NERDS: Recommend me a netbook

I need a companion PC.

Sure, I've got my souped-up gamer racehorse (whose tower-LEDs are casting an errie blue light across my keypad as I type), but unfortunately this foot-tall metal monster isn't really practical on places like, you know, anywhere.

Don't get me wrong, I love "Ole Bessy Blue" (I named it, shut up), but right now, portability is becoming more important to me than processing power.

*Momentary pause to dodge the virtual daggers of gamer aficionados around the Net.*
But yeah, portability.

I remember starting out as a reporter about two years ago now, scoffing at the idea of lugging a laptop computer to town hall meetings, because, you know, why couldn't I just use one of those cool "reporter's notebooks"? That's what they're made for, right?

Back in 2007, that mentality sort of made sense. Wi-Fi access wasn't nearly as widespread as today and laptops were a nothing more than a siren-like distraction whose welcoming glow continuously tempted to pull my fingers away from things I should be paying attention to.

But that was soooo 2007, man.

Today you don't need that big old laptop, we've got this newfangled invention called "netbooks." They do things like word processing and let people easily access something called "the Internet."
They also don't have a ton of processing power, so I'm not tempted to fire up World of Warcraft when the press conference I'm at turns from saucy sex scandal to unsexy sewers or circuit breaker accounts.

So about a week ago, I decided I needed a companion PC. Not surprisingly, I'm finding I'm not alone in my decision.

Back in 2008, TigerDirect only had a handful of netbooks for sale. Now they've got over 130 models.

From Asus to Acer, HP to MSI, there's a ton of choices in the market. Everyone's trying to get a piece of the pie. Except Apple, who's too cool for the netbook market and say they want to focus solely on improving the iPod Touch. Whatever.

Anyway, the nice thing about netbooks is they are all relatively cheap. You can get a good 10" one for under $330. The bad thing is there's a ton of hardware factors to consider -- RAM, processing speed, storage etc.

Not to mention all the other practical factors like keyboard response, weight and noise/heat output.

While I've only been looking for a few days, I'm currently leaning toward the Asus Aspire One. That being said, I'm still not 100 percent sure. There's so many choices!

So I put the question to you, dear readers. Any recommendations for a cool and exciting netbook? Do you use any particular brand? What are some of the most important factors in a netbook for you?

Yeah, I know this companion PC won't satisfy all my graphics-gorging gaming needs, but hey, I've got Bessy Blue for that. No biggie.

I just want a decent netbook for taking notes, writing copy and browsing the net.

So give me your ideas!

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