How to buy a mini-laptop

Check out these useful tips before buying your first netbook

Mini-laptops are among the hottest new products this year and with the back-to-school sales season upon us, I created a list of items to help you choose the right one.

The devices, which are becoming popularly known as netbooks, or my favorite term, "laptots," have caught on because they offer people a mobile, easy way to wirelessly access the Web.

They come with 7-inch to 10-inch LCD screens and are about half to two-thirds the size of a mainstream laptop. They weigh around 1 kilogram each, carry batteries that last up to 8 hours and generally cost between US$199 and $699.

I've written several netbook reviews and after some consideration, offer these tips for your first netbook.

1. Know what you want to use it for and how much you're willing to spend

This is a cliche in reviews and doesn't tell you much but it's actually very important. What do you want this for? Do you want a lightweight device for easy Internet access? Or are you really looking for a full-featured laptop computer? Don't buy a netbook if you're really looking for a laptop, it would be a mistake.

To ensure longer battery life, some key components on a netbook, such as the microprocessor, are far less powerful than common laptops. That's why they're good for surfing the Internet, doing homework on a word processing program, working on spreadsheets or for presentations and other Office-like work.

Anyone looking for a gaming laptop or one for video-editing or other multimedia work should shop for true laptops, not netbooks.

2. Buy a netbook with an 8.9-inch screen or larger

I tried out an Eee PC with a 7-inch screen and the annoying part is not being able to see an entire Web page because the screen is too small.

That's less of a problem on the slightly larger-sized screens and in the 8.9-inch screen size, the weight and size of the netbook is nearly the same as devices with 7-inch screens.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?