I finally bought a netbook based on 2 reasons:
One, Fry's had the Velocity micro NoteMagix M10 Netbook on a special price of $199 instead of its normal price of $349.
Two, I realized that I would rather travel lighter on my trip to Paris with a netbook (2.6 lbs) instead of my Dell D620 (5.74 lbs, using the 9 cell extended battery and the media bay battery).
This purchase led me into the wild and woolly world of netbooks.
First of all it seems that almost all netbooks have the same motherboard in common, using an Intel Atom CPU running at 1.6 GHz with 1 GB of DDR2 (sometimes DDR3) SODIMM for memory. For anyone wanting to go beyond Windows XP (the usual OS on netbooks) to Vista or Win 7, Toshiba's netbook can be upgraded to 2 GB and HP's can go to 3 GB.
There are usually 3 USB ports, VGA out, audio I/O and LAN RJ-45 connectors on most netbooks, as well as a webcam.
Battery life is 3 hours as a rule. Claims of 6 hours of battery life are from marketing people who don't actually own or use a netbook.
Wireless is universal on netbooks with B/G being standard. Some vendors such as Sony include N.
Standard hard drives are 160GB 5400RPM SATA although HP offers drives up to 250GB and SSD as well.
While most screens are 10.2 inches HP offers one (with HD no less!) at 11.6.
Graphics engines tend to be Intel GMA 950s, although HP has begun offering the Nvidia ION.
I will admit to being biased, but having seen 10 of these lined up at Fry's, Sony's looks the best and feels much more sturdier than all other vendors. Of course you pay the price, $500 for a Sony versus $350 for a similar notebook.
I'll report in the future on how I fare traveling with a netbook.