Someplace to stash my stuff
an eMachines eM350 series, Model no NAV51
Published on January 19, 2011 By starkers In Personal Computing

I never really saw myself up for a portable computing device... until now, that is.  

My niece bought 6 of these eMachines eM350's for her kids and step-kids at Christmas time and my interest was immediately aroused when I noticed how they were all networking together as well as connecting to the main desktop PC in the house. It occurred to me that if I were sick in bed or unable to get downstairs to my main PC (arthritis and stairs) I could access the net plus my files on that rig as well, hence I decided to get me one.  Well two, actually.  While Shaunna already has a 17" laptop, these netbooks are easier to travel with due to their much smaller size and weight, so we doubled up.

I thought my niece got a good deal at $235.00 each on special, but 2 weeks later they were only $199.00 AUD each on an even better special.. less a further 10% discount for us cos my niece works for the group of companies.  All up we paid $360.00 for them both, yet one costs almost that much elsewhere or when not on special.  Bonus, hey... when you consider the same machine sells for 200 quid each n the UK, almost twice the price.

Anyhow, the specs are reasonable for the price and what it is....

CPU:  N450 Intel Atom dual core @ 1.66

GPU:  Intel Media Graphics Accelerator 3150


HDD:  160GB 5400RPM Sata.

USB: x2 USB2

VGA port for external monitor.

Networking: Ethernet and wi-fi

Bluetooth: ready

Display: 10.1" LCD

Webcam: built in

OS: Windows 7 Basic.

The only thing with Win 7 Basic is there's no Aero or pretties to tart up the screen... no personalization features at all. but that alright, I whacked a few Stardock proggies on it and I'm laughing.  There's no transparency or per pixel available in Windowblinds, either, due to the low-end graphics, but there are still quite a few WB's that work well, just the same.

The low-end graphics is not a problem with playing most video files, though the newer Full HD videos may experience some issues.  However, I have several AVI, MPEG and MP4 type files that play great., though the on-board sound leaves a little to be desired after listening to the 5.1 setup on my main rig... though there is nothing to stop one adding external speakers with a bot more oomph, if one so desired.

Performance-wise it is a neat little machine with more than enough grunt for basic computing, net surfing and general media such as movies music, photos, etc.  PhotoShop and PSP aren't going to run on it at all, but then it's not a super computer designed for that kind of work.

My impression of the eMachines Em350 series NAV51?  Probably a 7 out of 10, though that would probably be higher if the on-board Broadcomm wi-fi played better with our Netgear Router.  Sometimes it'll find the network, other times it won't, but we have Netgear USB wi-fi receiver dongles for when they won't play together.

Worth the money???  Bloody oath!  Would have paid 30 bucks apiece extra and I'd still be happy.  For ease of use I do recommend, however, to go with the Win 7 version rather than the XP or Linus ones.  Some people in the forums on one site said that the Linux ones were generally difficult to use, and that the XP ones has issues with drivers for some external/USB devices.


on Jan 19, 2011

Lenovo is going to be coming out with cheap Ideapads with a SoC fairly soon with 8 hr batteries and large HDs and good computing power.... not just WP and email...

on Jan 19, 2011

Lenovo is going to be coming out with cheap Ideapads with a SoC fairly soon with 8 hr batteries and large HDs and good computing power.... not just WP and email...

Lenovo is a good brand n' all, but here in Oz they are quite expensive from what Ive see3n to date.  I well imagine their little netbooks will beat this thing hands down as far as power goes, but this is what I've got for now and it will have to do the job until a future purchase for something with more grunt is financially viable.  The thing is, for what I'm likely to be doing on this baby beast, it will be more than adequate for some time to come.  My main rig is quad core at 3.2ghz and 8GB of Ram with a GTX260, so any power computing I need to do, such as video or music conversion or creation, will be done on that.

Thing is, we Aussies most often get ripped off/gouged when it comes to electricals/PCs, so I might be looking to overseas online traders for my future PC related purchases.  The rogue importers/suppliers/retailers (big business) have set the trend and prices, so even small but honest traders are caught up in the current market trend of charging too much.  Add to that, government stinging us with GST AND other taxes on PC parts, etc, we're paying anything up to 60% more than customers in the US for identical items.

Some of our biggest retailers have been bitching about Aussies shopping online with overseas traders, and I thank them for that.  For once they've highlighted just how much they gouge the local market... with sometimes up to 400 - 500% markup.  The bastards buy cheap from Asia, but now we're doing it as well they don't like it.   well f**k 'em, I say.  If Harvey Norman can buy a 42" TV from China for $200, then in principle I'm going to as well.

I mean why would I go to Harvey Norman and pay $1499 for the identical set.  Thank you Gerry Harvey (the billionaire owner), for your pathetic whining.  Now we know how much you've been ripping us off.... how to save ourselves thousands per year on basic household items/needs.

*Rant off*



on Jan 19, 2011


wow....those little netbooks have really come down in price.  Good deal!

I bought three of them back when they were 399.00 each, set them up configured everything and then promptly never really used them....hehe  I found the sound of the tiny little fan annoying (the smaller the cooling-fan the more noise it makes). 

I eventually sold all but one of my netbooks and espeically now since I can remote control anything and everything in my house that is a computer with my iPad I have no need to wait for a little netbook to boot up and then whine constantly with that noisy little fan!   

Personally I think with the advent of more advanced tablet-computing and Win7 smartphones etc. that the netbook's days are numbered.  Sort of like beta-max or 8-track.  Filled a gap for a short period and then went away.  They're just too slow and too noisy (unless you get the SSD version) to be of any real value in the long run.

on Jan 19, 2011

You sure that it wasn't Windows 7 Starter Edition? Basic is not suppose to be for sale in the West. Starter Edition is terrible.....

on Jan 19, 2011

I got my wife one for under $300 last year (09), and she uses it for travel. He has a 17" dell for her serious computing (got that this past fall).

Some say that they iPad killed the netbook.  I still like the netbook because of the KB and the price (half an iPad).  Congrats on finding an even better deal!  It is not for your main computer, but you seem to have the niche figured out.

on Jan 20, 2011

Hey, the_Monk.... yeah, the netbook takes a while to boot up to a usable desktop, but I'm only using it for a back up device so it's not imperative that its online as fast as my main rig. The thing is, my expectations weren't that high, and given its intended use I'm prepared to deal with its limitations

As for an iPad, I had briefly considered one to do a similar job and not have a flip top lid, but to get one with equivalent abilities and storage I was looking at $900+ ... closer to $1300 for the 64gb edition one with 3G. That's much, much more that I was prepared to pay or could afford and I'm pleased with what I have.

With regard to the noisy fan, well I don't notice it... probably due to no hearing aids and loss of hearing in my latter years.

You sure that it wasn't Windows 7 Starter Edition? Basic is not suppose to be for sale in the West. Starter Edition is terrible.....

Yeah, I didn't realise there was a difference, but it is the Win 7 Starter Edition I have.  However, that's not so bad if your expectations aren't too high.  Obviously it doesn't have the glossy look and feel of higher versions, but for basic computing, the needs for which I purchased it, it does its job well enough.

Some say that they iPad killed the netbook. I still like the netbook because of the KB and the price (half an iPad).

Given the price of the iPad here in Oz, I don't see it killing off the netbook any time soon.  Besides, the availability of netbooks compared to the iPad is much greater, so with wider exposure and better prices, the netbook is likely to be around for some time to come.

It is not for your main computer, but you seem to have the niche figured out.

No, it would never do as my main rig, given that I like to create and convert video files, etc, but it is more than adequate as a device to access the net and stored files.  I'm on my main rig right now, but I spent a few hours setting up the netbook last night and I'm reasonably impressed with its performance and ability to complete tasks.  Can't complain for under $200... shoot, you can't buy any full/retail of Win 7 for that normally, so yeah, it's a bargain.