Through the laborious reading between the lines of the details of driver updates, I found that the amazing bulk of net-books (and perhaps most low-end laptops) seem to have the Taiwanese-made Realtek sound chip.
Based on my experience and the google "RealTek midi problem" hit rate (it does not work with ASIO4All for example), I'd suggest you stay away from these if you want to use your netbook for more than simple sound output, without shelling out $100 or so for a USB-connected external sound card (would this work? USB has latency issues, I hear...).
This $500 netbook works well velcroed onto an AXiS - they are the same size. The screen although tiny (I need glasses to read it) has lots of detail; enough for most full laptop work. The battery will lasts for 6-8-hours(!) with the right power-saving settings. Recommended.
Prepare to be shocked: I recommend Win 7 for midi on laptops and netbooks. Why? because Microsoft put a lot of effort into cleaning up the drivers in windows (with the very notable exception of the battery-check driver). I've seen DPC latency under 1 millisecond, when the battery check turned off.
PS. the $300 HP netbooks have the same chips, just a smaller screen, so should work well too.