ASUS is responsible for introducing the netbook to the PC market as an affordable and simple laptop solution for students. Since the release of the original Eee PC, almost every major PC vendor has released competing models — many taking alternate design paths moving the netbook concept in different directions away from the original Eee PC. As such, the netbook has evolved in ways many people probably weren’t expecting: they got bigger, more powerful, more expensive, and have even become luxury items! Furthermore, Windows XP has dominated over Linux as the installed operating system.
We take a look at the evolution of the netbook – with an overview of the netbooks we’ve tested in the last 18 months. We start with the humble, original Linux-based ASUS Eee PC 701, to the Vista-running HP 2133 Mini-Note, and the breathtaking MSI Wind U120.