What is a Netbook and Could You Use One?

  • Comments: 18
  • Written on: June 6th, 2009

Netbooks are the latest arrival on the computing scene and are rapidly gaining popularity and acceptance among serious computer users.  In fact, there are reports that even Apple who one said netbooks were “junky” is bowing to the pressure to enter the netbook game.

What is a Netbook?

Basically, netbooks are miniature laptop computers.  They have screens that range from 7.5 to 10 inches, small keyboards, wireless capability, and often don’t come with CD drives.

Netbooks are designed to be small, light and run a LONG time on a small battery.  For example, Schrock Innovations carries the Asus netbook line in our Computer Service Center.  These netbooks weigh in at less than 2 pounds, last 5-6 hours on a single battery charge, and have enough power to run Windows XP or Windows 7 comfortably.

Why Would Anyone Want a Netbook?

Netbooks are primarily designed for two user groups.  If you travel and you want the ability create documents, check email, and browse the Internet on a normal web browser (as opposed to a mobile browser) the netbook is designed for you.

For this user class the netbook fills the gap between smartphones and laptop computers with a device that can be slipped into most glove compartments or purses.

Secondly, netbooks are designed for people who have a standard desktop, but don’t have a need to spend $700-$900 for an entry level notebook PC.  Netbooks are priced between $299 and $499, so they offer an inexpensive alternative to their larger notebook brothers.

The idea is that if you only plan on using the unit occasionally, the small keyboard and lack of a CD drive won’t impact you because you will use your desktop for anything serious you want to accomplish.

Can A Netbook Be A Primary Computer?

Yes, netbooks can be used as the only computing device in your household as long as you do not do anything more advanced than internet, email, and solitaire.

Most netbooks have a VGA connector for an external display and at least 2 USB slots that could be used for a wireless keyboard and mouse.  With these devices you could use the netbook as a primary computer.

Which Should I Buy?

So with this new kind of computer on the market which type of unit is best for you?  That all depends on what you want to do.  Here is a basic guide that can help you decide:

Choose a Netbook for:

  • Internet
  • Email
  • Very Basic Games
  • Light Productivity Use (Word, Excel, etc..)

Choose a Laptop For:

  • Internet
  • Email
  • Intermediate Games
  • Home Office Productivity
  • Digital Photography
  • Light Video Editing

Choose a Desktop For:

  • Internet
  • Email
  • IAdvanced Gaming
  • Home Office Productivity
  • Digital Photography
  • Advanced Video Editing
  • Specialized Applications or Activities
  1. Jacques | Website Design said on June 7th, 2009 at 8:55 am

    The portability and ultra long battery life makes the netbook an ideal alternative to an entry level laptop, where you really don’t need so much, especially if you have a nice desktop PC (or mac) to do your serious stuff on. Blogging from an iPhone or similar device is much harder work than having something more substantial and task related. I will be replacing my ageing HP9010 for a netbook quite soon.

  2. Pozycjonowanie Poznan said on June 10th, 2009 at 1:08 am

    I think it’d be perfect for lectures at the university. It’s small and light plus the battery lats a lot longer than in normal laptops. Sounds reasonable.

  3. Electric Lawn Mowers said on June 10th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I think it’s silly and a waste of money. Computer companies like Dell or HP should be creating laptops with improved battery life rather then pumping out miniature machines. I mean will the next product that comes off the lines be a mini-notebook which serves to the consumers who wish to use their computer but the Smartphone is too small and the notebook is too big. Screen size 5 inches…
    On top of all this, probably due to their lower cost and the fact that distributors are marketing them out heavily (judging by the futureshop flier in front of me) the technology they will be using will not be superior to their larger counterparts and many will be coming out with inferior technologies but being branded as a better alternative to a laptop.


  4. Cancer Hospital FL said on June 17th, 2009 at 4:05 am

    IMO laptop is good one.

  5. gas card said on June 17th, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Netbooks are pretty useful if you ask me. Personally I use the desktop at home and the carry around my netbook when I am outside of my home and need it. It really comes in handy.


  6. Web Design Software said on June 19th, 2009 at 6:59 am

    I am looking at buying a smal notebook/netbook for school, msn, internet, etc. I have to be able to use common programs such as office, msn and itunes. and would like at least 1-2 ram.What is the best and what are the adventages and disadvantages of a netbook?

  7. Adam said on November 24th, 2009 at 3:26 am

    Netbook is good solution for person, who often travel ( the best if we travel without car 😉 )

  8. Netbook expert said on December 11th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Originally I was skeptical about netbooks and stuck to DTR-style 17″ notebooks with powerful 3d graphics, however one day I was about to spend hours waiting for appointments and being stuck in different places. On an impulse I went to BestBuy and picked up a Dell Mini 10. Now, it’s not the best of the netbook crowd (even after I’ve replaced the hard-drive with Corsair 64GB SSD), but I loved the concept so much that I’ve decided to start my own netbook blog

  9. Bidet said on January 25th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I think it’s silly and a waste of money.

  10. Unique Wedding Rings Melbourne said on July 20th, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I still see no overly advantageous use for the slate which were just released in Australia. I still use a desktop, but it still runs rings around everything else I need it for, and was cheap as. It’s gold, Jerry, Gold!

  11. cuban cigars online said on September 9th, 2010 at 6:31 am

    I use it for everything I used to work with my laptop. I always do carry it with me and its size and weight are more than welcome. Sure I’d like a bigger display, but it should be in the same size (extensible display and keyboard ?) …

  12. Lwandiswa said on November 16th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    To me if i can be able to surf the net, send e-mails and type a few documents on word or excel, then i think i can live with a netbook. But can i watch movies or music videos with the netbook?

  13. tanie felgi said on January 20th, 2011 at 3:45 am

    I am using Notebooks for 10-12 years. Desktops make more noise plus you can not carry them to everywhere.

  14. Marble & granite said on July 14th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    It’s amazing what $250 – $400 can get you in this category

  15. Discount granite said on August 9th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Now I have to plan my vacations to not only get away from cell signals, but preferably with no electricity. Can’t work on vacation if the netbook battery gave up

  16. Coronado said on October 5th, 2011 at 9:11 am

    The hybrids are also something to look at. The Lenovo’s might not be ultra compact, but their features for size stack up.

  17. Sara Angel@ cheap granite countertops said on November 12th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I am using Notebooks for 10-12 years. Desktops make more noise plus you can not carry them to everywhere. but it is best solution for person who travel.

  18. Will 2010 Be the Year of the Slate PC? said on February 2nd, 2010 at 8:59 am

    […] 2009 was the year of the netbook then 2010 may be the year of the slate […]

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