Netbooks, laptop computers and ultra-portables, oh my! With the rush of all these new devices, deciding which type of computer would fit your lifestyle and computing needs can be confusing. However, this guide was created to explain and clarify the details, misconceptions and trends of netbooks and some of the cheap netbooks that have emerged.
What are Netbooks?
- They are designed for quick email checking, casual web browsing and light typing
- They are engineered for minimal power consumption because of the above reasons
- They are built to complement (not replace) full-size notebooks
- Because of their limited utility, their components are relatively cheaper and therefore have a lower purchase price ($280 - $500) than traditional notebooks
- They are designed to be highly portable and have significantly longer battery life because of their low-power consumption
Problems and Purpose
Netbooks vs. Ultra Portables
- 10-13” LCD screen
- A mainstream CPU (i.e. Intel Pentium M, Core 2 Duo, etc.)
- 2-4GB RAM
- 320-500GB Hard Drive
- An extended battery for longer run times
- A significantly higher price tag (i.e. $600-$2500)
Netbook Hardware trends
- Low-voltage CPU (i.e. Intel Atom which is designed for minimal power consumption)
- Usually 1GB RAM – Enough to run Windows comfortably and 1-2 applications but that’s it
- 160-250GB Hard Drive – Hard drive size price-per-storage has become very cost-effective for PC makers so a 250GB hard drive in a $300-$350 netbook is common
- 8-11” LCD Screen – netbooks feature extreme portability and a very small footprint
- No DVD-CD Drive – In order to reduce size and increase battery life, netbooks don’t have optical drives. In addition, manufacturers realized that casual web browsing & email checking do not require a DVD drive.
- Webcam + Wi-Fi + 1-2 USB ports – These are the basic amenities that come standard with both notebooks and netbooks