The release of the recent ASUS S121 has begun to inspire some interesting questions about the nature of netbooks. Where is the line between netbooks and their cousins the notebooks crossed?
As a 12-inch netbook it isn’t the first in its class – consider the Dell Mini 12 – but it’s certainly pushing the trend towards larger netbooks. 7- and 8-inch netbooks, while they were the first on the market, are hardly ever seen now (with 10 inches being the baseline).
Tiny netbooks were a cool idea but ended up just being too small for normal-sized people. with 10- and 12-inch netbooks people can actually use the keyboard and screen while still appreciating the portability of the machine.
The other thing pushing the ASUS S121 into the notebook category is the price. It’s certainly no budget netbook, as you can tell from the design. It has a solid build, sharp edges, leather palm-rests… the list goes on.
The ASUS S121 uses the Atom processor, another trademark of the netbook category. But if a conventional laptop CPU was thrown in there, I think ASUS could probably convince everyone this was just a small laptop.