The release of the netbook has truly brought mobile computing to the masses. Before netbooks, laptops were big, heavy and expensive. You can get the sleek looking notebook computers but you also pay a premium for their svelte looks. The netbook is the perfect solution for working and studying on the go. It is is small enough to be discreet and light, yet large enough that you can actually work on it (compared to working on a PDA or a mobile phone). Of course, the price point of netbooks are just unbeatable. This is truly the era of the netbook.
But buying a netbook presents a whole new set of complications for the average computer buyer mainly because netbooks present a new ‘form factor’, this means that aside from the usual questions you’ll likely ask when buying laptop, you’d also have to consider a couple more factors that are unique to just the netbook category.
1. What will you be using your netbook for?
Before you buy your netbook , you have to ask yourself ‘what will be my primary use for a netbook?’ Remember that even though there are new netbooks in the market that are quite powerful and can do resource-intensive tasks easily AND multi-task at the same time, it IS still a netbook. If just want to web surf, email, and do some word processing and spreadsheets then a netbook can more than handle these tasks. For more intensive tasks like video editing and to a certain extent photoshop editing (though there are some netbooks that can handle photoshop adequately) then you should probably look for a more powerful laptop.
2. What netbook screen size is comfortable for you?
Netbooks come in a wide range of sizes, and with it also an equal large selection of screen sizes – from the minuscule 7 inches to 12-inch displays that already rival the screen size of some notebook computers. Try to determine which screen size is big enough for your needs and is comfortable to view for long periods of time. Remember that the price of a netbook will increase exponentially the bigger the screen gets.
3. What netbook specifications will you need?
Netbooks are so diversified in terms of specifications. It’s not unheard for a particular model to sport different processor types and speeds, RAM and storage sizes. Make a list of specifications that you feel you’ll need – the processor speed, RAM, whether you want a solid state drive or a regular hard drive, and the size of the hard drive. You can easily narrow down your choices if you make a list and also make a better informed decision when it comes to buying the actual netbook.
4. What is the netbook’s Operating System
There are usually three popular ‘configurations’ for a netbook when it comes to operating systems. You can get a netbook that comes bundled with a version of Windows (Windows 7 being the new OS from Microsoft). You can also get a netbook that is preinstalled with a flavor of Linux. Finally, you can get a unit that doesn’t come with any operating system, which means you’ll have to buy it separately or use an OS you already have. This is a significant choice because it can affect the total cash you have to shell out depending on which choice you make.
Based on market prices, you pay the most premium with a Windows-bundled netbook. A Linux netbook costs significantly less, and of course, a netbook without a bundled OS is the cheapest. If you’re tech savvy enough, it wouldn’t hurt to get a Linux system. Nothing advertises GEEK more than a Linux notebook. But if you don’t want to explore uncharted waters then the familiarity of Windows is for you despite the higher price. If you have a copy of Windows of Linux that you want to use though, then a system with no bundled OS is the best solution.