5 Tips: Back-to-School Netbook Shopping


WHETHER YOU’RE SPENDING less in the recession or not, scaling back on your college-bound kid’s next computer purchase may be a smart move.

Netbooks are becoming a more popular alternative to laptops and desktops, thanks to new technology that has put considerable computing power in the small, ultraportable devices. The devices are also economical: netbooks rarely top $400, and many basic models cost half that. “For 95% of users, a netbook is their next computer,” says Alex L. Goldfayn, an independent technology analyst who hosts “The Technology Tailor Show” on WGN Radio, where he helps consumers find the right gadgets to fit their needs. “Everyone should be looking at them as an option.”

2.  Stick with big names
Netbooks are one of the few hot categories among broadly slumping electronics sales, which means many gadget manufacturers are racing to put out a model. Check expert and consumer reviews to find models from manufacturers with a reputation for quality products and good service should something go awry, says Andrew Eisner, director of content for Retrevo.com, an online electronics marketplace that offers user manuals and consumer reviews. His picks: established brands including HP (HPQ: 44.37*, -0.31, -0.69%), Asus and Toshiba (TOSYY). Click Here to read more.