the netbook square off

gadget  /   /  By Nafisa Akabor

I’ve been using my Asus EEE pc since March this year and I’m happy with its performance. I wanted this particular brand of netbook because it was Asus who introduced us to the netbook (something along the lines of surely they know what they’re talking about). Since then, other brands have jumped on the bandwagon and came out with their versions too. I’m not disputing other brands; they saw the Asus EEE pc as a ‘prototype’ and fixed its ‘bugs’ by bringing out their versions.


I currently have the Sony Vaio netbook on test (a review of it will appear in the next Digital Life magazine). I thought I’d do a post squaring off both these netbooks before Vaio gets collected.

Battery Life
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a netbook / laptop. My Asus EEE pc gave me 3 solid hours while the Sony Vaio W Series gave me only 2 hours 15 mins. I performed the same tasks on these netbooks: connected to the internet wirelessly, surfed and watched the occasional Youtube video (which is what netbooks are intended for).

The Asus is chunky compared to the Sony. Sony’s design is minimal and smooth with rounded edges. It has a matte finish which is great – no fingerprints. Both have large trackpads – always a good thing. The Sony weights 1.19kg and the Asus 1.4kg.

netbooks2Sound Quality
Both netbooks have stereo speakers but the quality on the Sony is very disappointing. Listening to music feels like you’re listening to the radio from the 70’s, it’s vile. You definitely would need portable speakers or earphones to go with the Sony. Sound on the Asus is clear – not wishy-washy like most netbooks / laptops.

Screen resolution
Sony wins, hands down. Their 10.1-inch display is crisp – I’d say it’s the best feature of the netbook. It has a 1366 x 768 resolution. The Asus has an 8.9-inch screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution – which is decent. You have nothing to complain about, only after using the Sony, you’d agree that it’s (Sony) awesome. Both netbooks are widescreen (I think most are).

netbooks3Just like most netbooks, both have 1GB of memory (therefore runs on Windows XP), built-in WLAN, Ethernet jack, VGA out and a webcam. One other thing I’d like to point out – the Sony only has 2 USB ports, while the Asus has 3. I think that any netbook should have a minimum of 3 USB ports. If you have a mini mouse and speakers connected to the Sony, you will have to remove one to access information from a flash stick.

I’d say that the Sony netbook would suit the busy fashionista or a spoilt rich kid. The Asus is a good choice for students and journalists who work from public hotspots every now and then (longer battery life a big plus).

Technical specs for both netbooks in my possession:
Asus EEE pc here and Sony Vaio W Series here.

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