If it’s one thing that has seen an immense boom in the PC hardware industry, during the last year, it was the netbooks. This market was hardly present before 2008 and was started by ASUS with there famous EEE PC branding. Now netbooks have become pretty powrful and every major vendor has their own brands of a Netbook.
If you already own a computer and are planning to buy a laptop do check out about netbook as they may be the prefect fit for you.
So What is a Netbook.
To say in the simplest terms, its nothing but a mini-laptop. It’s an ideal second mini-computer that goes with you when you are on the move, as its pretty light and small in size and weighs just around 1 Kg. Netbooks also cost a lot less compared to a laptop almost half the cost.
You can do most of your normal computer related task with the netbooks, like browsing the net, playing music, working with office documents etc. Your normal software will work with these netbooks as it runs a normal operating system like Windows 7 / Linux. Its a full fledge laptop, but due to the use of a lower powered processor, its not ideal for gaming or high end tasks like video editing.
So you might ask, How a Netbook is different from a laptop?
Actually it’s not much different as a netbook is a mini-laptop but here are the few differences.
- Screen size: Normal laptop screen size ranges from 14” – 17” in netbooks its 7” – 12” inch in size.
- Weight: A Normal laptop weigh around 2.4 – 3 Kgs in weight, whereas a netbook weighs around 1 – 1.2 Kgs in weight making it more portable.
- Processor: A Standard Laptop has a more powerful processor and a dedicated GPU.
Brief History of Netbooks
The early versions of the netbooks weren’t that great in terms of there performance. As they used a low powered celeron process (600 – 900 Mhz) and they had limited hard-disk size and the screen size was 7” inch with resolutions of (800×600). But things have changed now with the launch of Intel Atom (currently it runs at 1.6 Ghz Dual core) consuming just ~3 Watts of power which is a perfect processor for these Netbooks. And most, if not all, hardware vendors have now started using this processor with there Netbooks and the vendors have bumped up the screen size hovering around 10” in size the DELL even managed a 12” with almost a full sized keyboard. That even blurs the line more, between a netbook and a standard laptop.
The basic things to look at when you are planning to purchase a netbooks are
1) Screen size: (normally available from 7” – 12” inches in size) the most popular are the 9 – 10 inch category.
2) Screen resolution: (800×600, 1024×600, 1280×800) the rule here to apply is the more the better but 80% of the netbooks currently use the 1024×600 resolution I would strongly advise you NOT to go for the ones with 800×600)
3) Battery life: Netbooks are mostly used on the go so it’s ideal that they offer better battery life lucky most netbooks offer better battery life than most laptops and some even offer 7 hrs of battery life (with wifi it should give around 5 hrs) most offer around 3-4 hrs of battery life keep this in mind when you shop for the same.
4) Keyboard: As netbooks are a bit smaller in size that standard laptops the keyboard in them are a bit smaller (80 – 95% in size compared to normal laptops), but HP and DELL have managed to give you almost a full sized keyboard.
5) Operating System: Netbooks mostly come in 2 flavors the Linux and Windows XP.
6) Weight: Normally netbooks weight a lot less than laptops but again the weight varies from 800 grams – 1.4 Kgs so keep that also in mind if you travel a lot.
7) Hard-Disk: Most of the Netbooks normally uses a standard hard-disk (60 – 160 GB in size) but some use SSD (Solid state drive) which are more expensive and have lesser capacity but due to SSD it hardly makes any noise and gives a little better batter life, make sure what is the capacity of the hard-disk you are getting.
The future of Netbooks looks bright, the upcoming Intel Atom processor will support 2 processors (dual core), also Nvida has started producing the main motherboard with powerfull GPU for the netbooks which will make the up-comming netbooks even more powerfull and Windows 7 out of the box is supposed to have full support for Netbooks.