A netbook is a small, lightweight, inexpensive and highly portable laptop but it has the processing power less than a full-sized laptop. However, it is suitable enough for general computing, word processing, running a web browser and connecting to the Internet wirelessly.
Netbooks are small in size, usually with a 10-inch screen, but some displays can be slightly smaller or larger (7-12 inches) Their weight is about 2 to 3 pounds and cost less than $500 these days. Average price is around $300. Most netbooks come with Intel Atom processor N Series, at least 1 GB of RAM and 250GB or 320GB hard drive.
With the ever growing demand for the netbook many companies are releasing more and more netbook models into the world market. So, it is not easy to make a right choice of buying a good netbook for buyers.
For anyone looking to buy a netbook, here are some important netbook features to consider:
Screen size and display resolution
With netbooks now coming in sizes as small as 7 inches and as large as 12 inches, the decision on size is really a matter of preference. Still, even the keenest eyes often have difficulty with the smaller text and relatively poor resolution of the smallest netbooks. That is, after all, one of the primary reasons behind the manufacturing decision to increase the size of many of the newest models.
In order to decide which screen size is good enough for you, you should try to run your favorite programs and view your favorite websites on a variety of different sized screens. Most people today tend to get something around the 10 inches range since that size seems to combine the best features of both the smaller and larger versions of the netbook.
A 10-inch netbook usually has resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels (some do 1366 x 768 pixels) and weighs less than 3 pounds whereas 11- and 12- inch netbooks usually have resolutions of 1280 x 800 and 1366 x 768 respectively and slightly heavier
The following screen sizes and display resolutions are often seen with netbook:
|7 inch||800 x 480|
|8.9 inch||1024 x 600|
|1024 x 600
1280 x 720
1366 x 768
|11.6 inch||1366 x 768|
|12.1 inch||1280 x 800
1366 x 768
Operating system (OS)
OS is the most important program of your netbook. It is considered as the backbone of a computer, managing both software and hardware resources.
Netbooks are available for Windows and Linux operating systems. As we know, most people are more familiar with Windows layout since they have been using it for several years on their home and office computers. Linux offers more basic, faster and free operating system such as Meego, Jolicloud, Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Netbooks with Linux can run great for web surfing, email, and word processing via Open Office but may be incompatible with some programs.
New 10-inch netbooks have moved to Windows 7 Starter since 2009, which is a lighter version of Windows 7 to help with load time and overall performance while 11- and 12- inch netbook usually have Windows 7 Home Premium preinstalled which have more features, including the ability to multitask. You can still find netbooks running on Windows XP or Vista or Linux on some older models.
CPU is the brain of your netbook, this processor has a huge impact on what applications you can run, how smoothly they run, and how many you can run at the same time. If you want the best performance and longer battery life, you should go for the latest technologies because they are more efficient.
Netbooks on the market today are running either an Intel or AMD processor. Intel Atom is the most common processor available for the netbooks which is designed specifically for portable computers and aim to give you more computer power while increasing battery life.
We can notice that all processors on netbooks are slower than the standard processor on laptops. This means that a netbook will be slower when running heavier programs. So, you should not use a netbook for heavy processing, such as photo/video editing and gaming. However, netbooks are perfect for light processes like web surfing, email, and word processing.
11- and 12- inch Netbooks usually ship with a dual-core processor while 10-inch Netbooks have been powered by single-core processors since 2008. Since late 2010 newer generation of 10-inch is moving to dual-core processors. Next generation 10-inch netbooks on the market are shiped with dual-core CPUs such as Intel Atom N550 and N570 which are becoming increasingly common.
The following processor for netbooks 2012:
Intel Atom processors
Intel Atom N455 (1.66GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 667MHz FSB) – single core processor
Intel Atom N570 (1.66GHz, 1MB L2 cache) – dual core processor for 10-inch netbooks
Intel Atom D525 (1.80GHz, 1MB L2 cache) – dual-core processor for 12-inch netbooks
New Intel Atom N2600 (1.60GHz, 1MB L2 cache) – the latest dual core processor from Intel
New Intel Atom N2800 (1.86GHz, 1MB L2 cache) – the latest dual core processor from Intel
AMD C-30 (1.20GHz, 512KB L2 cache, single core)
AMD C-50 (1.00GHz, 1MB L2 cache, dual core)
AMD E-350 (1.60GHz, 1MB L2 cache, dual core)
AMD E-450 (1.65GHz, 1MB L2 cache, dual core)
Standard netbook comes in either 3-cell or 6-cell battery. After Intel has unveiled Atom N450 processor, new netbooks can consume less power approximately 20% over previous netbook generation (e.g. Intel Atom N270, N280). New latest netbooks with 6-cell battery can get you unplugged for about 8-14 hours on a single charge while 3-cell systems usually get between 3-4 hours of endurance.
The 3-cell batteries are cheaper and lower in weight, but may not offer a good enough battery time. If your job or work requires a lot of traveling then you should look for the 6-cell option. These are slightly costlier than 3-cell battery netbooks but can be very useful if your activities involve overseas travel or all-day classes.
Memory is the place where the computer system stores its software applications and data that are being used. If the netbook has more memory, it tends to perform better by eliminating the need to temporarily save information to the hard disk drive when swapping between applications or handling a complex request and thus the better the performance.
The memory required by your netbook will rely on OS and the applications that you plan to put in use.
Most 10-inch netbooks come with 1GB and support up to 2GB. However, please make sure you have at least 1GB to keep things running smoothly. While 11- and 12- inch netbooks come with 2GB and are expandable up to 4GB.
There are also different speeds of RAM: DDR2 and DDR3. DDR3 uses significantly less power, and can run faster.
Netbooks come with one of two types of storage – a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD). This is the place where the netbook’s operating system and applications are stored, as well as files such as music, photos and documents.
The SSDs are faster and more durable than HDDs. It consumes less power and weigh less, offer less space than HDDs but come with higher price tag.
Most netbooks are equipped with the HDDs which have the storage capacity of 160GB, 250GB and 320GB. Rotational Speed are in standard formats of 5400 rpm, and 7200 rpm.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is the heart of all graphics processing functions. Whatever you see on the screen is controlled by the GPU.
The better the graphics, the smoother and nicer your games and movies will look. Currently, there are 3 big GPU manufacturers – NVIDIA, ATI and Intel.
GPUs are divided into integrated and discrete versions. Discreate or dedicated GPUs are relatively more powerful than the integrated GPUs.
Most netbooks use integrated graphics (Intel GMA 3150, Intel GMA 3600) from Intel which is sufficient for basic computing needs. Some new netbooks are available with switchable graphics between a discrete and an integrated GPU powered by NVIDIA.
Keyboard and touchpad
Keyboard on netbooks is usually smaller than a standard keyboard of full size laptops. Most of the keyboards on newer netbooks are 92 percent or more of the size of a laptop, so the change is almost negligible at this point. The keyboard layout of netbook is quite similar to the full size keyboard but key buttons on netbooks are smaller and closer.
But even if two netbooks have the same size keyboard, their layouts could be different and their keys are closer on some netbooks than others. If possible, please test out the keyboard to ensure they are large enough and user friendly. Usually netbooks with chiclet keyboard are more comfortable and more popular.
Touchpad is one of features to consider. At present, a wide variety of touchpad have been developed and specially designed to offer a more comfortable experience during prolonged use. So, try out and get a touchpad that supports multi-touch gestures.
Additionally, netbooks generally come with a built-in webcam, Wi-Fi, card reader, and USB ports. Some even have extra features such as Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, HDMI Port, etc.
Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fidelity. It allows you to connect to routers and surf the web. Wi-Fi comes in different speeds such as 802.11 a/b/g/n.
The 802.11n network is five times faster than 802.11g for quick downloading and streaming of large multimedia files. It is also backward compatible with 802.11b/g routers. Note that you will need a compatible 802.11n wireless router to get the faster output.
If you have an 802.11n network at home, you should consider a netbook with 802.11n support. Otherwise, the 802.11n network will need to run in backward compatibility mode to accommodate 802.11g devices, which may crimp performance for all your wireless devices.
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that lets you connect computers, input devices, mobile phones, and handheld devices to each other over short distances. Bluetooth uses radio waves, and is designed to be a secure and inexpensive way of connecting and exchanging information between devices without wires. Newer netbooks use Bluetooth v3.0 + High Speed which has speed up to 160 times faster transfer speeds compared to Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR.
Wireless Wide Area Network or WWAN (3G/Mobile broadband)
Some netbook models have built-in 3G networking adapters which can be very useful but can also be extremely high priced. Manufacturers often refer to this as wireless wide area networking or WWAN. This can allow your netbook to connect to the Internet through a high-speed cellular phone network when no other access is possible.
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) lets you pipe HD content and high quality audio to a large display or big screen HDTV via a single cable so you can share HD entertainment with family and friends anywhere.
Netbooks do not come with built-in optical drives for playing movies. That means you can not run CDs/DVDs. However, you can buy a separate drive to plug into your netbook or use another computer to “rip the DVD” to a movie file that you can transfer via a USB drive or external hard drive, but part of its portability and light weight is due to not having an optical drive.
In conlusion, if you’re buying a netbook, we suggest at a minimum, an Intel Atom N455 Processor, 1GB of RAM, a 250GB or larger hard drive, 8 hours long battery life and Windows 7 Starter. Higher-end options are becoming more prevalent, with 11.6 or 12.1-inch displays, higher screen resolutions, dual-core processor and new graphics hardware, such as Nvidia’s Ion GPU.
Reliable brands of netbooks that you can choose from are: Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Samsung, Toshiba etc. Using these brands as a guide, you can choose the models that you like best or that is within your budget.No posts at the moment. Check back again later!
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