Over the past few days I have been considering buying a new laptop. It is for work but far from essential. It will only be used for emails, web browsing, blogging, maybe the occasional word document or perhaps something as adventurous as FTP. So nothing CPU intensive.

Because I wont be doing any gaming or any Windows related tasks I am inclined to install Linux on it (especially after I enjoyed Linux Mint so much), so the specification does not have to be fantastic at all.

The main requirement I have is for the screen to be 15.4″ or under so it is quite portable (17 inch laptops are not fun to carry around) and that the resolution is at least 1024 wide. I get annoyed easily and browsing the web and having to scroll sideways to read a site is quite frustrating. The resolution requirement therefore leaves out the Asus Eee PC and the Everex Cloudbook.

The other important requirment is that it is under £500.

It does however leave me with quite a few options. Now before anyone moans the following laptops vary quite a bit but this is for my requirements rather than a round-up of ultra portables etc. The list is also in no specific order, just how I found them on the net.

Laptop Price Screen Size + Res CPU Memory HD OS
Acer Aspire One £249.08 8.9″
1024 x 600
1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 1GB 120GB Linux
HP 2133 Mini Note £352.49 8.9″
1280 x 768
VIA C7®-M ULV
1.2 GHz
1GB 120GB Linux
MSI Wind £320 approx 10″

1024*600

1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 1GB 80GB Linux
Dell Studio 15 £499 15.4″
1280 x 800
Core 2 Duo
1.83 GHz
3072MB 250GB Vista Home Premium
Advent 4401 £449.99 12.1″
1280 x 800
Core 2 Duo
1.83 GHz
2048Mb 160GB Vista Home Premium
Toshiba Satellite Pro L300 £319.98 15.4″
1280 x 800
Pentium Dual Core 1.73 GHz 2048Mb 250GB Vista Home Premium
Asus X50RL-AP274C £399.99 15.4″
1280 x 800
Core 2 Duo 1.83 GHz 2048Mb 250GB Vista Home Premium
Acer Aspire 5920 £399.96 15.4″
1280 x 800
Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz 2048Mb 250Gb Vista Home Premium
Acer Aspire 5920G £449.99 15.4″
1280 x 800
Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz 2048Mb 250Gb Vista Home Premium

At the time of writing the Wind is not actually available and the Aspire is available for preorder.

When I first started this blog post I thought making a list of the laptops I found would give me a nice clear idea of which one I feel is the best for myself. However I feel even more un-decided than when if first started. While I have ruled out most of them I do not feel there is a clear winner.

Initially I was on the verge of getting the HP Mini Note as I liked the look of the screen resolution. However looking around the net the Via CPU in the HP is less powerful than the Atom in the Aspire One and the HP is £100 more. Therefore I am going to rule out the HP.

The Wind clearly does not match up to the Aspire One as the price is quite a bit more while the spec is very similar. Once it is freely available I suspect the price will come down and be more competitive to the Aspire.

If we look at the other end of the spectrum there is the Acer Aspire 5920G. At twice the price of the Aspire One it is quite a big price jump, it is also not the laptop you would chose if you want an ultra portable as it has a 15.4″ screen and weighs over 3 times that of the Aspire (3.36kg vs 0.99 kg). However you do get quite a lot for £450.

The 5920G comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0Ghz, 2048Mb Ram, and GeForce 8600M GS 256Mb graphics, which means this machine should comfortable run Windows Home Premium that is pre-installed.

I think for the time being I may hold off, I am inclined to go with the larger, more powerfully and more expensive 5920G but as it is not a necessity I think I will keep the £450 in my back for a little while.

If you are on the look of for a cheap ultra portable I personally thing the Aspire One looks like a fantastic choice. It is a bargain price with a pretty decent specification. The price of the Aspire one really is a selling point, while £250 will make a noticeable difference on my credit card bill it is only a couple of expensive weekends on the piss. However £450 is quite a lot of weekends out!