Laptop vs. Netbook

My current computer of choice for extended travel is an ASUS 10.2” netbook, which replaced the Acer Aspire One netbook that I used for a year traveling in Central America. In case you don’t know already, a netbook is basically a stripped down, much smaller version of a laptop (typically with an 8-10 inch screen and weighing a couple of pounds or 1 kilogram). Most current netbooks have no optical drive and use the Intel Atom processor (or AMD’s equivalent) which is not nearly as fast or powerful as the typical PC processors. This means you can’t multi-task in quite the same way you can with a full-powered laptop and some tasks might be slower. The smaller screen size also means that you can’t get quite the same experience with some applications or with games and video. And, current versions will not play high definition video at all (though regular videos and YouTube are no problem). Still, for me, the size and weight savings as well as extended battery life (newer models get more than 10 hours per charge) make a netbook my choice for extended travel. I have also found that if I moderate my performance expectations, I can run all the applications I would normally run. A final plus for netbooks is that they typically cost much less than a good laptop. I paid US $400 for my first Acer and $325 for my current ASUS. For a bit more information, you might check out Anil’s The Traveler’s Guide To Choosing The Right Laptop. And, for help choosing a brand and model of netbook, check out the Fantastic Netbooks Netbook Rankings.

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