January 30, 2009

Netbook or Notebook?

There's something about the economy that makes one want to penny-pinch today. I can't lie, I'm saving a few pennies myself, and I myself am considering getting my own laptop when the time comes. But while I'm established on my stand that Notebooks are simply better, how about you? This guide will (try to) help you make the choice. Netbook or notebook?

The difference
What's the difference between a Netbook and a Notebook anyway?

Netbooks have generally got a boost in profit this year despite the economic slowdown, and that's because it offers a barebones, but tolerable computing experience for the Facebook generation. It basically lives on Wi-Fi and the Internet, and has great battery life, but in return,  users may have to be careful in picking the right netbook, as they don't always run Windows XP (or even rarely, Vista) nor do they usually have DVD drives and high storage.

On the other hand, Notebooks have been in existence since the 70's, and they offer better usability, better specs under-the-hood, more upgrade options, but in return, a significantly bigger price, heavier weight and even less battery life.

Perhaps, that comparison alone will help you make a choice, but if not, read on.

Long term investment?
I've usually regarded the netbook as a fad, but it doesn't seem to stop- not with this economy. But OK, so let's say you bought a netbook simply because you couldn't afford anything more expensive. Well, what will happen when the programs you need can't be installed because the thing probably won't have a CD drive, or that you are driving it to breaking point by doing something that would be a piece of cake for regular computers? That's what I mean by the statement of the netbook being a fad, and the addressing of the issue of the long term.

By buying a netbook, you may deprive yourself of the long term benefits a notebook typically has. Some notebooks have become very easy to upgrade, and the standard features that come with it (that don't come with netbooks) are a boon as well.

Still, if you plan to not edit videos, or do graphics work, you'll do splendid for a few years with a Wi-Fi connection and a netbook.

It simply depends on one question: Will I find a use for more (or the lack of) advanced features and use them frequently?

How comfortable are you with the screen? Is the keyboard tactile? Is the mouse located conveniently near the keyboard? Are your wrists feeling good? Those are just some of the questions you have to ask when you decide to buy a laptop- or any mobile device for that matter.

Sometimes, users don't mind being uncomfortable as long as they are able to get used to it. But in long term use, people may get tired of something that pretty much feels downright uncomfortable, so technically, this category may well be filed under "Long term investment" as well.

This is where notebooks excel, just because they are bigger.

How portable?
How portable do you want it to be? Does battery life last my average usage time? Can it withstand the elements?

Those are the components that you need to consider when deciding, and the netbook excels here very much. Battery life is more efficient due to stripped components, and those stripped components also contribute to the tiny form factor. It all depends now, on the materials used to make it. Many netbooks are pretty much plasticky, with the occasional metallic touch here and there, so while light, kind of feels cheap and weak. Notebooks are not exempt from this either.

Thing is, progress is being made in the notebook arena in terms of battery life though, most recently on the 17-inch MacBook Pro which can last up to a theoretical 8 hours on integrated graphics- nearly like a netbook.

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