Should I Buy a Netbook or Cheap Laptop?

Should I Buy a Netbook or Cheap Laptop? When you’re searching for portable computing solutions, there are certainly a number of options to choose from. Tablet computers have made quite a splash over the past several years (the Apple iPad has sold very well, and non-Apple products like the Samsung Galaxy Tab have also garnered a strong following), and some people are even doing small computing tasks on their smartphones.

But one category of computer that has been attracting quite the same degree of attention as the others is the netbook(or often called small laptop or mini laptop). While there’s no precise definition of a netbook, the term is generally used to refer to a portable computer that’s smaller and sometimes less powerful than a traditional laptop computer.

 Read: Cheap Desktop Computers Buying Guide

Netbook Vs Cheap Notebook


Because of their smaller size, netbooks are often a more convenient option for computer users who are frequently on the go. Even though the average netbook may only be a few inches smaller than some laptops, that small difference in size can be quite significant. Furthermore, since many notebook manufacturers are coming out with products meant to mimic desktop computers (including screen sizes of 17” or more), the differences in portability are likely to be even greater.
In addition, since mini laptop computers forego built-in optical (CD or DVD) drives, this makes them even thinner than their laptop counterparts. (Don’t worry, most mini laptops that don’t have optical drives include the ability to purchase an external drive that connects via USB if you sometimes need this capability.)

Office on the Go

Do you often work away from the office? Are you limited by the amount of work you can do on a tablet pc? A small laptop may be the device that you need to carry with you then. Small laptops are a business traveler’s dream come true and serve very well as a secondary computer with a platform that offers more flexibility than a smart phone and less overhead than a traditional notebook. It is a perfect companion for people on the go who want connectivity without lugging a much heavier, full-sized notebook along. With a small notebook, you won’t need to scour the airport for an outlet in order to charge your battery. With an average battery life between four and eight hours, you can start working in the airport and stay productive throughout the whole flight.

Read: Laptop VS Tablet VS Netbook – Which One is Best For Me?

Faster Startup

Some netbook computers have solid state drives instead of traditional hard disk drives. (Solid state drives use a storage technology not entirely unlike that used in a typical key drive or USB drive.) This has the potential to greatly decrease the amount of time that it takes for your computer to boot up from a fully powered down state. While saving 30 or 60 seconds each time you start up your computer might not seem like a significant savings, consider that having a quick startup might lead you to open your computer and get work done when you have a few minutes of downtime.


First and foremost, you can generally purchase a small laptop computer at a significantly lower price than any standard laptop. There’s generally a good reason for the price differences, of course. As with most categories of computers, there is a range of computing power and technical specifications, and products on the lower end of the price range tend to have the least powerful components. So long as the small laptop is capable of fulfilling your computing needs, then you may not want to spend the extra money just to get a larger computer.

General Thoughts

When trying to decide between buying a new netbook or laptop computer, it’s important to pay the most attention to your own needs and how you actually intend to use that computer. Small notebooks are not intended to be used as a full-time substitute for a full-sized notebooks. They are meant to do about 95% of what the average student or teacher does all day long. Is there a good reason to spend $650 on a 7 pound laptop when $300 for a 3 pound netbook will facilitate in-class use better? And do we really need 4 -8 GB of RAM and Core i5 processor for typing a report or giving a Powerpoint presentation?

Read: Should I Get a Laptop or Tablet for College

I'm a technology geek and the founder of Raja Laptop. I love reading books, listening to music and travelling.

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