7 Netbooks That Will Surprise You

More memory, more powerful processors, and larger displays aren't the half of it. Some features manufacturers are adding to netbooks may really surprise you.
We really can't forgive Samsung for only supplying 1GB of memory, especially with the NC20's VIA Chrome9 HC3 DX9 3d Engine graphics processor, which shares system memory. You can get by thanks to the NC20 using Windows XP Home as its operating system. Thankfully, the memory is welded to the motherboard -- there's a SODIMM socket and while you will have to toss the 1GB that's in there now, you can bump it up to a more comfortable 2GB for about $25.

Right now we've only seen the black version but rumor has it that a rainbow of colors are on the way. We'd also prefer an 802.11n wireless LAN setup, but Samsung has saddled the NC20 with slower 802.11b/g. That's not a deal breaker, though.

7. Sony Vaio P

We're making a leap of faith here because Sony doesn't want you to call its Vaio P a "netbook." Sure, it fits the bill: 1.4 lbs. (with the standard battery); 9.65"(W) x 0.78"(H) x 4.72"(D) and an 8-inch LED back-lighted 1600x768 display.Pricing starts at a near stifling $900, so it might be best not to think of it as a netbook technically, but as the specifications indicate, it does pass every other smell test.

The VAIO P will run Windows Vista Home Premium in its 2GB of memory, but Sony has graced the machine with a mere 1.33GHz Intel CPU so it's still not the all-around powerhouse that you would expect a laptop to be. Given its price point already, we'd forge ahead and load it up with the optional 128GB SSD (a 60GB mechanical drive is standard) and the large capacity (8-hours versus 4-hours) battery pack.

It might be difficult to wrap your mind around a netbook priced similarly to your current notebook or even more than that desktop PC you picked up at Costco. Still, you need to maintain perspective. There are folk who are more than willing to shell out $5,000+ on a gaming PC and that makes $900 for a netbook pretty much negligible. If nothing else will ease your mind, just keep repeating, "Sony doesn't want to call the Vaio P a netbook."

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