* Prices may differ from that shown
Bought: January 2011
Price (When bought): £150
Current price: £115
<1kg in weight
Battery: 5 - 7 hours depending on usage
OS: Windows XP
The setup for this laptop is very easy. Just like any other Windows machine, the setup goes through the required stuff and within 20 minutes you're good to go.
The OS I initially used on this was Windows XP. I later upgraded to Windows 7 and then later to Windows 8. Windows 8 was quite sluggish, so it slowed down the machine. Windows 7 gave a decent performance. Windows XP however ran the smoothest, which I ended up reverting back to after Windows 8. Some may see this as an issue now since Microsoft is pulling the plug on updates for Windows XP, but it shouldn't be much of a problem for University students who only plan on using this as a backup to their main machine, to be used for University.
The usability is the same as any other Windows machine. The startup time isn't the greatest. However when travelling between lectures I put it to sleep rather than shutting down to save time. The time it takes to wake up is fairly quick for a netbook with only 1GB RAM and an atom processor.
Browsing can sometimes be slow. I've found that Chrome runs the smoothest. Watching movies can sometimes be a problem. There can be a severe lag - But my main aim for this was not to watch movies or videos, it was work!
I bought this laptop as I owned a (Chunky) Macbook, however due to University I needed to use certain programmes that were only available on Windows. I had two options, buy Parallels for Mac to allow me to use Windows on it and carry around an extra 2.5kg everyday to University, or buy this. I found it for a good price, so I took the plunge. From then it followed me through to every lecture. I could easily get through a full day of lectures without having to charge it. However as with anything the battery life deteriorates over time, and as such it doesn't last as long yet still gives a good amount of usage.
This is a must buy for any University student that is looking for something light weight and not fancy. It's gotten me through some intensive programming modules, so know that it can handle a good range of softwares. If you're looking for something to play games on, this is not the netbook for you (Infact no netbook is for you! Netbooks aren't made for gaming!)
I found fairly early on at university that I'm much faster at typing than I am at writing, and so taking my laptop to lectures was an obvious decision, as I could get much more information down in this way. However, the problem with laptops is that they are often bulky and heavy. This was the case for me, at least. Carrying the laptop around the city I live in was not exactly discrete or comfortable for me, and so I sought a lighter, smaller option for the purpose of lugging back and forth to campus, and bought the Emachines eM250 netbook.
What you get
10.1" LED LCD screen
N270 Intel Atom CPU
160GB Hard Disk Drive
3 Cell Li-ion battery
3 USB ports
Memory card slot
0.3MP integrated webcam and microphone
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
*No CD/DVD drive*
Note: Listed are only the specs on my particular netbook. I remember that there was a more expensive option with Vista on it when I was looking to buy, and so specs may vary slightly, and may vary likewise in price.
Measuring 27cm x 19cm (approx. 10.5" x 7.5"), this netbook slips very nicely and comfortably into my handbag and is perfect for carrying around discretely. Being very light, it is no burden to carry around. Its black and silver design makes it look sleek, although the black glossy plastic on the lid of the netbook is extremely prone to fingerprint marks.
The keyboard is obviously smaller than an average laptop's keyboard. Although some users may find it difficult to make the transition from full sized keyboard to the netbook's smaller keyboard, I have found it easier, if anything, to use. The smaller keys mean my hands have to move less to reach the keys and I probably type faster on it than I do my regular laptop. However, it might be worth going to see netbooks on display in a shop before making an online purchase, if you feel this may be an issue for you. All basic keyboard buttons are present, and the keyboard also doubles up into a number pad and an ability to control volume and brightness of the screen by combining the 'Fn' button with the respective buttons.
Also considerably smaller is the touch pad, being only 5cm (approx. 2") in width. However, I have not experienced any difficulty in adjusting to this with the exception of one function. On my laptop, I like being able to scroll down a browser page by running my finger down the right side of my touch pad. Although I realise that you are not able to do this in the same way on all laptops, the netbook's way of doing this is by drawing a swirl on the touch pad, and the desired action is often not recognised, which can be irritating. However, this is only a minor gripe compared to the netbook's otherwise convenient size.
I have found the netbook to be both quick and efficient in terms of performance. It is extremely speedy when starting up, and opens programs swiftly. I do suspect this has at least something to do with the fact that I have not clogged the machine's memory up with endless software, but I am still impressed by its performance.
As I stated, the netbook does not have a CD/DVD drive, which may be an issue to some people. However, I have watched media on the netbook from the internet without much of a problem. I have found that the wireless internet connection to my netbook cannot be picked up as strongly as to my laptop, which can be a slight problem in terms of streaming media. However, I do share a house with four other wireless laptop users, and so the battle for bandwidth is constant. Those using a cable from the router may find that media is streamed far better than trying to access it over a wireless connection.
That said, I have been able to use Skype without much of a problem on the netbook. This has also proven the netbook's webcam to be extremely impressive despite being only 0.3MP. According to those I have Skyped with, the video stream has been extremely clear and bright, and indeed far surpasses the quality of my laptop's 1.3MP webcam.
However, in terms of projecting sound, this netbook is certainly not the best. Turning the netbook's volume up to its highest setting, as well as doing the same for the respective software's volume setting, seems pointless when I am still forced to strain my ears in order to hear what is being output by the tinny speakers. The only way to overcome this is by plugging in earphones, which increase the volume to a perfectly audible level, but is annoying if you do not wish to have earphones in.
With the operating system being a Windows XP Home Edition, the Microsoft Office package is not included on the machine, and must be bought separately. Unwilling to fork out more money to Microsoft, I have overcome this by downloading the Open Office package, which is both free and compatible with Microsoft Office, should you need to take a file into work/school etc., and has consequently has not been an issue for me.
The battery life of the netbook is, in my opinion, very impressive. A full charge will give the netbook about 3 hours of battery life without mains power. This, again, surpasses my laptop's battery life, which struggles to reach 2 hours. 3 hours, however, is perfect for me. As I said, my main intention was to use this to write down lecture notes, and with lectures being 1 hour, the netbook is more than capable of lasting through two lectures in one day comfortably, as well as most of a third. Battery life can be further conserved by switching off things such as WiFi, dimming the screen's brightness etc. and I have known the netbook to survive into its fourth hour before now, making me a very happy bunny.
My main priority when purchasing the netbook was price. I can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but it was in the £160-£180 region from Tesco, making it one of the cheaper netbooks. Today, the netbook seems to be difficult to get hold of, which is a shame as it really is a great little machine. Its great battery life, size and weight makes it a perfect transportable netbook, and would be great for taking out and about to work, even if there isn't a mains power supply nearby. If you can get your hands on a cheap second hand version, you certainly wouldn't regret it!
A few months ago my laptop eventually died after 2 years of hassle with it breaking and me having to reboot it each time losing everything from it. I went to get a value for fixing it, and it was just going to cost me a fortune, and there was no real guarantee how long it was going to last anyway, so I decided I would get rid, and get myself a new laptop. Selling my broken laptop for £80 to a laptop repair centre, I had a few pennies saved up, I went searching online to see what I could find.
All of the laptops were well out of my price range, they seemed to have really gone up in price since the last time I had bought one 3 years ago when I spent £300 on a pretty high spec model, they were now more like £500 for anything even half decent. It was then I thought about maybe getting a netbook, a smaller version of a laptop-they have no cd drive, and not as much "going on", and in my own experience, they seem to be just that little bit more hardy than a laptop for carrying around.
I only used my laptop for writing reviews, networking, checking emails and shopping. I do not play games (I wish I had that much time spare!), nor do I need much storage as the only thing I store is photos and a handful of generally unimportant documents, so I wasn't after anything high spec or special. After trawling the internet and finding nothing below £200 which was really my limit as a new mum and someone who only uses the computer for simple leisure purposes I couldn't justify spending any more than that...I was having no luck and thought about a reconditioned laptop. That was when I found out about a company called emachines- they make computer equipement, and netbooks...for a fraction of the cost of normal netbooks.
I found the emachines e250 model in my local PC World for £190, well within my budget, and JUST what I was looking for.
The screen is 10.1" meaning it is perfect to be carried around for work/college purposes, but also perfect for around the house.
It has an Intel Atom processor.
1GB of memory (though you can have an external hard drive to increase this if needed).
160GB hard drive...this is actually quite big for a small cheap netbook.
3 cell Li-ion battery
The Operating System is Windows XP.
Using the netbook
The netbook doesn't have a locking system to open and close the lid it just opens easily, one less thing in my opinion to break as on my last laptop the latch broke and if I didn't keep something in it to keep it open, it would lock shut!!! So once you open it, there is a simple button to turn on the machine, and it loads up. It isn't as fast as newer model netbooks, my husband has an EeePC which has Windows 7 and it is loaded up a good minute before mine, though I still wouldn't swap for reasons I will go into in a moment- once you have gone through the initial set up and registration of the netbook, you are good to go, everything from there on in is simple, just as it is on all netbooks and laptops really.
The keyboard is smaller than that on a laptop or computer, so it does take some getting used to, and you may find that you are typing wrong for a couple of weeks until you get used to it, but once you are used to it, you won't notice the difference! Everything is in the same place as on other netbooks and laptops, there are no confusing buttons, nothing which needs setting up to get it going, the Internet is instantly connected to your prefered wireless network or dongle.
The internal webcam is instantly set up and good to go once you are using a programme which supports the use of webcams (Windows Live Messenger for example), and is of a good quality, the picture is as good as any other webcam I have used in the past and is perfect for using to speak to relatives who may live away.
My dad cannot use netbooks, on the couple of times he has tried to use mine, he gets confused with the smaller keyboard and how small the touchpad is etc, and even had one of his own which he sold after a week as he found it just too small! He is almost 70 though...so maybe this is why!!!! I think they do take some getting used to, the screen is obviously smaller, not as much fits on the screen so you may find you are having to zoom out on some webpages to be able to see everything, but again this is something which you very quickly become used to!
As I mentioned earlier, there is no CD drive in any netbooks, it is one of their characteristics, so it means that rebooting the netbook is more complex if it crashes, and you cannot play CD drive games- but you CAN now buy external CD drives, this means you can plug it into your USB drive and insert CDs, I have never found not having a CD drive a problem as I use a USB pen more often! Also there is a memory card reader (SD cards) so you can use higher memory SD cards to store things like films on- this makes them much easier to store, as they take up a lot less room and are easier to utilise!
This netbook is XP and not Windows 7- what some people do not realise though until too late is that with the majority of new laptops and computers the Windows 7 which is already on the machine is called Starter...this is NOT full windows. You cannot set your own desktop background, cannot watch DVDs...there is more you cannot do on Windows 7 Starter, and you have to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium which is another £80 or so ontop of your laptop/netbook if not more. My husband found this out when he got his netbook and it was a huge disappointment. So for me the fact the machine is XP is a huge bonus! For a machine with Windows 7 Home Premium already installed, it was going to cost me a good £500-£700!!! So please don't take the fact that this machine is "only" XP as a bad point as it really is not...also remember Windows Vista is now gone as it was the "trial run" for Windows 7 so you will not find any machine with Vista on it now.
The 10.1" screen is LCD, this means that unlike plasma there is no visual disturbance if you are sitting at an angle to the screen, for some this may be great...if you are someone who likes your privacy it means the person next to you on the train can see everything you are doing...! But it is all down to personal preference on that one, for me LCD is the best type of screen.
I have tried using my netbook outside in the sun, and it is nigh on impossible, the sun glares off the screen and you just cannot do it. I do not know why laptops are still made as they are and don't imcorporate anti glare screens!
The battery life on the netbook is pretty reasonable, from a fully charged machine I find I get around 4 hours usage, of course this is reduced if streaming TV or films, but it is a reasonable battery life, and even after 6 months use, the battery doesn't seem to be reducing its life span.
The netbook runs quite slow which is one thing which gets annoying after being used to Windows Vista on my old machine which was pretty quick, of course it isn't "slow" just slow-ER than Windows 7 machines are, it sometimes gets a little annoying when you want to really quickly log on to do something and have to wait 5 minutes before the netbook is entirely loaded for use without freezing.
Althouth this machine doesn't come with full Microsoft Office (Word, Excell etc) it does come with Microsoft Works- a cheaper simpler version of all of the Office programmes! These can be saved in Word/Excel etc format so they can be emailed or put on a USB drive and opened in Microsoft Word with no problems, so there should be no problems transferring college work, or work documents from home.
The netbook doesn't seem to get hot like a laptop does, maybe because it doesnt have as much to cool down? I am not sure, but I can sit quite comfortably with it on my knee without it burning me!!!
I mentioned a little about portability of the machine- the dimentions of the whole netbook are as follows:
Depth 1.85 cm
Height 2.5 cm
Width 25.85 cm
and the weight is 1.25kg, the size makes the machine really easy to carry around, and it isn't heavy at all, so it will sit in your bag quite comfortably. As it does not come with a case of any sorts, I would recommend buying one to keep your netbook safe from splashes or spills of drinks and knocks and bangs- especially if you are carrying it around alot.
The look of this netbook is really good. It is slim, around an inch and a half thick when closed, and the whole machine is not much bigger than the screen size when all shut up. So it really is very portable. It is all black and stylish looking (though it does come in silver too as far as I am aware!). The top is matt finished so no nasty finger tip marks all over the top, and it means that slight scratches which may occur are not noticable, perfect for someone who is on the go alot, but likes to keep their things looking "like new"! To look at you wouldn't think this netbook was a cheap model at all, and it actually looks more attractive than a lot of the more expensive models I have seen recently.
Worth the money?
This is the cheapest brand new, not ex display model, netbook I have found, it is around £50 cheaper than even the next in line, which was the Acer Aspire ONE range of netbooks which was around £230-£240 when I was looking, and it is WELL worth the money! The only thing I find that this netbook is missing is bluetooth, my husbands netbook has Bluetooth connectivity which makes connecting his phone to the netbook really quick and simple, and it is the ONLY thing I wish this netbook had. It has everything I personally need, plenty of storage space for me, does everything I need it to do, simple office type tools like a spreadsheet, and document programme.
I am overly impressed with my little netbook, I am really happy I chose this one, and at the price I paid, if it only lasts 2 years it isn't too bad...though by the way it is still going after 6 months (after 6 months my last laptop had died already and been back for a new harddrive!) then I am hopeful of a long little life!!
I brought this laptop a couple of months back from tesco for £199 with windows 7 starter, although you can buy it with windows xp for £179. It is a very good laptop for just searching the web and emailing and making word documents, but if your wanting a gaming computer, this is not the computer for you. The battery life is properly the worst part as it say 3 hour battery life, but that was the biggest lie ever. The first time i charged it up i only got 2 hours out of it and i have to keep charging it. But because i have to keep charging it so much it will only charge upto 87% now and i can only get 1 and half/quarter :( .
Well, I must say, for what it cost, this computer has been worth the money. At first I was skeptical about buying an eMachine computer because I had never heard of it, but it is a decent computer. Terrible for playing any graphic intensive games, but what do you expect for the price? Does not come with a lot of RAM or memory, so upgrades on those are almost mandatory. It would be a good first computer or for someone that just wants to surf the Internet. I would not overclock it at all in fear that it might fry to poor thing. I would prefer it more if it had a larger trackpad. I haven't experienced this yet, but other have complained about the battery life and not being able to recharge all the way back to 100%. All in all this is a good computer for the amount of money that it cost. I would recommend this for anyone that would use it as a word processor or for Internet usage, but would discourage it for use with graphic intensive games and too many processes.
I bought this netbook whilst travelling abroad after my previous acer notebook was stolen.
Not being a huge techno person I was dubious at first since emachines was a brand I am not familiar with. Since then I've learned the lower end notebooks such as this tend to all have the same stuff inside them anyway.
So far I have been very pleased with the performance of the notebook. From the time you turn the computer on, it is ready to browse the web in a bout 1 minute. The unit is a little heavier than some of the other notebooks around, but it is still in my opinion a good weight.
At a cost of around GBP 200 this model comes with a slightly bigger storage space of 250GB, 1GB of RAM (expandable to 2), a 10 inch screen and the N270 Intel Atom inside.
Since it is a notebook there is no DVD drive, but thats not something you should expect to have if you're going to buy a notebook. There are 3 USBconnections, and I think the keyboard is about 90% smaller that a normal one but it doesn;t take long to adjust to the change.
If you are looking for a simple and cheap notebook capable of surfing the web, writing a few documents, maybe storing a little bit of music then this is a great budget option. Obviously anything more complicated will run slow on this notebook so if thats what you wangt to do then go elsewhere.
I bought this netbook in store from Tesco a couple of months ago, and have seen that it is still in store now. It costs £199.99 for the version I purchased which includes Windows XP, and you can also purchase this with the new Windows 7 for £229.99. These are promotional prices and I'm not sure how long they're running for, but you can find these products on either Amazon or Tesco Direct online and compare them to find the best price for you. I actually took the box for a Windows 7 version up the counter I should add, I didn't choose Windows XP. It's what I got, by mistake though, and I decided to just keep it and take it as a sign from above that I should save myself £30 and go with an operating system I already know!
Getting this set up could not have been easier. It was pretty much a case of getting it out of the small box, removing the protective packaging, plugging it in and turning it on. I didn't have to install any software at all, and I rejected the invitation to install the free trial of anti-virus software which came with it and that was that. I don't like things like Norton and McAfee because they have always slowed my systems right down.
This netbook basically works like a miniature laptop. When netbooks were first released, you were quite limited in what you could do with them. But this model can support all kinds of Java and Flash videos etc. I can watch YouTube videos, access facebook - and I'm writing my review on it right now! The keyboard is 95% the size of a standard one, and it does take a tiny bit of getting used to, but I can type reasonably fast on it having had a little time to get accustomed to it.
There are some limitations though, of course, as this is a very small machine which is extremely thin in both appearance and capacities. I can't really save much onto the harddrive, though I bought a little flashdrive stick from Tesco for £10 which I used to keep all of my music and photos on. I can view them all on here, I just can't store them on here long term if I want my system to run smoothly! The plus side to not keeping any files on here is that this netbook boots up in well under a minute whenever I want to use it.
I also find that my little facebook games don't run on here properly unless they have a full screen option inside the game for me to select. Otherwise, and I have no idea why this is, the games come up showing just two thirds of the game screen which includes just cutting off vital buttons! Netbooks aren't intended to support gaming though in fairness, and most manufacturer's recommend choosing a laptop if that's what you're looking to use it for. Laptops, of course, are nowhere near as lightweight and portable though. Plus you can expect to pay at least £150 more for one.
There's no CD or DVD drive on here, which is both a plus and a minus depending on what you want to use this for I think. At home, I have an external DVD drive which I can plug into my netbook via one of three USB ports. I can watch DVDs, play CDs or run software using this. Obviously I can only do this at home as it's a chunky old drive! The advantage however is that the base of this netbook is seriously thin and light. I can easily carry this netbook around in just one hand because it's both thin and light. Much more so than even the slimmest portable DVD players I've seen.
The battery life on here is quite short, and a fully charged battery only lasts for about 3hrs. This will run off mains anyway though of course, so the battery is only intended for use when you're out and about. It's got built in wi-fi which has worked for me every time both at home and in public wi-fi spots. It's really easy to get going with internet access right from when you first buy this netbook - just boot up, click to connect to the internet, and follow the easy on screen instructions to connect to a network. I've had absolutely no problems with the internet connection so far.
The touch pad on here isn't great because of it's tiny size, and I'm not keen on the way in which the buttons are obviously two buttons underneath, but only one bar on top. You have to press on the correct side of the little silver bar which means looking down every time. When you've got two seperate buttons, it's easier to just feel for them quickly without having to look.
Finally, something I'm particularly impressed with is the screen. On portable DVD players, you tend to get a great load of pointless plastic all around the edge of a screen which is usually smaller than you were expecting from looking at the outside. With this netbook, the screen fills all bar about a one centimetre border of the inside of the lid. And the lid is just as thin and lid as the base is too. The quality of the screen is excellent and far better quality than I'd expected. When you watch good quality video footage on this screen, it really is like watching a 10" LCD TV. Oh, and if you buy the right link lead, you can download films then hook this up to your actual TV to view the footage on a bigger screen.
For £200 this is a steal. There are definitely limitations here, such as not really being able to play many games, not having a DVD or CD drive and not being able to store things on here; but you can get round most of those issues by using external add-ons where necessary like an external DVD drive and USB or Flash sticks. You can even hook up a wireless mouse to get past the mousepad gripes, though you'll need a hard surface to hand to use the mouse on of course. The screen quality is excellent, internet access has been consistantly good and this really is the lightest, sleekest and quickest little computer I've ever seen. If you want any more from a netbook then really what you're looking for is an actual laptop. Definitely recommended, four stars from me.