If you've turned your back on netbooks in favour of tablets, you're making a serious oversight. These fantastic little machines offer supreme portability, great value and the reassuring usability of a keyboard and touchpad.
Now Asus, the original pioneer of the netbook, has continued its series with the really-rather-good Asus Eee PC 1025C-GRY0235.
The Eee PC 1025C doesn't exactly stretch things in terms of design. It's got an all-black design with a brushed metal finish that doesn't look bad. The lid resists grubby fingerprints and stains and the interior follows the same design with the addition of a chrome silver click button beneath the touchpad.
Asus has made the most of the small chassis and spread the keyboard the width of the interior. It'll take you a few paragraphs to get used to typing on it, but you'll find it much more preferable to tapping out an email on the touchscreen of a tablet.
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The 10.1-inch screen has a fairly thick bezel and can only manage a pixel resolution of 1,024 x 600. However, it's bright and detailed enough to entertain you with a movie while you're cramped onto a train, plane or automobile - precisely what these machines are designed for. And, because it manages a staggering 354-minute battery life, you'll still be watching long after regular laptops have given up and died.
There's a sizable 320GB hard drive on board to fill with media and documents, but obviously no optical DVD drive. You do however have plenty of connectivity to boost the Eee PC 1025 with accessories. There's three USB ports, HDMI and VGA connections as well as an Ethernet port in case you don't want to use the 802.11n Wi-Fi.
The Asus Eee PC 1025 runs on an Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. The Atom processor is Intel's low-powered alternative chipset and helps to keep power consumption down, the caveat is that performance is limited - especially with only 1GB of memory. But, considering the value of this machine and that it's meant for only the most basic of tasks - watching films, browsing the web and using office documents, this isn't much of a problem.
Battery life: 354 minutes
3DMark 2006: 407
Asus has included a few first-party software programs such as Asus Media Sharing and Asus Vibe Fun Centre that helps you organise and share your media. And you've also got the basic Windows package that includes Office 2010 Starter, Movie Maker, Live Mail and others.
If you're looking for a basic portable machine but don't fancy a tablet then a netbook is the way to go. The Eee PC 1025 is an excellent choice: the battery life is impressive and the usability grows on you after a while. It's got an impressive range of connections and a decent screen and will serve well as a secondary machine or travelling alternative to your main device.