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I think the main reason netbooks are considered garbage by many is that they decided to cram Windows XP into underpowered machines, which meant a horribly slow laptop with poor battery life, with the only advantage being that it was small and cheap.

For me, a netbook replaced a $2000+ Fujitsu subnotebook which ran Linux. It was fast enough to run a web browser and most of the CPU intensive work (compiling etc) was done on a remote server anyway. The build quality was actually about the same, the main difference was the lack of an optical drive (which I didn't need anyway).

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