What is a Netbook?
One of the most common questions that we are asked is: what is a netbook? Or... what is the difference between a laptop and a netbook?
Is a netbook just a laptop computer?Truth is the difference between a netbook and full blown laptop is becoming harder and harder to define. When netbooks were first introduced the netbook was extremely small (many with just a 7 inch display) and netbooks were also horribly underpowered, one might even call the first netbooks a toy or gimmick. They were unique and compelling but you couldn't really do much with them. Today's netbooks have grown up and become much larger (10 and 11 inch displays) which makes the line between netbooks and laptops much thinner. Many of todays netbooks are also much more powerful thereby making the modern netbook much more functional. Some netbooks have near full size keyboards and rocket fast processors heck the only thing that separates them from a full sizes laptop would be the internal DVD drive.
Another trend in newer netbooks is equipping them with a SSD (solid state drive) which allows the netbook battery to last longer as well as giving the netbook a faster boot-up.
Speaking of quick startup times the introduction of the iPad has been somewhat of a game changer. The iPad isn't a netbook per se but it does fit in the ultra mobile computing family. The iPad has an extremely "peppy" processor and features near instant-on which comes in really handy for such a device. The iPad's battery life is remarkable and it's tablet style multi-touch screen is very inviting. In the battle between iPad vs netbook one needs to review their options when making a purchasing choice.
Another newcomer is the new MacbookAir produced by apple which isn't officially called a netbook but clearly compares favorably with the best netbooks on the market.
In the end the most simply way to differentiate between a netbook and a laptop is to say... a netbook is a smaller (more mobile) version of a laptop. Netbooks are intended to be a secondary or even family computer that is best suited for quick usage such as browsing the net or checking email from wherever you are. If you need help determining which netbook is for you please feel free to check out our netbook buyers guide.
BONUS: We found this great video on CNET that explains some of the features and current offerings in the Netbook category.