6 Factors to Consider When Comparing PC Laptops and Netbooks

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6 Factors to Consider When Comparing PC Laptops and Netbooks

Shopping for a new computer can be a harrowing process. Not only can a computer be a significant investment, but there are so many types to choose from that it can be overwhelming. This is one reason that it is so important to invest the time into a bit of research before jumping into a decision on this type of purchase. Even when someone has decided that a portable computer is the right choice for them, there is still the decision of whether to choose a laptop or a netbook computer for the best performance.

There are many different factors to consider when deciding between these two types of computers, including capacity, size, performance, battery life, and price. Depending on a person's individual needs, these factors may weigh differently on his or her decision. While different people require different capabilities from their computers, using this information to help determine whether a PC, laptop or netbook is most appropriate for any individual situation is a good place to start. Both types of computer are available at electronics retailers, as well as online from eBay. Windows 10 offers a great selection of laptops and netbooks for you to choose from.

1. Price

Purchasing any type of computer can be a major investment, so it is certainly a good idea to keep price in mind when shopping for a portable computer. For this particular factor, netbooks tend to have the advantage. Because netbooks do not tend to come with as many features as laptops, they are generally lower in price. Of course, if the missing features are considered essentials by the computer's main user, the lower price may not make a difference.

Still, anyone who shops around is likely to find that there are some laptops that are cheaper than some netbooks, depending on the brand, features, and condition of the computer. Establishing a budget before shopping in earnest, as well as comparing different retailers, is a good way to ensure the best deal on either type of computer.

If your budget is tight, consider buying a second hand or refurbished laptop. You can normally find lots of refurbished technology still in great condition and for a fraction of the price. 

2. Size

The size of a portable computer is also a very important factor when choosing between a laptop and netbook. Netbooks generally have very small screens and keyboards, which can make them more difficult to use for some people. Someone with poor eyesight, for instance, may not want to purchase a netbook with a very small screen. Netbook screens tend to measure less than 12 inches, with 7-inch netbooks being common. While this is an acceptable size for many people, it may not be the best choice for someone who needs to look at and type on the computer all day, since it can lead to discomfort. It may also not be the best choice for anyone who intends to do a lot of graphics-heavy work since the small screen can make that difficult.


In addition to the size of the screen and the keyboard, it is a good idea to consider the weight of the computer as well. Netbooks are specifically designed to be portable and to travel well. This means they do not weigh as much as most laptops. For someone who wants to be able to take his or her computer on trips so that they can have easy access to the Internet, but do not want the burden of carrying the extra weight associated with a laptop, a netbook could be a very good choice. Most descriptions of laptops and netbooks include a weight measurement for easy comparison. If a computer is going to be carried a great deal, even a few grams in weight can make a difference.

3. Hard Drive Capacity

The hard drive capacity of any computer represents the number of documents, programs, videos, and other media that can be stored locally on the computer. Netbooks are not designed to store a lot of information. Rather, they are intended to utilise information that is stored either in the cloud or on an external hard drive. Of course, this means that someone who wants to store the majority of their data locally on their computer should likely choose a laptop that has a large capacity of storage.

4. Media Capability

More than just a means to connect to the Internet or work on documents, many people today use their computers as a way to view and experience a wide variety of media. This often includes playing music and watching DVDs and videos. For someone who prefers his or her media to come in hard copy, like a CD or a Blu-ray, a laptop may be necessary. This is because in order to be more compact and portable, many netbook computers do not have an optical media drive that can play CDs, DVDs, or Blu-Ray discs. For those users who prefer to watch streaming video over the Internet, a netbook can be a perfect solution, especially for travel.

5. Performance

The performance of any computer is a very important factor to consider. Performance refers to how fast the computer is able to translate user input to an action. It can mean anything from how fast the computer boots up to how quickly it can open a program. As has already been alluded to, netbooks are not designed for their performance, especially when it comes to large programs or complex graphics projects. For very involved tasks like this, a laptop computer is a better choice. Netbook computers may indeed boot up very quickly, but are not meant to run unwieldy programs like Adobe Photoshop. Netbook computers are also not suited to computer gaming. Although many gamers prefer desktop computer setups, some high performance laptops can be configured for satisfying game play as well.


In order to get a good idea of the performance capability of a netbook or laptop computer, be sure to look at the processor. The following table outlines some of the most common processors for portable computers as well as what kind of performance outputs they offer.






Netbooks without high demand for processing speed

Core i3


Mid-range laptops without heavy demands

Core i7


High performance laptops designed for gaming and other heavy use



Netbooks without high demand for processing speed



Mid-range laptops without heavy demands

The table makes it clear that the majority of processors in both laptops and netbooks are manufactured by Intel. These processors are generally reliable, though can come at a higher price than processors from other companies like AMD.

6. Battery Life

Battery life is another important consideration when it comes to choosing a portable computer. Even if a computer is largely used at a desk, when travelling, the battery becomes essential. It may come as no surprise that since netbooks are generally less powerful, they also require less power to run. This translates directly to a longer netbook battery life. Most netbook or laptop specification pages offer an estimated battery life measurement, but keep in mind that over time, batteries degrade and are not able to hold a charge for as long as they once did. For prolonged use away from a power source, a netbook offers better performance. Someone who is not travelling very much or who is usually near an outlet may find that a laptop battery, although it has a shorter life, is the perfect choice.

How to Buy a PC Laptop or Netbook on eBay

Once you have determined whether a laptop or netbook computer is best suited to your lifestyle, you can begin your search on eBay. Luckily, there are many listings for both laptops and netbooks on the site, so the perfect one for your needs should be easy to find. Choose some relevant search terms, like "Dell laptop" or " Samsung netbook" and enter them into the search box. This box is available on every page of the site. Note that it is not necessary to include a brand in your search. Be as general as you like, and then use the eBay filters to narrow down your results.

Before purchasing the computer of your choice, be sure that any questions you have are answered. Many eBay listing offer very thorough descriptions of the items they are selling, but others may not be as specific. If questions remain after reading the item listing, simply send a message to the seller using the eBay interface. When answers have been provided, complete your transaction with confidence.


As technology advances, particularly when it comes to computers, it tends to get smaller. Whereas a basic computer once took up an entire room, today many people carry the same computing capability in their pocket or purse. It is these types of technological advancements that have allowed computer manufacturers to create such a wide array of portable computers, including laptops and netbooks.

People who want to be able to access the Internet easily, and do not need to store many files locally, can have their needs easily met by a netbook computer. Other people who need much more robust processing capability as well as significant hard drive space are likely to be much happier with a laptop computer. As long as a buyer takes the time to assess his or her needs before making this type of purchase, there is no reason that anyone should be unable to find the perfect portable computer with the features they need at a price that works for them.

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