Which is Right for You: Netbook or Notebook?

Dec 27, 2011

Netbooks are ultra-light, ultra-affordable, and easy to carry. Notebooks are full-sized, full-performance—and full-priced. Here's what you’ll need to know to make the savviest and most cost-effective choice.

Light vs. Ultralight

Both styles of PC are designed for easy travel, yet there's a notable difference between the lighter-than-air netbooks and the more substantial notebooks.

Netbooks

Netbooks are all about computing on the move. Weighing less than 2 kilograms, with screens that are 12 inches or smaller, a netbook can be tossed easily into a backpack or purse, or even carried comfortably in one hand. If you lug your machine around all day long, that's a major consideration.

Netbooks are leaner, and better suited to web-based usage, as they rarely have a CD or DVD drive. Their processors make them both energy-efficient and power-conscious, but that also means they're designed to run fewer programmes simultaneously.

If you have a web-driven lifestyle, such as blogging for work or pleasure, netbooks are a sleek way to go. Less hardware means less power drain, so netbooks have a longer battery life, lasting up to twelve hours without a charge. If an ultra-light machine can handle your needs, it's definitely the better choice.

Notebooks

Notebooks are more substantial, with larger keyboards and screens, built-in DVD drives, and more computing strength. With a weight just over 2 kilograms, notebooks are built with the heft to edit massive video files, create graphics, or manage large music libraries. Keep in mind that more tech muscle requires more human muscle (to carry) and electric muscle (to power).

The larger hard drive of a notebook delivers power and speed, capable of storing huge amounts of content while easily running multiple data-heavy programmes. If your priority is strength over convenience, then notebooks are the best.

LCD vs. Battery Life

There’s a clear trade-off between the size of the LCD screen and the length of battery life. If a large screen is your main priority, notebooks are for you. Just remember that increased screen size has a corresponding battery drain, too.

Power vs. Convenience: The Choice Is Yours

Are you creating content or consuming it? If you need a machine that offers "heavy lifting" in terms of performance, you need a notebook. If your lifestyle allows you to travel lightly, then >netbooks are the best choice for you.