back to article 11.6in sub-notebooks

If you're searching for a grab-and-go computer that's lighter and more portable than the average 13in machine, yet has has more welly and a higher-resolution display than a netbook with a 10in, 1024 x 600 screen can provide, you're essentially looking for an 11.6in notebook. Like netbooks, these guys generally lack optical …


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  1. Si 1

    No M11x?

    I'd have liked to have seen the M11x from Alienware in there too. It's pricier than the rest but with an i7 CPU and a GeForce 335M it's excellent for running most modern games at high settings as well as being able to do all that boring spreadsheet/ word processing stuff with ease.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: No M11x?

      You can read our take on an early-2010 spec M11x here:

    2. Scott 19


      Si 1 - Got in before me, it's a bit pricey but well worth the money. You can tell its a winner when all your mates want one and i'd suggest green for the back lighting as it looks very alien.

  2. IanPotter


    Anyone else miss the old 12" 4:3 sized machines. Especially the old 12" G4 Powerbook. Not everything has to be wide screen, for web browsing and general work I'd rather have the relative screen hight.

    1. Luther Blissett


      My desktop monitor is mostly used portrait.

  3. Jason Hall


    Just out of interest, how much crapware did each of the manufacturers include with each machine?

    If possible - including all the 'manufacturer extra widgety' things too?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Crapware

      Plenty on all of them, but at least easy to remove.

  4. wondermouse

    Good as far as it goes but.... would be nice, as well as noting the single core models, to point out what dual core alternatives are available in the same line and their prices. I am looking for a decently specced sub notebook but I don't want a single core model.

    I would have liked a comment, where relevent saying something like "while this is the single core model, there is a dual core version with an xxx processor available for £yyy"

  5. whitespacephil

    And then...?

    So where's the Sony and the Fujitsu kit line up in this? I understand there's an X-Series Sony (pricey) and a Fujitsu Lifebook PH530 with a Core i3...

    1. Adam Williamson 1

      don't really fit the category

      they don't really fit the category - or at least Sony's doesn't, can't speak to Fujitsu's. Sony's X is really netbook hardware in an odd chassis - bigger than netbooks but incredibly light (much lighter than the machines in this test). It's significantly underpowered compared to the machines in this test.

      Sony also sells the Z, which is a 13.3" laptop that weighs less than most of the machines in the 11.6" category and is far more powerful, but also costs a fortune. They also have a fairly boring 10" true netbook, and the 8" P. But they don't really have a dog in the 11.6" 'tweener' category.

  6. Bob Starling

    Nostalgic here too

    Yep, 4:3 screens allow you to read so many more lines of code. I use a 15in laptop with 1050 pixel deep screen. I'm sure I don't want to carry a widescreen laptop that can match this. !progress.

  7. Shingo Tamai
    Thumb Down


    What is the reason for mixing sub-notebooks with netbooks?

  8. Alex C


    Given the point of these machines, to by very portable, would you mind adding a bootnote to say how much each machine weighs as well as the relative weight/ bulkiness of it's charger?

    I love my little Eeepc 1008HA for travelling, principally because the machine + charger are so light & compact, but if I'd gone for it's Dell equivalent the total weight would have nearly doubled.

    Also have they fixed the dreadful trackpad buttons on the ASUS machine yet?



    1. FanMan

      good point well made -

      we need to know whether the charger is a brick or a candy bar, for verily it too must be lugged.

  9. Jamie Kitson


    Wish I'd known about the Lenovo before I bought my M101z, but why did the Lenovo score so badly (relatively) in the tests?

  10. Jamie Kitson


    Do you know which battery you had in the Lenovo that gave such poor results? I notice there's even two different 6 cell batteries, but at a price difference of £2 I don't know why they bothered.

  11. Bruce Hoult

    If they're small why are they so heavy?

    "Given the point of these machines, to by very portable, would you mind adding a bootnote to say how much each machine weighs"

    Yes, I wondered as well. So I looked up their specs.

    Every single machine reviewed weighs as much or more as my original model, nearly three year old, 13.3" MacBook Air's 1.4 kg. Most are 1.5 - 1.7 kg.

    I don't see where it's going since only one of them has an optical drive and they've got smaller displays than the Air and are plastic vs the Air's solid block of aluminium chassis.

    1. Jamie Kitson


      The battery.

  12. Bruce Hoult

    12" PowerBook nostalgia

    "Anyone else miss the old 12" 4:3 sized machines. Especially the old 12" G4 Powerbook. Not everything has to be wide screen, for web browsing and general work I'd rather have the relative screen hight."

    Yes, it was a great machine for its day, but lets not forget it only had a 1024x768 screen.

    I love seeing a lot of lines of code too (the 640x870 "Portrait" displays in the 80's were great for programmers in their day), but there's no respect in which 1280x800 is worse than 1024x768.

    1. IanPotter

      RE: 12" PowerBook nostalgia

      1280x800? If only, 1024x600 on this thing (Toshiba NB200) good machine but you could have easily put a 1024x768 4:3 screen on it without changing the dimensions much. I'm also willing to bet you could get a 1280x1024 display into 12" these days.

  13. Michael C


    You release this TODAY?

    Either you have foreknowledge the rest of the world does not re: the updated MacBook Air, that is will be over 12", or you;re blind to the rumors, or the existence of a sub 12" MBA would render comparisons in this argument invalid for one reason or another.

    Release of this article now, today, suggest ulterior motives.

    1. Adam Williamson 1

      believe it or not...

      ...the entire world doesn't revolve around Apple. Mac.

  14. xj25vm

    11 inch

    Thank you for this. I have been looking forward to an article on 11 inch machines. They seem to be quite out of fashion. I have contended for a while now that 11inch is an ideal compromise between portability and functionality. I have started at 15 inch, went down to 14, then to 11, then to 10. I had to go back to 11 inch, as the resolution on 10 inch makes so many things a pain, or completely unusable.

    In respect to processor, personally I prefer a fairly slow single or dual core part, balanced by the longest possible battery life. I have been using full time a Philips Freevents 11NB5000 (a Twinhead F11Y in reality) 11 inch sub-laptop for 3.5 years - and it has been an excellent work companion. However, I need quite often the optical drive - and the Packard Bell seems to be the only choice with one at 11" in the entire market.

    I know they have been out of production for years - but a word of respect for the Sony TT/TZ/TX lines of yonder. All 11 inch machines, amazing build quality, some of them 9 hours of battery at the time, optical drive integrated (some of them BluRay writer!), even optional integrated 3G. Expensive but what a feat of engineering. Long gone now, I'm afraid. Those were the days. Sigh.

  15. Tom 38

    4:3 laptops

    I used to have a brilliant HP laptop with a 4:3 screen, nice hi res screen of 1440x1050, which I specifically chose for the hi res screen. If I'm coding, then I'm usually :set tw=78 anyway (non vim users: wrap at 78 characters), and value screen height more than width.

  16. Big Bear

    @Michael C

    Or perhaps they are riding the wave of interest in the 11.6 inch form factor which the previously rumoured Mini Air (TM, give El Jobbie my contact details if he wants to use that name... y'all heard it here first, folks!) was introducing to the fruity fastboot funtoy? However, the Mini Air still wouldn't be covered here as none are out being reviewed yet, from what I can see out there on the net.

    I've been a big fan of this size of machine for work travel, getting the original subnotebook when it came out, the 10.6 inch Vaio TR, and wishing that Sony would come up with a replacement for the TT what was discontinued but a year ago to make way for the stupidly overpriced, underpowered X series. That having been said, I like the look of the carbon fibered goodness (keep your dumb alumnium block!) of the Z series in the 13.1 inch form factor as it is stupidly overspecced, with a stupid price as well, but what a machine! Steered clear of netbooks for that very reason as the performance compromises were just not needed, and with old machine relegated to a secondary purpose, it filled that "don't care so chuck it into the bag willy nilly" niche that netbooks were meant to fill, but with a lot more functionality and, importantly, with a decent screen.

    Unfortunately, none of the machines on this list float my boat...

  17. The Daddy

    Shame that ....

    HP never submitted their old 311C for review. Okay, I've overclocked it, but 2gHz N270, ION GPU, it pulls in about 1680 on the 3Dmark and typically goes for about 5 hours on a charge (full screen brightness, video playback, wifi on, etc.)

  18. Bruce Hoult

    New MacBook Air

    So in case anyone missed it, the new 11.6" MacBook Air has a 1366x768 display, 1.06 kg, 1.4 or 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 or 4 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB of flash disk, 5 hours of "wireless productivity" and 30 days of instant-on standby time.

    The lightest machine in this review is 1.4 kg.

    1. Steven Knox
      Thumb Down


      It only costs twice as much!

  19. Richard Jukes

    Thinkpads all the way.

    I'd rather splash out £200 on an IBM X61s off ebay, pretty much the same spec and I can spend any left over cash on a decent SSD and more RAM. Honestly, you only need to use a proper Thinkpad (not the e100 jobby) once to be converted.

  20. Gary F

    Acer 1825

    I have the convertable tablet version of the Acer 1810 and I really love it. The battery really does last for 8 hours under a power saving profile with wifi enabled. The tablet mode gives me everything the ipad has and more (including more weight to carry!) and flipping it to laptop mode lets me be more productive for emails, word processing, etc.

    The 11" screen size is perfect for packing in an overnight bag to take away or taking on a train as it's almost half the weight of some 15.6" laptops. As for the aspect ratio not being idea for web browsing, well, since the resolution is so high you can make the browser window more narrow. i.e. don't maximise it, so you'll get your 4:3 aspect ratio at 1080x768 which leaves some real estate to have RSS widgets, IM client (or whatever you like) within view for enhanced productivity.

  21. TonySpoons

    So let me get this straight...

    The system with the highest PC Mark score AND longest battery life (Acer 1810TZ) isn't worthy of being given the 'Recommended' moniker? How bizarre!

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