I've had an affinity for netbooks since they entered public consciousness sometime in late 2008. Despite the limitations of my Dell Mini 9, I loved it dearly. Now that Atom CPUs are getting more powerful, drives are getting smaller, and components are maturing, ZaReason has decided to pack together a good chunk of that new hardware into its new Teo Pro Netbook, and the company was kind enough to send me a review unit. Here are some first impressions …

Check out the full tech specs of the Teo Pro here, but the unit packs 2GB of RAM and a 1.66 GHz Atom CPU. SSD options are available, but my unit came equipped with 160GB HDD.

At first blush, the Teo Pro felt rugged. The top of the case is a brushed metal that gives that feeling of toughness. The bottom of the netbook, however, is standard plastic. Still, the build quality felt more sturdy than the Dell Mini 9, and for that, I'm happy -- netbooks can take a beating.

Boot-up was brisk, and everything (naturally) worked out of the box with pre-installed Ubuntu 10.10. ZaReason exclusively ships Linux devices, and it's refreshing to see all the hardware work without having to do any configuration. ZaReason also offers devices with no OS loaded -- something equally refreshing for control-happy people (like myself, on occasion).

Since netbooks tend to be used differently than regular work machines, I'll be evaluating how well the Teo Pro performs with the tasks I regularly perform (blogging and browsing) as well as performance using other applications such as Skype, Open Office, Flash-intensive sites and any random things I throw at it. I'll also be testing the battery life, and how well it holds up under different use conditions.

The netbook measures 10 inches, so I don't expect too many issues with the keyboard. But as I've learned, engineering a good keyboard inside a small space can be a difficult task -- or sometimes a task overlooked.

If there's anything you'd like me to specifically check out that I haven't mentioned, feel free to let me know in the comments section.

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