Netbooks are great. They’re tiny, ultra-portable and have massive battery life, yet still run versions of Windows to keep you working on the move. So why would you want a full size notebook? Here’s our handy guide to whether you should be rocking a nice little netbook or need to opt for something with a little bit more power…
Notebook PCs are full-size laptops with screens ranging from 29.5cm (11.6”) up to around 46.7cm (18.4”) or more. They feature DVD drives and many offer the option of a Blu-ray drive too. Notebook PCs have the option of large traditional hard drives or flash storage, and pack in more powerful graphics hardware to boot.
Netbooks usually have screens of 25.7cm (10”) wide, and very compact shells. The selling point for netbooks is their portability, and many come with a built-in 3G too, letting you hop online simply by inserting a mobile SIM card. They have their downsides though. Smaller designs mean less roomy keyboards, which will be an issue if you need to type all day long.
People on the move
Because of their small form factor, netbooks like our NB300/305, are a good option for those who need a computer with them at all times. They’ll slip easily into an ordinary bag and are lightweight so you won’t be left with the telltale backache of the inveterate laptop lugger. The NB300/305 offers up to 11 hours battery life for the real road warriors. The Satellite T130 and T110 offer similar hours of juice so it depends on what your other requirements are.
Gamers and entertainment junkies
Netbooks often do without a built-in DVD drive and even fewer offer Blu-ray drives. Add that to their tiny screens, and you’ve got a machine that’s ill suited to mobile movies.
Generally, netbooks use Intel’s Atom chips, with integrated graphics rather than a dedicated graphics processor. That means they’ll struggle with games too. The superior power of notebooks is needed to provide the sound and graphical quality movie lovers and hardcore gamers expect, with machines like our Satellite P500 packing in a power processor, plenty of hard drive space and a DVD upscaling Blu-ray drive.
If you spend more time browsing the web and answering email than playing games or watching movies a fully fledged, well specced notebook is a little bit unnecessary. A good netbook will give you enough power and storage space to do everything you need at a more affordable price.
Writers and creative types
If you spend your days constantly typing, dealing with images or video, a netbook is not the route to take. The smaller screen and keyboard combination is likely to leave you with aching hands and eye strain after a full working day. Opt for a notebook, like the Satellite L555 with its large 43.9cm (17.3”) display and full size keyboard, which will be much more suited to drafting your latest masterpiece, or powering through Photoshop to remove tiny imperfections in images.