Things that matter...
*. Keyboard & Display (goes hand-in-hand).
I'm a touch typist and use the Dvorak layout. Although it really didn't hit me you know, all those reviewers saying how bad the 10.1 inch screen "mini" models keyboards are (small), until recently I went into a local store and actually got my hands on a 10.1 inch netbook. I tried putting my palms on the keyboard (the typing stance - kiyahoooo ;-)) and I could barely move my fingers.
|Images via: liliputing.com|
It was really uncomfortable. It was so small that my fingers easily collide with each other and I wonder if someone buy these so called "mini" models and while touch typing they give them such a pain in the as*. So if you're a touch typist, then make sure to go for a net-book that has a 11.6" + screen size or the keyboard in comparison is about (at lest) 95-96% of the standard size otherwise typing is gonna be really problematic.
This is one of the main reasons why I love the Asus Eee PC 1215B models, because it comes with a 12.1" larger display screen thus the netbook in general has plenty of room to integrate an almost full size standard keyboard (96% to be precise).
Watch-out for the Touchpad!
Although the HP Pavilion DM1Z has 11.6" screen still they've managed to include a full size keyboard but I don't like their arrow keys design and the big touch-pad which is very troublesome, because when you type and rest the palm near the touch-pad area the hands get on the way thus moving the pointer!. This seems to a "standard" issue with a lot of netbooks... so before buying pay extra attention to whether the touch-pad is capable of not getting in your way while typing.
*. CPU & GPU
A lot of other netbooks have Intel Atom (ether dual core or single core) but I'm really impressed with the new AMD APU design called AMD Fusion, where both the CPU and the GPU (vga processor) are both integrated into a singe chip/core thus making they're highly efficient as a result the current version of the AMD E-350 dual core processors (1.6 GHz each) beat Intel Atom CPU (including the dual-core versions) at every step!.
The Asus 1215B has a AMD E-350 dual core CPU design and an ATI Radeon HD 6310 which is more than capable of playing HD videos at 1080p.
Other hardware specifications in brief...
*. 12.1" LED Backlight WXGA (1366x768) Screen.
*. DDR3 2GB, upgrade-able up to 4GB (2 slots).
*. 2.5" Sata HDD (250-500GB).
*. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
*. 0.3 Front camera.
*. 2 USB 2.0 ports and a singe USB 3.0 port! - This may not necessary at the moment and since its netbook having USB 3.0 may not make much of a difference... but when comparing with the HP DM1Z the USB 3.0 port is a handy feature concerning the near future.
*. 6-cell battery and Asus say about 8 Hours battery life. But according to actual testers such as Brad from Liliputing computing has an excellent review and according to his tests, under typical usage (web browsing, video playback, etc) it lasted about 5.5 hours which is pretty decent.
*. HDMI port, card-reader (SD/ SDHC/ SDXC/ MMC) and Rj-45 LAN output.
*. Dimensions - 296 x 203 x 38 mm (WxDxH).
*. 1.45 kg of weight (including the battery).
*. Genuine Windows 7 Home premium (64-bit) comes pre-installed.
Although it would've been nice if you Asus had a GNU/Linux pre-installed to cutout the cost a bit more. Anyhow, after considering its excellent performance I think if you're looking for a netbook with a powerful features (for its caliber) then Asus Eee PC 1215B is an excellent little companion for a reasonable price (around $450-500).