We're finally beginning to see netbooks fall under the Rs. 20,000 barrier where they really belong. This kind of pricing also helps manufacturers distinguish these devices from regular laptops in the sub-30k range.
The eMachines EM250 netbook that we are reviewing today is a typical run-of-the-mill model with an attractive price tag. Let's quickly run through what it's got and see whether it can stand tall with new generation models?
Design and Build
The eMachines EM250 looks quite similar to the Acer Aspire One D150 model we reviewed a while back. While the design is almost exactly the same, this netbook has managed to shave off almost 10 mm of its thickness, thus making it fairly thin. The build quality is decent. The black and metallic-grey color combination gives the EM250 a corporate-friendly appeal. But it isn't a stunner in terms of looks, especially owing to its flat protruding battery at the back. But on the positive side, the flat surface of the battery isn't as obtrusive while using this netbook on the lap. At almost 1.3 kilos, it's fairly light for a netbook with a 6-cell battery.
On the inside we have a regular 10-inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen. The quality is standard-fare and brightness is sufficient. Despite several attempts, we weren't able to get the webcam working, thus we can't comment on its quality. The size of the keyboard would have been called adequate if we would have seen the EM250 two years ago. But with netbooks these days having wider key designs (for e.g. the HP Mini 110 or the Eee PC 1005HA), the one on the EM250 feels somewhat tiny. They offer fair tactility, but not everybody will be happy using it.
We had a similar skeptical feeling after seeing the tiny square-shaped touchpad at first, but were gladly surprised to find its touch response quite accurate. The surface is also quite smooth and it supports multi-touch gestures like two finger scrolling. How clever, since putting a traditional side-scrolling strip would have eaten away precious real estate of the touch-area. At the sides we have the usual array of ports: 3 USB, 1 VGA, 1 headphone, 1 mic, 1 LAN and 1 card reader. There's a switch at the front edge to toggle the wi-fi on or off. The stereo speakers at the base of the laptop offer average audio quality and moderate volume. We wouldn't prefer hearing anything other than the dings and dongs of the Windows OS from them.