Laptop, Netbook, or Tablet?

Laptop, Netbook, or Tablet?  There are a couple of reasons you might be asking yourself this question.  Perhaps you are looking for a new portable computer and are unsure which route to go.  Maybe you don’t really understand the difference at all and wish you did.  Have no fear!  The following is a simple breakdown of the key differences between these devices.  


In many cases, laptops are the most powerful of the three.  They can range in price from $250 to well-over $1,500.  This vast price differential is based on the laptop’s capabilities.  Generally the higher-end the laptop, the faster its processor will be.  A processor is like the brain of the computer, and it determines how quickly it performs tasks you require of it.  There are a lot of good processors available these days, but ones by Pentium remain a good bet.  You are also paying for the memory in a laptop, which helps determine how well your device can multitask.
A third group of factors that determine the price you pay for a new laptop is the non-essentials.  Things like video cards, soundcards, weight, screen size, and speakers can drive up the price of a device quite quickly.  This is especially true of weight.  In general, the more lightweight and powerful a laptop is, the more expensive it will be.  If you want an example of a good high-end computer, check out the Dell XPS15 Series.  Be warned though, you shouldn’t be buying a new computer without a deal.  Search the web for coupon sites to see if you can find Dell coupon codes or discounts.  Chances are you can.


Netbooks are similar to laptops but they are designed to perform fewer complex functions.  Most Netbooks are made primarily for surfing the Internet and sending emails, but they are not any good at running computer games or storing lots of files.  Also, they may not have the capabilities to run programs like Microsoft Office, so you definitely want to check before making a purchase.
The major advantage of Netbooks is that they are portable, light, and inexpensive.  Generally, you should be able to get a new Netbook for anywhere from $250 to $500.  Almost all of the major companies have Netbooks on the market these days, but my advice is to buy one from a name that you recognize and trust.


If you’re like most people, you probably have that one friend who has the newest and coolest tablet and swears by it.  Are you missing out on the technology revolution by not having one yourself?  Probably not.  Still, tablet devices are pretty cool and they can be perfect for limited uses.
Most tablets are essentially Internet devices without a built in keyboard.  The things that make them different from laptops and Netbooks are that they’re ultra lightweight and portable, usually have high quality touch screens, and contain many unique applications (or apps).  A tablet is not going to substitute for a laptop if you need to do a lot of typing and advanced functions, but it can certainly compete with Netbooks if your primary goal is web browsing.  One drawback to tablets is that they tend to be more expensive than Netbooks, and for a new one you are looking at a price range of $300-$800.

Now you Know!

That’s pretty much all you need to know.  Whether you’re in the market for a new device or just wanted more information, this breakdown should be helpful.  Happy computing!

Stefan Georgi has been an avid computer user and enthusiast for over twenty years.