A Primer on Netbooks

One piece of computer equipment that people have been talking about a lot lately are netbooks. These are ultra-portable laptop computers that combine the power of a laptop with ultra convenient portability. Many people have questions regarding what netbooks are and how they differ from laptops. Ross Kodner has posted an overview of netbooks that provides a short primer on what they are and what the differing options are. For example, Ross explains:

  • Netbooks ARE laptops! They can do everything any laptop can do BECAUSE THEY ARE LAPTOPS!
  • Netbooks are just a category, like ultralights, powerlights, gaming laptops, business laptops, desktop replacements, etc. etc.
  • Netbooks have to be viewed individually to look at the specs involved, just as with any new system being considered – while there are certain very common specs, others can vary such as storage situation, operating system, and screen size
  • A very common “standard” specification for many currently available netbooks, regardless of vendor is 10″ diagonal (actually either 10.1″ or 10.2″ if you want to be precise) display, 1 Gb RAM standard (usually upgrade to 2 Gb by replacing the single standard DIMM – often for around $25 from suppliers like crucial.com), Windows XP Home, 160 Gb drive (although 250 Gb drives are just starting to appear), Intel Atom N270 single-core processor, Intel graphics chipset, 6 cell battery good for anywhere from 3-10 hours depending on model/vendor, and about 2.5 to 3.5 lbs. Also no optical drives included (CD/DVD) so plan on $35-$85 for an external slimline USB CD or DVD burner (mine is a DVD burner I bought new on eBay last Fall for $55 shipped) so you can load disc-based software.

Check out Ross’s post for all of the details that he provides. If you are considering buying a netbook, Ross’s post is a great place to start your research.