Netbooks & Notebooks & Smartphones, Oh My!

So as technology has changed more and more options are being put out there for people to use and look at. This week is a good example as I setup two netbooks for friends and got asked a lot of questions about netbooks and comparing them to laptops and smartphones. When trying to decide which of these devices you want to go with, you have to ask yourself that age old question, “What do I really need?”

Lets start by talking about a netbook and what it really is. A netbook is a slimmed down version of a laptop, that usually runs with an Atom processor which is slower than a lot of the processors out there today. This is why you see most netbooks running Windows XP home or Linux is most cases. Typically they also do not have built in CD or DVD ROM drives, but you can get external USB drives if you want to. So basically think of a netbook as a slimmed down version of a regular notebook, that is smaller and more portable.

Next lets talk about netbooks versus notebooks, and some of their main differences. As I said above it all depends what you are looking for. As a netbook is a slimmed down notebook, it is not be as fast or powerful as a regular notebook. When you go smaller and more portable, you loose power and performance. Such things that are typically affected by this are video, processor, optical drive, keyboard size, and screen size. However if you are not interested in all the power and performance of a full computer, and just want a nice, portable internet surfing word processor, then the netbook will work just fine.

The next thing that has become more available today that should be considered when talking about netbooks are smartphones. I honestly considered getting a netbook so I would have something more portable to do my email and websurfing with rather than hauling around my full sized laptop. Then I got an iPhone, and honestly my desire for a netbook went away. Smartphones today are so much more than phones and can do about just as much as a netbook. But smartphones are also limited to which applications they provide, and do not have the full functionality of a real computer. So again, it all depends what you are looking for.

In conclusion, I think netbooks are a good cross between a full laptop computer and a smartphone. If you really just want something simple and portable, then a netbook might be right for you. Just realize that it is not going to be as fast or as powerful as a regular laptop, and that a lot of the functions it is useful for can be done on a smartphone too. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a netbook as a secondary computer, but not as my main computer. And since I have gotten my iPhone, I have the internet and portability I wanted without a netbook.