By Harry McCracken | Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10:55 am
People are buying scads of the pint-sized laptops known as netbooks these days, but there’s some controversy over whether they’re happy with the machines they get. Here’s some pro-netbook fodder: My friends at PC Pitstop scan millions of Windows PCs as part of their OverDrive online diagnostic and tune-up service, and as they do they ask those PC’s owners some questions about their satisfaction with their machines. And netbooks owners report that they’re quite satisfied with their systems.
Here are new rankings of the top nine netbooks for user satisfaction, as reported in this blog post over at the Pitstop site. The Overall rating is on a scale of one to four stars. Pitstop also asks users whether their PC is slow, and whether it freezes or requires frequent reboots.
|Netbook||Overall (out of 4)||% freezing||% slow|
|1. MSI Wind U-100||3.49||4||10|
|2. Asus Eee PC 1000HE||3.44||3||15|
|3. Samsung NC10||3.43||3||16|
|4. Asus Eee PC 1000H||3.38||6||22|
|5. Acer Aspire One||3.37||4||17|
|6. HP Mini||3.36||7||28|
|7. Dell Inspiron 910||3.35||10||30|
|8. Acer One AOA150||3.35||9||27|
|9. Acer Eee PC 900||3.03||11||49|
(Note: #5 and #6 are lines of netbooks; the rest are specific models.)
Overall satisfaction for most of these models is close to indistinguishable. There does seems to be a pretty close correlation between overall happiness as a netbook owner and whether you find your netbook to be acceptably fast, though–90 percent of MSI Wind U-100 owners who gave feedback didn’t think their laptops were slow, and it got the highest overall ranking. Some of the machines further down the list show more discontent over performance. Virtually half of Eee PC 900 owners say it’s sluggish, for example. But PC Pitstop’s satisfaction ratings for the top 25 notebooks of all types show that it’s common for about 20 percent of owners of a particular model to say it’s slow.
Of course, netbooks are slow compared to standard laptops with beefier CPUs and graphics and more RAM. I think Pitstop’s results show that PC users are smart about calibrating their expectations and applications to the machine they’re using. They know that a netbook isn’t going to handle video editing or 3D gaming with panache, and take that into account when they decide what to run and come to conclusions about how satisfied they are.
(Although truth to tell, I think some people underestimate netbooks’ ability to run demanding applications. I have an Eee PC1000HE that I upgraded to 2GB, and just for laughs, I installed Photoshop CS4 on it. Photoshop is more than adequately fast on it. But it has a user interface that’s too tall to work on the 1000HE’s 600 pixels of vertical resolution–there are OK buttons I can’t click because they run off the screen.)
The MSI Wind U-100, Asus Eee PC 1000HE, and Samsung NC10, by the way, are all among Pitstop’s top 10 for notebooks of all types, suggesting that users don’t see them as unsatisfactory, secondary substitutes for a “real” laptop. They judge them on their own merits, and are happy with ’em, period.
If you’ve got a netbook, how happy are you with its speed? How happy are you overall?