x480, but copes well in different lighting conditions and seems perfectly good for basic video calling in Skype/Gtalk. No lag either in the footage, which is encouraging. You can take self portraits and videos with it too, which is a little bonus.
The instructions provide a good level of detail, and extra paperwork is minimal, which I like - nothing worse than opening a box to find it clogged with useless paperwork you're only going to throw away!
I do wish they had made some provision for back-up e.g. instructions on creating a back-up drive (given that there is no disc drive, and thus no back-up discs provided) or even a small USB drive with the necessary data on. It's a little worrying to think that someone less experienced with computers could have this machine crash and have no idea how to revive/re-install windows.
Overall, this is a superb product for its price. It is one of the cheapest netbooks you can find, despite being a very capable and easy-to-use machine made by a very well-known company (Acer). The general design, battery life and display are particular highlights. The very few and minor niggles do not detract from what is a highly-capable computer for basic productivity. An excellent investment in my humble opinion - highly recommended!