Portables have been outselling desktop computers for years. They take up less room, are relatively inexpensive and even an entry level model will easily handle basic web browsing, video, music and word processing functions we require on a day to day basis. What is the difference between a laptop, netbook and tablet? Which one should you get? Glad you asked, keep reading.
What is a netbook?
I will start with netbooks, since they're very popular right now.
A netbook is a very small, very light laptop computer. While a typical laptop has a 13 to 17-inch display, netbook's are between 7 and 10 inches and weigh very little. Netbooks became popular a few years ago with the launch of the 7-inch Asus EeePC.
The compact dimensions mean that netbooks barely make a dent in a bag and the battery life can be outstanding, with many models running for eight hours or more off a full charge. This is the main draw of a netbook you have a computer running a proper operating system that can last the entire day.
The small size is also a downside, though. The keyboard and the display are cramped so it can be uncomfortable to use for long periods. They also run slower than standard size laptops, ruling out any games with a lot of graphics, demanding applications and sometimes high definition video. And don't forget that netbooks do not generally include DVD drives.
Compact size and light weight
Long battery life
What are laptops?
They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from ultra-thin 12 and 13 inch models up to gaudy 20 inchers.
Compared to a netbook a laptop is much more comfortable to use for long periods thanks to the larger screen and keyboard and you can do a lot more with them. The components used are often comparable to desktop PC hardware, if not identical on bigger laptops, so gaming, video editing and other power-hungry tasks are easily possible.
You may hear the term desktop replacement being thrown around when talking about larger laptops. That's an easier way of saying that a laptop is too heavy to be carried around and the battery will last about half an hour. Assuming you don't need anything portable, desktop replacements are worth considering as an alternative to desktops since they don't need as much room but can still be just as powerful. Plus you can pack them away in a desk drawer.
Then you have ultra-portable laptops, which are a hybrid of netbooks and laptops and where the line between the two gets a little fuzzy. Ultra-portables may be like the Apple MacBook Air, incredibly slim but missing key features like an optical drive.
For most people a 15 inch laptop will provide a good middle ground. They are cheap and small enough to cart in a book bag or laptop case yet still have enough features to replace the desktop PC at home. Just remember that the battery may only last a few hours, so have a spare on hand or remember to bring your power cable.
Huge variety of sizes and features
Can replace a desktop PC
Battery life shorter than a netbook
Can be large and heavy
Often too hot to be used on your lap
Tablet PCs are laptops based on a touchscreen interface which are designed to be more practical than laptops in some situations, such as e-book reading or surfing the internet in bed. Go back a year and we wouldn't even be mentioning them, because until recently they were a niche product, but then Apple came along and did its usual thing of revolutionizing the market and suddenly tablets are in the news again.
You can buy a tablet PC running Windows now, but what you'll get is an expensive convertible laptop with a screen that swivels down over the keyboard. It's not going to work like the Apple iPad and will cost a lot more, too. The iPad is the first tablet with mass market appeal.
The iPad is an Apple netbook without a keyboard and we can expect the same slate form factor from competing manufacturers. So if you primarily want a netbook or laptop for mobile web surfing and entertainment, and aren't too bothered about computing power or getting a lot of work done, this is the way to go. The pros and cons of the iPad have been endlessly debated for many months now so we won't go into them here. If you're not sure the iPad is for you we'd recommend giving it a few months to see what else shows up because by the end of the year there'll be a flood of similar products on the market and you'll have a variety of choices.
Great for entertainment and web browsing
Easy to use anywhere
Not usually very powerful
Convertible tablets are pricey and awkward
Touchscreens not ideal for typing
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If you are interested in purchasing one, or if you need more advice to find the perfect one, contact Kotori Technologies today.