The process of finding the best netbook computer takes more than poking around sales ads and flyers at your local electronics store. Like buying a full-size computer, getting the right netbook computer depends largely on your needs and comfort levels.
Think about what you want to do with your netbook.
A netbook is a lightweight notebook in more ways than one. Netbooks are small and utilize low-powered processors, so keep this in mind when you're thinking about what you want to do with it. You won't be playing online games, reviewing your media collection or editing photos and video on your netbook. Netbooks are ideally suited for low-resource applications, and if you need a computer that's capable of more, you'll need a high-end netbook or a regular laptop.
With a computer that small, designed for simple tasks, you might be tempted to think that processors don't matter. One is as good as another in such a simple application, right? Wrong. Even within netbooks, you'll find a broad range of processors capable of vastly different performance levels. Mobile processors are always less powerful, but even netbooks boast high-end processors and options with a bit more oomph. If you require the extra kick, look for it. If you don't need the power, save the cash, and go for a low-end or mid-range netbook.
Look at operating systems.
Because netbooks are so resource-light, they run only simple operating systems. You won't find Windows Vista on a netbook. Most netbooks run either Windows XP or Linux. Traditionally, Linux is more processor-friendly, without the processor-heavy GUI that Windows favors. However, most Windows users won't be at all familiar with Linux, and you may have trouble navigating a Linux machine.
You'll want an operating system that you can effectively utilize. If possible, try out netbooks at the store, and see how easy it is for you to use the operating systems. The best netbook computer may be a Linux system, and if you're a Windows user, that might be useless to you.
Evaluate sizes to figure out what you like.
While all netbooks are small, netbook sizes range from as little as 7 inches to as much as 10 inches. Those three inches may not seem like they'd make a big difference, but they do. The smaller the netbook, the smaller the screen and keyboard. If you do a lot of typing or intend to read on your screen, you might want a larger netbook.
On the other hand, if you're a hunt-and-peck typist, or you intend to use your netbook for intermittent Internet access, you might not need a larger model, and smaller size and portability could be more of a consideration. Look at different sizes, and think about how you'll want to use the netbook. Find a size that seems comfortable based on your needs, and eliminate everything else when you're shopping for the right netbook.