January 5th, 2010

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Cheap Chinese netbooks: THE REVIEW

My friend Trey was looking for a netbook for his wife this Christmas. It needed to be as cheap as possible (her restriction, not his) - she actually wanted "a $150 netbook", which wasn't really possible. So, I ended up hitting eBay and discovering that it was FLOODED with interesting Chinese-manufacture no-name netbooks.

After pointing Trey at the most promising looking vendor (and promising to put a clean install of Ubuntu Netbook Remix on it once it arrived), he managed to score a "Tengjun Mini 1006" for $243 including shipping. (For reference, that's at least $100 less than a Dell Mini 10v - my personal favorite netbook - and $38 or so cheaper than Wal-Mart's price for an Acer netbook.) I was itching to get my hands on that thing to play with it! Today, it finally got here.



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All in all, at $243 this thing is neither a terrible buy nor a great buy. Wal-Mart is selling Acer netbooks for $280, so basically you're trading away a fanless heatsink setup and a legit copy of Windows (which only matters if you planned to run Windows in the first place) for $37 savings. That's if you're shopping the cheap end to begin with, of course; if you want the best then you're probably looking at a Dell Mini 10v with upgrade to SSD and - unfortunately - aftermarket upgrade from the Dell wLAN to an Intel 5300 half-height, for more like $450 by the time you're done.