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Group test: Linux netbooks

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Netbooks may be on the cheaper side of computing, but as we're all watching our pennies now, making the right choice is essential. We've brought together all the netbooks we could get hold of - most of which are bundled with Linux - for a comprehensive test. We're looking at:

* Performance All but one of the netbooks are based on the Intel Atom 1.6GHz CPU and 945GME graphics chip. But other components come into play, especially the storage and the wireless reception strength, so we're putting particular focus on these aspects.

* Usability The most important aspect of a netbook. It doesn't matter if it looks wonderful if the keyboard is far too cramped, or the trackpad is rubbish.

* Build quality You shouldn't need to baby your netbook. You want to chuck it in your bag, use it everywhere and not worry about it taking a bump or two.

To find out how each of our eight netbooks fared, read on!
In order to make our benchmarks fair, and because we know that most regular Linux users prefer to install their own distro, we'll install Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix on each machine that supports it.

Let's get started then...

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