The $330 and above netbook market is dead

It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago when higher end netbooks still commanded $600 and maybe even above.  But if you bought a netbook in the last month or two for $400 or more, this is a good time to kick yourself. The market for $400 netbooks justdied with the arrival of the $400 Acer Aspire AS1410-2285 ultraportable.

AS1410The AS1410-2285 has the following notable specifications:

  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz
    “CULV” processor
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics chipset
  • Full-sized Keyboard
  • 11.6″ LCD w/LED backlight
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64 edition
  • VGA and HDMI port
  • 6-cell battery
  • Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • 0.87″ to 1.18″ thick and 3.08 lbs
  • 160 GB 2.5″ SATA HDD
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Two real mouse buttons instead of a cheap imitation MacBook button that
    works like garbage.
  • Did NOT see anything about BlueTooth but you can buy one of those tiny
    dongles for $10 or less if you get a bargain.

This is the sort of specification that would have probably fetched close to $2000 just two years ago but the “race to the bottom” has been won by Acer.  While I’m sure this saddens those in the notebook industry, consumers are rejoicing.  I saw an ad over this weekend for a netbook with Windows 7 “Starter Edition” for $368 so I feel for the poor guy/gal who buys it.

It’s worth noting that the HP Mini 311 netbook with NVIDIA Ion still sells for $400.  While the NVIDIA Ion LE graphics is about 79% faster than the GMA 4500MHD in 3DMark2006, the Atom CPU in the Mini 311 CPU is slower than a dual-core 1.2 GHz SU2300 especially for multi-thread optimized workloads.  So which one is better depends on your preferred workload, but I personally don’t take gaming on netbooks too seriously.