Laptop vs. Notebook


A laptop computer, or simply laptop, is a small portable computer, which usually weighs 2-12 pounds (1 to 6 kilograms), depending on display size, hardware, and other factors. Laptops were developed to be portable alternatives to desktop computers. Initially, laptops were created to emulate the functionality of desktops; however, demand for laptops for entertainment purposes has led to the development of more compact devices, such as netbooks and tablets.

A notebook is an extremely lightweight personal computer. Notebook computers typically weigh less than 6 pounds and are small enough — "notebook sized" — to fit easily in a briefcase. Notebooks were designed to function similarly to desktops, but be considerably smaller and easier to tote around. The handy notebook size was what defined notebook computers. There was not even a replaceable hard disk or other peripherals associated with them initially.

The two have similar origins but differ in terms of size and functional capacity.

Comparison chart

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Main Manufacturers Apple, Dell, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, HP, Samsung, Sony, MSI, AlienWare, Microsoft Apple, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Dell
Size Small and sleek to large and bulky. Screen sizes normally range from 10 to 20 inches across. Notebooks generally come in the sizes of real notebooks to the near PDA sizes. (Exceptions occur as some manufacturer’s market their laptops as notebooks)
DVD- DRIVES and other Accessories like in Desktop Can be present in an integrated fashion. Not integrated. Can be externally attached though.
Cooling system Has fans and other system like in desktop adjusted to suit its use. Usually do not have an effective cooling system as processing power is lesser than Laptops.
Processing Capacity Laptops are usually associated with higher processing power than notebooks. Normally 1-8 GB RAM. Notebooks nowadays come in laptop configurations, but the size factor wears off as it becomes more powerful, and the sense of notebook is gone.
Usage Primary usage is mobility and replicates the usage of a personal computer with extra durability. primary usage is mobility and personal computer with extra durability
Meaning A laptop is a mobile computer/device, small and light in weight and as the name suggests, sits in the lap of the user. A notebook computer is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer generally smaller than a briefcase that can easily be transported and conveniently used in temporary spaces such as on airplanes, in libraries, temporary offices, and at meetings.
Physical characteristics A laptop usually weighs between 1.4 to 5.4 Kgs. (3 to12 pounds) A Notebook weighs less than 5 pounds and is 3 inches or less in thickness

Contents: Laptop vs Notebook

edit History and evolution

edit Laptop

The first commercially available portable computer was the Osborne in 1981. Although it was large and heavy compared to today's laptops, with a tiny CRT monitor, it had a near-revolutionary impact on business, as professionals were able to take their computer and data with them for the first time. This and other "luggables" were inspired by what was probably the first portable computer, the Xerox NoteTaker, again developed at Xerox PARC, in 1976; however, only ten prototypes were built. The Osborne was about the size of a portable sewing machine, and importantly could be carried on a commercial aircraft. However, it was not possible to run the Osborne on batteries: it had to be plugged into mains.

In 1982 Kaypro introduced the Kaypro II, a CP/M-based competitor to the Osborne 1. The Kaypro II featured a display nearly twice as big as the Osborne's and double-sided floppy drives with twice the storage capacity. A more enduring success was the Compaq Portable, the first product from Compaq, introduced in 1983. Another significant machine announced in 1981, although first sold widely in 1983, was the Epson HX-20. However, arguably the first true laptop was the GRiD Compass 1101, designed by Bill Moggridge in 1979-1980, and released in 1982. Another notable computer was the Cambridge Z88, designed by Clive Sinclair, introduced in 1988. the rest has been history with better and smaller models being made.

edit Notebooks

The Compaq LTE, launched in 1989, was the first to be widely known as a "notebook computer" because its relatively small dimensions—1.9 × 8.5 × 11 inches—were similar to an A4 paper notebook. The Compaq was followed by the very popular IBM ThinkPad, which was the first to include a 10.4 inch screen in a notebook measuring 2.2 × 8.3 × 11.7 inches. Portables with smaller form factors thus became known as Notebooks. The term was also applied to the NEC UltraLite, unveiled in 1988, although its dimensions (1.4 × 8.3 × 11.75 inches) were very similar to the Compaq LTE.

One early notebook was the Gateway Handbook, originally released in 1992 and updated to use a 486 processor in late 1993. This computer was only 9.7 inches (246 mm) wide, 5.9 inches (150 mm) deep, and 1.6 inches (41 mm) high, and weighed less than three pounds. Another early subnotebook was the Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300, which was launched as "superportable" in 1993. In 1997, Apple launched the relatively light-weight (4.4 lbs) but short-lived PowerBook 2400c. Sony launched an ultraportable less than an inch thick in Japan in 1997, the PCG-505, which reached the US in 1997 as the VAIO 505GX. In 2006, Microsoft stimulated a new round of subnotebook development with the UMPC or Ultra-Mobile PC format code-named Origami. These are basically small versions of Tablet PC computers, which originally shipped with the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. An example is the Samsung Q1.

In 2007 Asus unveiled the Intel-based ASUS Eee PC range running Linux or Microsoft Windows on a 7in color screen. These machines measure just 8.9 × 6.5in and have less-than-full sized keyboards.

edit Functions

The functionalities of the Laptop overcome the functional capacity of notebooks. The notebook's processing power is limited as it just occupies a notebook's space and so the processor power is not to be expected much of. The processor configurations are found to be same nowadays, but still the additional hardware capabilities that laptops provide are absent in the notebooks.
The true sense of notebooks are those in sizes of large PDAs and smaller than laptops. The graphical memory and potential of the laptop is much more than the notebook PCs. Laptops nowadays have complete functionalities of a desktop PC, not actually a subset anymore. Notebooks are the provider of basic functions in a smaller handy size.

edit Hardware

Laptops are more flexible with regards to the hardware aspect, any modifications and add-ons can be made. All combinations of DVD drives, processors, etc are available in Laptops these days and these feature the best of the configurations. The best quality Video/Audio cards etc are also there in Laptops now.

Notebooks, on the other hand, are not very flexible with their hardware configurations because of their small size. Functions like DVD drives etc might not be available in some models. But with changing technologies, Notebook’s are also featuring with new additions and latest technology now. They’re best known currently for their small size and not their latest technology.

edit Main manufacturers

Companies that make laptops include HP, Compaq, Lenovo, Sony, Dell etc. Companies in the Notebook market include Sony, Toshiba, Dell etc.

edit Statistically

Laptops sell more than Notebooks. This is so because Laptops generally have all the features of a normal PC while notebooks don’t because of their very compact frame.

edit References

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Comments: Laptop vs Notebook

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Anonymous comments (7)

February 25, 2013, 10:21am

Very clear explanation . Thanks

— 220.✗.✗.50

December 5, 2012, 7:35am

It was so good and the words were simply understanding. Thanx.

— 188.✗.✗.239

November 30, 2011, 7:25am

Very nice article. Explains the difference nicely.

— 27.✗.✗.131

May 7, 2010, 6:29am

good comparison, people get confused between laptops and notebooks

— 220.✗.✗.11

August 23, 2013, 9:57pm

I thought companies distanced themselves from the term Laptop after people left them on their laps and got burned resulting in lawsuits. The new term notebook means the exact same thing, internal DVD drive or not.

— 198.✗.✗.241

July 10, 2013, 2:32am

I think the author is confusing notebook with netbook. The notebook is the same as a laptop. Most notebooks still have a CD/DVD reader/writer. Netbooks are the ones do not have a CD/DVD because they are meant mainly for network connectivity. The author changes his mind through the article about weight ranges, which is basically the only difference I find. The term laptop is almost not used anymore. I have a pretty heavy notebook which is a workstation model, more powerful than most notebooks, but could have perfectly been called a laptop.

— 186.✗.✗.251

November 10, 2010, 11:32pm

This has been a great help. Thanks! I've been begging my dad since I was a little girl to get me a laptop. Now that I know the differences between laptops and "notebooks", I'm definitely all the more interested than before to get one. :D

— 98.✗.✗.187


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