We’ve had a discussion previously trying to nail down what makes a notebook a netbook with no resolution. We admit it doesn’t really make that much difference but in our coverage we try to standardize on the terminology we use so you can follow what we cover over time. The overall impression we get is that netbooks are thought of as the smaller notebooks, traditionally with displays 10 inches or less. Dell is trying to confuse everyone with the Mini 12, a notebook with a 12-inch display and netbook components. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if we call a given device a notebook or a netbook although we typically start calling them notebooks when the screen passes 10 inches in size.
Another term that we’ve started to see cropping up to describe some notebooks is the "ultra-portable" tag. This term is usually used for thin notebooks to indicate they are more easily carried around by mobile professionals than most notebooks. I have seen notebooks with 14-inch displays and larger referred to as ultra-portable and that’s when it starts to get confusing. Like the netbook question, what makes a notebook ultra-portable? I have a hard time rectifying that a notebook with a large 14-inch screen is an ultra-portable device, simply because the large display means the device is a lot bigger than smaller ones. Sure the notebook may be very thin but let’s face it, a thin notebook with a large screen won’t fit in the smaller gear bags so can it really be "ultra-portable"? I think not. Again we’re not trying to put our terminology forth as the only proper terms but we do try to be consistent within our own coverage.
We’re also interested in what you think about the ultra-portable tag. If you see a notebook with a large screen tagged as "ultra-portable" do you find that term confusing or does it make sense? What are the qualities that come to your mind if you see the term ultra-portable used to describe a notebook you haven’t seen in person? Does thinness alone qualify a device as an ultra-portable, or perhaps light weight? You tell us what you think and we’ll keep it in mind in future coverage.