Posted 31 August 2009 - 07:52 PM
If your sister is indeed looking for a small, compact, lightweight computer for just what you stated (internet connectivity and basic Office documents), then a netbook is not a bad deal, IMHO.
I have two systems that I work with: a large desktop (Pentium) that runs all of my higher-end programs and a netbook. The netbook is set up at a desk in my kitchen and used just for what you said your sister wants to use it for -- connection to the internet and occasional construction of Office documents. I have a Samsung NC10 that I bought about six months ago. I've traveled with it (very impressed with its battery life), but most often it is connected to the electrical outlet at the desk.
I was fortunate to be able to obtain a legal copy of Office 2003 Pro from my school district that was on a flash drive since these little machines have no optical drives. There are, however, specials at some stores (Costco, for instance) that give you a free external USB optical drive and wireless mouse with the purchase of a netbook (in Costco's case, it's an Acer Aspire One).
My Samsung has the capability of being upgraded to 2 GB of RAM, but I have left it at the 1 GB that came from the factory. I'm able to run Macromedia Fireworks and Dreamweaver 8 without any memory issues. I've had multiple windows open without any white screens (something that does happen with my desktop). And I consider Dreamweaver and Fireworks a bit more than the usual software.
I've been very happy with my netbook. It fits in my purse and is less than 2.5 pounds. It has over an 8 hour battery life. I use Excel and Word regularly on it. Videos from the internet run smoothly. The speakers are not the best, and the touchpad is small, but if you're looking for a small machine, I highly recommend them. Just do your research and make sure to get one with a 6-cell battery if you do. Plus, since my desktop is several years old, this netbook is the one I use when I need to bluetooth anything to my phone, since my desktop does not have that capability. And, since it's so small, it doesn't take up very much room on the desk -- I love than it's not obtrusive at all.
Some people think they're great. Others think they're not. It's all a matter of opinion.