How a netbook differs from a laptop

Laptops , ultrabooks , netbooks – all these portable devices help make work and play more convenient. The average person may not know the difference between them, but when choosing a personal computer, it is very important to choose a device that will fully meet the needs. Today we will look at what a netbook is and what are its differences from a laptop?


The visible difference between a netbook and a laptop lies in its significantly smaller display size, body thickness, and weight. If the diagonal of a standard laptop can reach 20 inches and fully replace a monitor , for example, a candy bar , then for a netbook this parameter is 12 inches maximum. This makes the device lighter and more compact. However, a small screen will not allow you to enjoy a detailed image, so watching movies, playing and working with tables on it is not very convenient.

Modern models have such a thin case that it, a netbook, fits into any bag and even a pocket. This feature is good for travelers, because the netbook is convenient to use in cafes, transport and other places. It was created for those who need to quickly type a message, read an article, view files even in extreme situations.

Interesting to read: How to choose a netbook

Specifications or “iron filling”

In choosing a personal PC, size matters, but not as significant as the technical parameters of devices. The latest generation of well-known laptop brands also boasts an ultra-thin and mobile body. What is the difference between laptop and netbook hardware:

  • Processor power. Portable personal computers are designed with the understanding that the device is not intended for full, but for additional work. Therefore, developers are developing more in reducing the size than in equipping the gadget with modern technologies. Often, the lineup of netbooks has an Intel Atom processor, which is one of the weakest on the market. The advantage of such equipment is low energy consumption, and the disadvantage is the impossibility of working with heavy programs.

Some compact laptops of Apple , Lenovo and Asus brands work on more powerful hardware – Core m3 and i3, but they cost more.

  • Video card. The graphics capabilities of the netbook are limited, as the devices have a poor quality controller. New applications and games will not run on low-budget devices, and more expensive ones will not work as fast and stable as on gaming laptops. Netbooks are not suitable for gamers and graphic designers, photographers and editors who work with complex software.
  • Hard disk size. Portable laptops have a lot less hard drive capacity and are slower to operate. SSD drives in netbooks are less than 700GB, while standard personal PCs can be up to 4TB. Such disk capacity is needed for those who work with a large number of files, download various programs, watch a lot of audio and video content. To complement office work or use the device to communicate on social networks, 200 GB, which is available in every netbook, will suffice.
  • The amount of RAM. The RAM on modern laptop models, for example, Asus and Dell , reaches 4 GB, which is enough for work. Netbooks, on the other hand, do not replace the computer and do not meet the need for powerful hardware. Designed for quick communication, they are more like a functional tablet with a keyboard. Therefore, if you need to work with a large number of files and programs open at the same time, then it is better to choose the largest amount of OP. For normal use without much workload, you can do with 2 GB of RAM.

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Laptop and netbook keyboard

The larger the device, the larger the display and keys. Regular laptops have a functional keyboard similar to that of a stationary device, and models with a display over 20 inches are also equipped with special gaming keys.

As for netbooks, due to the small size of the case, the keyboard is incomplete, lacking some “hot keys”, additional digital layout and device control buttons. The keys themselves are small and there is no distance between them for easy typing of large texts. If the choice between a laptop or a netbook is in front of an office worker, then the last gadget is inferior to the first.

See also: What is the difference between a laptop and an ultrabook – 5 main parameters

Difference between laptop and netbook software

The technical parameters of netbooks are weaker, so standard operating systems and programs are not suitable for their full-fledged work. For a smoother and more productive use of the device, it comes with Linux by default, which is lighter and more optimized for low-power PCs.

The disadvantage of the system is the complexity of the work, as well as the limited application market. For newer models of netbooks, a specially cut down Windows operating system is installed. Laptops don’t have this problem – any user-friendly software system can be installed on them and it will work properly.

Read also: TOP 10 best ASUS laptops: detailed review of 2017 models


Pricing for laptops with a large display and compact laptops with a thin case is different: a high-performance netbook with an average performance will cost less than a low-budget laptop. For comfortable work or quick search for information on the Internet while traveling, a netbook is a good ratio of price and power of hardware. This gadget is suitable for those who need a device more than a tablet, but less than a computer with an affordable price tag.

Which is better: a netbook or a laptop?

Laptops are more suitable for full-fledged work in one place (home or office), as well as for movie nights and games. They have more powerful specifications, larger display diagonal, and better graphics adapters, controllers and video cards. Even if the model is low-budget, over time, it is improved and a more modern “filling” is put. The capacity of the battery is enough to complete work processes in the event of a sudden voltage failure and loss of power supply, and the device is used from the mains.

Netbooks gained popularity not because of the hardware, but because of their small size. Small slim body weighing up to 1.5 kg is convenient to carry everywhere in your bag, briefcase and in a large pocket. It is indispensable for urgent travel, travel and communication devices outside the home. The netbook is convenient to use in places without a power supply, as the battery lasts up to 10 hours of intensive work. The disadvantage of such a PC is that even if desired, it cannot be improved (the case cannot be disassembled, the parts are soldered). Users will not be pleased with the lack of an optical drive for viewing files on disks and fewer USB ports.

See Also: 10 Laptops With The Most Powerful Battery: How To Choose The Best One?

To determine which is better – a netbook or a laptop, the individual needs of the buyer are taken into account. For gamers, designers, programmers and geeks a netbook will not be enough, but for travelers and inexperienced users without hardware requirements, the device will do. A portable mini-gadget is sold at an affordable price, which also plays a role in the purchase.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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