Poll: netbook or notebook?


I grab a notebook and head out the door to work quite a bit and it seems that each time I do so I have to give pause and decide what gear to take with me.  On the one hand I usually have a netbook to take, small and light and powerful enough to handle most of what I need to do.  On the other hand I can grab a full notebook like the MacBook and take it instead.  In my case the decision is not straightforward as the MacBook is not that heavy (5 lbs.) and has a 13-inch screen that keeps the size down.  Netbooks usually have a 10-inch screen and weigh in about 2 lbs so they definitely are easier to carry with me.

The netbook decision gets hard to go along with when a 6-cell battery becomes part of the mix as that usually pushes the weight of the device up to the 3 lb. mark.  It becomes harder to decide as the size/ weight gap narrows.  I figure that a few of you have the same decision to make before you head out the door so here’s a poll to see what the collective thinks.  Do you usually grab the netbook or the notebook if you have the choice?



I go with a netbook if I’m going to be moving around pretty much constantly, AND only need to do writing/note-taking/email/web.

But if I’m doing “heads-down” technical work – getting in the zone and grinding for a few hours straight – I really want a bigger window into my work. I need a powerful system that can run a bunch of specialized tools, maybe a VM or two in addition to the host OS, and let me view a bunch of information all together.

That spells bigger screen, higher resolution (at least 1440×900-ish), and a powerful CPU (Intel Core 2 Duo at least).

So – my perfect scenarios for netbook use are:
1. At a conference. You’re on your feet all day, moving from room to room, and taking notes, IM’ing or emailing the whole time. A machine with long battery life, super fast sleep/wake, and great mobile connectivity is perfect here.

2. A short business trip that is mostly f2f meetings and staying on top of email/IM/web communications.

3. Just running out to the coffeeshop, library or whatever for a change of scene.

4. A machine to take home to check email in the morning if I’m not rushing into the office. (This last scenario is pretty much competely unneeded now that I’ve got decent webmail from work.)

I’ve been using proto-netbook-like PC’s back since the PowerBook 100 got closed out at Costco for $900. I’m super excited that this looks like the year they breaks through into the mainstream.

Imagine, the Newton finally made it (iPhone) and now netbooks too. What’s next?

I hope the answer will be Sandbenders: http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=80

Chris K

What notebook? I’ve found that the biggest distinction between a netbook and a notebook are the following:

– Serial ports
– Optical drive
– Modem

More and more laptops are dropping all but the optical drive, and that’s the one thing that I need the least. (I have to configure network equipment without initial IP addresses fairly often.)

I’ve flown with just the netbook (admittedly, it’s less of a netbook with a fast 64GB SSD and 2GB of RAM,) and been just fine. If I need more power, that’s what a remote session into a server is for in my case, but I don’t need a whole lot when I’m on the road unless I’m *on* the network to begin with.

John in Norway

I agree about the OQO. Why on earth carry some huge monstrosity around if you don’t need to? As my friend’s wife often says to him: It’s not the size that matters, it’s how you make use of it.

And before you start bleating about the cost, I sold one of my kids to be able to buy mine. Now that OQO have announced an upgraded model, my second youngest has suddenly become very obedient and helpful.

Dave P

Neither. I grab my one pound OQO. If I,m carrying other stuff, I put it in a lightweight bag designed for the Macbook Air along with a spare battery. If I’m just going out for a bit, I put it in my pocket.

Heck, to get up to the weight of a two pound netbook, I’d have to carry about three or four extra batteries (which would give me about 12 hours of runtime).


I have full range of mobility products: Thinkpad X60 (4 pounds), eee PC netbook (2 pounds) and Nokia N810 (1/2 pound) and use them all. X60 used to go everywhere but now stays at home unless I need it for serious work at the office. I do lots of flying and only do carry-on, and the netbook is enough easier to pack and enough cheaper that I don’t have to worry about damaging it to make it preferred. N810 is used mainly for Skype calls (good speakers & mike) and the odd trip when space is at a premium. I thought I would use N810 more, but it is just too small for the kind of tasks I need to do.


@James: I wouldn’t mind lending it to you for a day next time you come to San Francisco, but I’ll be taking your MacBook as collateral :D

By the way, if you *do* end up taking me up on my offer, thought I’d give you fair warning: this thing is fairly roomy for me since I lived with a HP Jornada 720 for a year, but most keys are smaller than a dime, and the WXGA screen packed into 5.6″ have felled lesser men.


I bought an EEE 901 last summer primarily for its small size to make trips easier. It does everything I need it to do when away from home and I don’t have to worry about a separate bag just for it, trying to cram it into tight luggage compartments, etc., that I experienced even with my 12″ iBook (which I haven’t used since). I also find myself using the 901 around the house, sometimes more than I use my desktop system, as its light weight and quietness makes it an easy companion in my recliner or bed where I can check email or browse the web. Is it perfect? No, the keyboard is cramped (but I wouldn’t trade it for even a 10″ netbook), some things are noticably slow, the screen vertical resolution is bothersome at times, and a few other nitnoids.

I can see how other people’s situations are different. I don’t need to edit long office-type files that really beg for a large screen while on the road. Nor do I do any heavy multitasking, CPU-intensive work, etc. So, there is no right answer, as different people have different needs and many have different needs depending on the current situation.

Will I stay with a netbook size system as my only portable that I consider taking outside the house? Probably yes for the foreseeable future. I’m hoping that the T91 (but not interested in the T101) is as good as it sounds as I’d like to transition to more ebook reading, which I’ve tried but don’t like on the 901.

Jose R. Ortiz

i still refuse to give into the netbook craze but it’s getting harder and harder to fight temptation with so many cool, and more importantly cheap, devices coming out left and right. i really can’t justify it in my case though since i have a vaio tt with a 128 gb ssd and a lenovo u110 that i passed on to my girlfriend so it’s notebook for me right now; but i have a feeling that my tax return will partially be spent on either an hp mini-note or a vaio p

Hiram Kampokalas

I would choose the netbook, right now i dont have one (i been waiting for the new HP 2140 with the high res display). Right now im still working with an old laptop (Averatec 1010, yes a Celeron M). I havent upgrade my lap, because i havent found something cheap with a nice screen. Hopefully HP will release the 2140 hires soon. Yes its an old machine, slow but gets the work done (win xp, vs 2005, wamp).


@seamonkey420 – Yup. We have an MSI wind in the house (not mine), and I’ve used the hp mini quite a bit (my friend’s). I don’t like it. It’s not the cramped keyboard of the eee 701 or the 7″ screen that turns me off. Even with the newer better netbooks, there is still a compromise in terms of comfort and speed for me. Like AdamO said, it’s not much lighter than an ultraportable laptop and the extended battery isn’t any cheaper either. So for those of us who have ultraportables already, it doesn’t seem like such a great choice to me.


That’s an easy decision when I have a 17″ 5-speaker SLI quad-core monster and a feather-weight 8.9″ mini note to choose from.

My pick simply depends on where I’m going, how long I’ll be gone, and what I’ll be using it for.

Obviously, if it’s blogging or photos, I’ll whip the mini note under my arm and keep both hands free. But for my heavy work, video encoding, gaming, presentations and when it’s time to impress the suits, I cannot go wrong with the 5-speaker booming sound, SSD speed and graphics horsepower of my 17″.

This question sounded somewhat silly in my mind because the answer depends really on what you’ll be using it for, not simply a choice between one or the other. For my needs both devices work, therefore I find taking a poll of no real use. This is kind of like asking if we prefer a Hummer H2 vs. a sports convertible – each offers performance and benefits the other cannot match.


for me.

i have specific situations for my netbook and laptops:

my msi wind is the only thing i take when i hit up a coffee shop or plan to do some blogging. i also prefer to take it w/me when traveling too

my hp dv6700t only comes with me when i need to do video editing on the go or photo editing in large amounts or i want to use bluray content or output to a highdef tv via hdmi or want to game.


have you used any other netbooks beside the asus eeepc 701 (remember that this is the first netbook)?

but like everything; different strokes for different folks. i personally just like hack/mod my wind more than anything.


I don’t have a Netbook, but I wanted to give my two cents.

My choice every time would be a Notebook. I may take the Notebook with me to type in Word or check an email, but there is always the likely chance of me needing or wanting to use a program more suited for a powerful device. I find myself, quite often, with Adobe programs like Photoshop or Flash running, often together, with messenger, Firefox, and WMP. There is just no way a Netbook would accomplish all this.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I want a Netbook, but on the average day, I would get better use from a powerful Notebook.


I wish I could love netbooks for work, I really do. Not saying they aren’t practical for a lot of people, just me.

I travel 3-4 days a week interstate. I love the concept of the netbook and have previously purchased 2 x eee’s and an Acer but as I work with VM in hotel rooms etc a lot of the time I keep going back to my 15″ MBP; it’s got the power, comfortable screen size/res etc etc that I like…..I haven’t taken a netbook with me in months.

I’ve even tried to go ultra portable a HP ipaq 210 with USB Host Mouse and BT keyboard, connecting remotely into my VM sessions. I love PDA’s, but after a while I have found that for me netbooks and dedicated PDA’s are great toy’s and eBook readers but aren’t really practical for my work.

So vote a notebook and BBerry Bold for me ;o)



I have a reasonably portable NOTEbook (thinkpad x200) and a NETbook (eee pc 701). I suppose with the newer bigger screens and bigger batteries, the netbooks are quite a thrill. But tack on the battery and it weights roughly 3 pounds anyway. The slightly heavier notebook doesn’t bother me, and is better at everything. I don’t really carry the eee pc. I thought I would, which is why I bought it. But with a good laptop like your new macbook, there’s no real need. You have a spare battery too I read. What’s the point of spending more money on half a computer?

The only good netbook with a bigger battery is the hp mini. The lenovo s10 requires that you are a student or something strange. I don’t like the eee pc keyboard. All the netbook batteries cost almost as much as a laptop battery!!! Take the real computer out, no compromises.

UNLESS – you are on vacation and don’t need the laptop. I had to lug a 9 cell battery with my old laptop, and the charger, when all I used it for was checking email. Then I would use a netbook. When traveling, pack efficiently right?


I’d like to see the following poll: What’s the main draw of the netbook? Is it the form factor? price?

If a company could make a solid notebook at netbook prices, would you opt for the larger one?

Just wondering…

I opt for the netbook, but I mostly use it around the house for surfing and NetFlix viewing.


A notebook….. small one though, quite the same as a netbook now, my Fujitsu FMV T70U…

Gordon Cahill

I’m leaving my Netbook at home if all I need is a computer. But I have a “smallish” TX2000 with a 12 inch screen. If I have to carry a lot of other stuff, like 20kg of cameras, then I’ll take the Netbook.



It’s times like this that I’m glad that my Fujitsu U2010 weighs around 1.5 pounds – with the 6 hour extended battery.

James Kendrick

Xavier, see, to me taking two notebooks defeats the advantage the netbook gives you. If I need the “heavy lifting” then I’d just bring the bigger and more powerful notebook. I don’t see myself ever taking two laptops with me.


I usually grab my netbook (1000HA) when I’m out and about – not only is it smaller lighter (10″ & 3.2lb rather than 15″ & 6.5lb) but it allows me to take a small REI backpack (just big enough for my portfolio, netbook, paperback & ipod) instead of my full laptop back.

When I need something on the big lappy, I access it via logmein – best of both worlds.


Where the heck are you people with Netbooks hanging out at, because I just spent the whole day yesterday in Orlando, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh airports coming home from a business trip, and while I constantly saw people with laptops sitting around I didn’t see a single netbook. In fact, the smallest things I saw was a Dell Latitude D420 and my own HP Pavilion tx2525 that I recently picked up from Woot.com.

Maybe I’m just getting old and my vision is betraying me, because netbooks must be a lot smaller and inconspicuous than I expected, lol. Or maybe I just don’t spend enough time in coffee shops, because I only saw two Macbooks too.


I usually take both on work days. Right now I’m blogging from Peet’s Coffee & Tea. I was using the Mini 2140 while I was eating my snack and drinking my coffee. Once I the table was clear I pulled out my MacBook Pro to do some heavy lifting.

When I’m not working- just out and about I can count on the netbook I keep in my car.

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