Update 2010-12-27: Added optical drive comparison. Also listed a few other laptops that might be worth looking at, the Toshiba Portege line and the HP DM3T (neither added to the table though).
I’ve been thinking about buying a new ultra-thin laptop to replace my netbook (if I see a good deal I might do it soon, but I’m not in a rush). I love my Asus 1201HA netbook — for $400, I got a solid, lightweight machine that runs for 8 hours at a time — but ultimately, it’s still a netbook. Netbooks run on energy-efficient but slower processors (like the Intel Atom) and sometimes can’t handle the multi-tasking workload of the modern scholar (or the modern anything).
New netbooks (like Asus’ dual-Atom 1215 netbook) are doing way better, and straddle the line between netbooks and notebooks even more, but they are starting to converge with “ultrathin” laptops, so I’ve been looking in that direction instead. Why not go for a full Intel Dual Core or equivalent for a similar price?