In recent months, I've seen a few Netbooks for under $200, but invariably they've had 4GB solid-state drives--which, let's face it, are woefully impractical. ZipZoomfly has the MSI Wind U90 Netbook for $194.99 shipped. Among its features: an 80GB hard drive.
The U90 also sports an 8.9-inch LCD, the ubiquitous (in Netbooks) Intel N270 processor, 512MB of RAM, and SUSE Linux. Surprisingly, this is a new system, not a refurb, so it carries a full, one-year warranty from MSI.
However--and there are a couple howevers here--ZipZoomfly says these U90s are nonrefundable; your only return option is to replace a defective unit.
What's more, the U90 comes with a three-cell battery, which will barely get you 2 hours of runtime. That's fine if you're flying from Detroit to DC, but no good from New York to Denver.
CNET hasn't reviewed this model, but Laptop Magazine took issue with the U90's choice of Linux, which it called buggy and frustrating (mostly because of incompatible drivers). Well, nothing an Ubuntu install can't fix.
Of course, the U90 cost $369 at the time of review. At $195, it's easy to overlook a few shortcomings. I have a sneaking suspicion these will sell out quickly, so if it sounds as tantalizing to you as it does to me, act fast.
Thanks to reader Garry for submitting this deal!