There are instances where a netbook may or may not be the right solution for what you need in a laptop, so here is a heads up if you are comparing laptops in the 200 dollar price range. If you are going to consider purchasing one of the cheap netbooks for sale these days then you really should plan to upgrade the memory from 1GB to 2GB for performance reasons. Do these kinds of laptops under 200 dollars perform alright with just 1GB? Yes they do but they can be noticeably slow to respond even during completely basic stuff like viewing web pages. The new ones are typically going to be running Windows 7 which is much more resource intensive than XP was for example. So if you can afford to, you should increase the RAM to 2GB. Basically on every netbook that we have tested this with, the performance difference is very noticeable.
When using netbooks like this you really should not expect them to be some kind of a desktop replacement anyway. They are small and lightweight and that is essentially their main appeal. They do well for the basic stuff such as online things like email, web browsing, also creating and editing documents and spreadsheets. But when there is only the bare minimum amount of memory installed in the netbook then things will be slow. It is noticeable and really the price of laptop RAM is so cheap these days that you might as well just count on the upgrade right from the beginning.
More new models today will have improved technology like DDR3 for instance which can be noticeable performance wise during basic use. But remember that tying to stay under 200 dollars will limit the model choices. Keeping in mind that the cheap laptops for sale like these are going to be limited in what they can effectively do will help you avoid finding this out later on. Getting a good refurbished laptop on the other hand can be a better option for you if you do need a more powerful computer. One that is larger and has more powerful components, like processor, motherboard and RAM for instance, will ultimately be much more responsive to basic computing tasks. They will also be able to do the more advanced things (meaning the need for more available resources) like video watching or working with large files. The smaller laptops, even with maxed out memory, will still not be a good solution for more than the basics.
There are some new models which do actually have better processors and more RAM though. However they are slightly larger too (13 inch screen sizes for instance) and they are much more than 200 dollars. So at least there is a choice among the various cheap laptops for sale today. The things to consider are how responsive you want your laptop to be. If you do absolutely nothing but the basics then some of the new netbook models can give you a good tool for the job, bearing in mind that they can require a bit more patience when working with them. Or if you want a more versatile and powerful model then the refurbished laptops can be a great choice when the price is a consideration.