By Joel Montgomery // 22 January 2010 // Related Categories: Product Information
A netbook is a much smaller and cheaper version of a laptop. Netbooks (short for "Internet Notebooks"), also known as "mini laptops" and "mini notebooks", are ideal for travelling and for home but what about for the office? Does it make sense to shrink your I.T. budget at the expensive of screen size? We look at whether netbooks are really worth your while.
Netbooks are ultra-cheap. You can pick up a decent netbook for under $600, less than half what you'd pay for a laptop. However if you plan to use a netbook regularly in the office then you may want an external (bigger) monitor & keyboard which will set you back another $200 - $300.
A typical laptop weighs between 2kg and 3kg and with a 15" screen they can be difficult to use when you're travelling. Netbooks, however, weigh less than 1kg and with screen sizes ranging from 7" to 10" they are ideal for use "on the go". Netbooks also have a lower power draw so their batteries can last 2 - 3 times longer. You can buy netbooks with built-in Bluetooth, WiFI or 3G cards which makes connecting to the Internet easy no matter where you are.
TIP: Look for netbooks with SSD (Solid State Drives). These are better than the traditional hard drive because there are no moving parts so they're less prone to damage if (and when) they get knocked about.
Netbooks are much slower than your typical laptop. They use low voltage processors usually with 1GB memory (RAM). You'll find that you can simultaneously run multiple Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook etc), accounting software and a web browser without an issue. However, when you start to run graphics applications, video or websites with lots of Flash (link) your Netbook may grind to a halt.
TIP: You'll get the best performance if you run Windows 7 (starter edition) or Linux. You may also need to schedule your anti-virus software to run the scheduled scan your hard drive after hours.
4. Screen size
The netbook's small screen (7" to 10") can give you eye strain if you're on it all day. Popular netbook models allow for a maximum screen resolution of 1024x600 but anything below this doesn't let you to view the whole width of a web page at any one time (so you have to scroll the page back and forth to read a full line of text, which can get very frustrating).
TIP: Make sure your netbook has a VGA connection so you can connect it to an external monitor.
5. Other considerations
Netbooks usually don't have CD or DVD drives. Small keyboards can also make it difficult to type so you may need an external keyboard when you're in the office.
The Bottom Line
If you need a second computer for the home or a travelling companion then the price, weight, mobility and battery life of a netbook make them hard to go by. If you're in the market for a Dell netbook then make sure you grab an extra saving from PowerBuy first. However, if you spend most of your working day in the office in front of your computer, then we suggest you spend extra to get a laptop, because even the slightest performance degradation can add up to hours of lost productivity for you and your staff.
Comments: 1 // Share:
I use one and would nevr gop back to a normal laptop. The screen is smaller meaning you can't handle as big a spred sheet but the nother isseus mentioned above have not shhown themselves to me, mine is a DEll and poutperfoms my previous Toshiba laptop by light years.