Toshiba Satellite T115-S1105
Not so long ago, buying a laptop was as simple as deciding whether you wanted a Netbook (11 inches or smaller) or not (12 inches and larger). Suddenly, however, it's getting to be a fairly confusing time to be in the market for an 11-inch laptop. Why do we say that? Simply put, this size used to be considered a "Netbook" category, mainly populated by Intel Atom processors. With the rise of ULV (ultra low-voltage) processors, however, a number of small-screened laptops--anywhere from 11 to 15 inches in size--have emerged, all thin and light, generally lacking optical drives, and running one of a variety of single- or dual-core ULV processors.
You need to know that the laptop you choose can have a greatly varying performance depending on the type of ULV processor it has. Take, for instance, the Toshiba Satellite T115-S1105. With an 11.6-inch screen, it's roughly the same size as the Nvidia Ion-toting HP Mini 311 Netbook we've been so bullish oabout, which costs only $399. The T115-S1105, however, starts at $449 and doesn't have a discrete GPU.
Here's the good news, though: the Toshiba Satellite T115-S1105 has much the same performance and specs as its bigger-screened cousin, the T135-S1300. With a single-core Pentium processor, it's not going to blow you away with lightning fast speed, but on the other hand, this is a better-featured and generally faster-performing machine than most Netbooks, while still coming in at Netbook size. At $479 for our configuration, it's also more expensive than the average Netbook, which could be the drawback for many potential customers. Another upside is its very strong battery life.
While the Satellite T115-S1105 is cheaper than the T135 series, and a single-core Pentium processor seems like a more logical fit here than in a 13-inch, with faster Atom processors on the horizon, it might simply be worth waiting for next year's Netbooks instead.
Read our full review of the Satellite T115-S1105.