The best machines for the buck I ever bought was an eee pc 1005hab. They had 2 on clearance for around $200 normally $275 so I scooped up both. Many years later and tons of abuse yet those things keep kicking. I upgraded the ram to 2 whole gigs in one and was able to run Photoshop CS5, it ran fine until I tried to render too many layers and it pooped it’s self. I use it all the time for quick photo editing though. I also use it for datalogging my ford lightning as well as maintain tunes and tune a fox body race stang I have.
People hate mini laptop’s because they’re slow, well no shit. When I can get 3 or 4 for the price of an average ultra book, I guess I’m gonna take a performance hit. Hell I paid 1/3 the price of an iPad yet I have a full keyboard, a desktop OS, and access to more apps then I can imagine. If windows goes the way of apple I feel it will be a big mistake. One of the reasons windows has such a huge marketshare is due to it’s pricing. Not everyone has $1000+ to blow on a suped up mini laptop via a MacBook air or ultrabook. Tablets are a pain in the balls to really work on. mini laptop may Buena pain to type on, but tablets make them feel like they have the best keyboards made. Not to mention the full fledged os and not a mobile os. The surface is nice and all but that keyboard looks horrible to type on, like those flat keyboards from the 90’s. Plus the pro version will at a minimum be $600 which is far more than most spend on a laptop. If they can afford it they will find something else, probably an iPad. They can get an iPad for $500 that has a fully mature and wonderful ecosystem and is very familiar looking to use. When people think tablet, they think iPad. We are the exception not the rule. Microsoft has a grand canyon sized gap to cross in order to just break even with apple in the arm tablet game. I hope it pays off for them.
For starters that little MacBook Air kicks the crap out many desktops in performance so as you say it it is "more powerful" but buy a huge margin. It also has a full size keyboard, not the smaller and cramped keyboards you get even with the newer 11.6 mini laptop. It is a night and day difference in build quality. Then finally how many mini laptop are using SSD drives?
I own one of the newer 11.6" mini laptop, an Acer Aspire One 722 that I only bought because it was on clearance and it was still too sluggish, even with 4 gigs of ram, and even though it could output 1080p video. Everyday use was just too sluggish. So I replaced the hard drive with a Crucial M4 64gig SSD and the difference is quite dramatic. It still a pain to type on and the CPU is still limited. Heck, I type much faster on my iPad than any mini laptop. I still can’t understand why so many people complain about typing on an iPad. I can type just as fast on my iPad mini tablet as I can with a regular keyboard. Most people that complain I suspect have never given themselves enough time to practice typing on the iPad.