Laptops replaced the desktop computers and came into existence in the early 1980s. Though netbooks can technically be considered as belonging to the family of laptops, they are relatively smaller in size and lighter in weight and primarily used for web browsing.
Netbooks have become popular only in the recent times (since 2007), when the weight and price factors became more viable. This happened as recently as 2008 when they became commercially available.
Contents: Laptop vs Netbook
edit Differences in features and hardware
Portable computers like laptops and notebooks have been in the market for quite sometime. The new entrant, netbook, has now revolutionized the industry. Gone are the days of carrying a large and heavy laptop around. Netbooks are much smaller in size and hence the portability factor has gained a truly new dimension. While an average laptop weighs a little less than 8 lb, a netbook with weighs much lesser than 5 lb and slides into places that a laptop can only of dream of getting into. Netbooks are generally a range of 12” when it comes to screen size whereas a laptop ranges more than 12”.
Netbook processors consist of a single-core Intel and VIA chips that range from 1.1 GHz to 1.83 GHz but laptops consist of single, duo and even quad processors of Intel and AMD ranging from 1.6 GHz to 2.66 GHz. Netbooks come with a standard memory of 1GB upgradeable to 2GB and low end laptops come with 2GB memory and the high end versions can go up to 8 or even 16GB.
edit Operating Systems on laptops and netbooks
Invariably, any operating system can be loaded onto a regular laptop. The most preferred operating systems on a netbook are the light-weight ones likes Linux and Windows XP. This is mainly netbooks are typically lower capacity in terms of hardware - processor, hard disk and RAM (memory).
Windows remains the most popular operating system on both laptops and netbooks. However, in recent times, Google's Chrome OS has targeted the Netbook market. Macs and Chrome OS are less vulnerable to spyware because hackers have traditionally targeted Windows PCs.
edit Price comparison
A netbook is cheaper than a laptop considering the minimalist hardware features that it offers vis-à-vis laptops. This is more useful during credit crunches and for users needing a portable computer for the sole purpose of internet access.
The price for a laptop depends upon the purpose of its usage. A minimum performance laptop would cost between $500 and $600; a higher performance laptop or an Apple Macbook ranges between $1200 and $2500 but a gaming laptop is typically on a higher range and costs anywhere between $3000 and $10,000. The price of netbooks has been declining and they cost at least 40% lesser this year when compared to the previous year. Low end notebooks come at even $150 and the high end ones cost up to $600. The prices are as of the year 2009.
edit Popularity of netbooks vs laptops
Considering the size, weight and price factors, industry analysts opine that the netbook market will hold more potential in the days to come since this has already started burgeoning. The concept of cloud computing has also become predominant with the advent of netbook.
But the market for laptops has not folded since netbooks have limited battery size, processing power and storage space. A netbook is preferred as a cheaper and lighter mode of portable computing.