Are Netbooks for You?

Netbooks have become increasingly popular since their introduction into niche computer markets in 2007. Read on to learn more about what netbooks are and whether they might be a good addition to your tech wish-list.

chromebookNetbooks are essentially the smallest laptop computers that aren’t just tablets. A far cry from the Goliath computers that predated transistors, netbooks forego some more common features on full-size laptops for the the ability to be ultra-portable and extremely affordable.

Right now, for example, Chromebooks can be bought online or in stores for under $150. The tiny computers use the Google Chrome operating system and are made almost exclusively for internet use; they have little storage and would necessitate outside memory devices to play movies or provide access to large music libraries.

That’s a compromise a lot of people are willing to make; it’s absolutely essential for any professional to access a computer to be a real player in today’s economy, but not everyone really wants or needs a desktop computer or laptop for their business or personal needs.

Netbooks commonly host displays that are around 10 inches across diagonally, with a resolution that generally doesn’t exceed 1,024 X 600. Keyboards are also typically 70-90 percent the size of conventional laptop keyboards.

Netbooks also generally have less powerful internal components; after all, they’re meant mainly for people who need to write emails, draft projects on Google drive, etc. That said, small and powerful computers are available on the internet; they just lose out on the affordability factor.

Although the storage capabilities on netbooks is typically less than that of a conventional PC, memory abilities vary widely across different netbooks. Some are equipped with hard drives that can hold over one hundred GB, while others have less than fifty. Again, the closer to standard laptop capability a netbook gets, the more it sacrifices in affordability.

You’re unlikely to find optical drives of CDs and DVDs due to the bulky nature of these drives and the space-efficient intentions of netbook manufacturers.

netbook macThat said, there are certain capabilities and features that almost all netbooks will share with conventional laptops. For example, they’re likely to have USB ports, microphone and headphone jacks, one to two GB of RAM, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. VGA outputs can also generally be found on a netbook. It’s also worth noting that the computer’s small frame and low processing potential make for an extremely long battery life; often netbook users can get way over 10 hours of use off a single charge. Netbooks are also extremely lightweight; you’d be hard pressed to find one that weighs over three pounds, and most barely weigh over one.

Netbooks were introduced in 2007 and manufactured primarily by Dell. At the time, Apple wasn’t interested in getting a slice of that market pie, Microsoft wasn’t letting netbook manufacturers install Windows XP Professional Edition on the devices because it didn’t expect a substantial cut of the then slim profit margins, and Google was ready to put all its bets on manufacturing a profitable netbook with Chrome OS. Nowadays Chromebooks are all the rage, and Google’s definitely made another place for itself in the mobile device manufacturing game.


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