for what's available today, the ASUS Eee PC EPC1000HE is the way to go. as a matter of fact, i'm using one to type this.
nobody else can match this feature set in a netbook, regardless of price.
only the samsung nc10 comes close, but it's another hundred bucks and still can't best the asus.
i thought the dell mini 10 would really compete but looking at dell's website that seems not to be the case. the mini 10 only has slower more power hungry CPU's available, and a smaller battery, and for that you pay an extra hundred dollars when configured as closely to the 1000HE as possible.
for now, the ASUS Eee PC EPC1000HE is the best netbook available.
i've had mine for several weeks now and other than it collects fingerprints like chilese and pfouts collect kites, i don't have any complaints.
and the claim you can compute for 9 hours without a charge is no joke. the LED backlit screen uses less energy than previous designs and it's gorgeous as well.
one thing which continues to trip me out though is, the intel atom n280 1.66ghz cpu which is in this little bugger uses at full throttle, 2 watts of power!
that's half one a night light bulb uses.
speaking of chilese, he's had a few minutes hands on with this one so he may be able to share impressions as well, since few retailers even know what a netbook is much less have one for you to finger, every opinion counts.
in 6 months you might see a rash of netbooks using nvidia chipsets with enhanced video capabilities, but from what i can tell, it's not a big enough incentive not to buy, unless you're going to try and game on the thing.
this one will play fullscreen 720p video, or fullscreen high quality flash videos, most other netbooks have serious trouble with this task.
1gb ram is standard, and i plan on spending the $20 to grab a 2gb module at some point but haven't gotten around to it yet. i wanted to have an idea of how it performed without it. i'd say for what i've seen so far, it would be icing on the cake.
the biggest advantage i've seen so far to netbooks which is generally one which is difficult to grasp until you spend some time with one, and that is; it's a portable answer machine. the sum of human knowledge can now sit patiently waiting right next to you on the couch, or on the countertop ready to answer most questions which arise in a curious mind. no more having to try and remember what it was you wanted to search for when you finally sit at your computer when your computer can now sit with you, answering those questions on the fly.