Battle of the netbooks

Before you permanently ditch your desktop, consider the comparisons of these five models we road tested.

4 of 5
HP Mini 2140
HP Mini 2140
Price*: $449

Looks: Clad in rugged anodizved aluminum, HP's netbook is both sturdy and sleek. The design is business casual, suitable for the conference room or the first-class waiting lounge.

Keyboard: The spill-resistant keys are wide and flat, providing a comfortable typing field. Mouse buttons flank the overly horizontal touch pad, making for a very frustrating user experience.

Screen: The 16:9 aspect ratio screen is perfect for high-def movies, but the audio is a bit below par.

Battery life: 2 hours, 6 minutes (3-cell battery)

Bottom line: Built for business, with nice features for corporate users and fast battery charging, this netbook's 16:9 LED can't override the unfortunately placed mouse buttons. Its anodized aluminum chassis says "serious machine."

NEXT: Dell Mini 12
Last updated May 05 2009: 11:04 AM ET
*Configuration as tested

How we did it: We picked five popular netbooks with similar hardware configurations and used them for Web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, file downloads, word processing, and photo editing. To test battery life, we turned off all power-saving features, pushed the screen brightness to 100 percent, and looped a movie in full screen with audio turned up halfway and Wi-Fi networking on.
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