Laptop or Netbook - which would you recommend?

Hi everyone

I want a new computer of some sort for Christmas. I need something portable, so I can snuggle up next to the fire and write my book/blogs without freezing my socks off on the PC in the drafty corner of our sittingroom.

Our budget is - as little as possible. I just want to be able to write in word, use the internet and download and upload a few photos (nothing complicated). I'm wondering whether a netbook would suffice as they are cheaper. What do you think? Has anyone got a netbook, can they recommend them? Or would I be better off paying the extra and getting a laptop?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance


My son has an Acer Aspire One with an extended battery. This gives it a theoretical 7 hour life. They don't all have that, so you need to do your research, and the Aspire One at the time was available with standard and extended. It had XP installed, but like I say it can run slowly, and he found it to be much faster running Ubuntu Linux.

Thanks Ian. I do a lot of typing, so probably a tablet wouldn't suffice as you suggest. From what you say I think a netbook will be better as I don't wath much video - and can always do that on the desktop if I want. I didn't know the netbooks had a longer batteriy life - that's appealing. I could possibly look into running LInux if I found it too slow - I'm fairly IT literate - I used to work on a computing help desk, but that was some years ago and things move on so quickly.... I'm sure I could work it out though (or find someone who can).

Anyway thanks for the advice, very useful. Now I've just got to research which netbook!

You now have the option of a tablet too, such as the iPad or one of the Android alternatives like the Samsung Galaxytab. It's hard to say which would be better, but if you want to do a reasonable amount of typing then I suspect that a tablet with its on-screen keyboard isn't going to be as good as a netbook, but a large part of the laptop/netbook market has already moved or is moving to tablets.

The benefits of the netbook over a laptop are potentially longer battery life, and size. They manage this by having smaller screens, no DVD drive, and a less powerful processor. Of course there are disadvantages. The lower power means that the netbook can be pretty slow to boot and slow to run applications like Word. If you choose carefully you can find a keyboard that is just as good as a laptop, though again the size of the netbook necessarily means the keyboard will be a little cramped by comparison. It is possible to run a netbook on Linux, so that it boots and runs faster, but you need to be a reasonably tech savvy person to do that, I think. You also need to think about what you look at on the web. If you watch a lot of video then a netbook might not be powerful enough. If it's more static pages and reading stuff then there shouldn't be a performance issue.

Swings and roundabouts, and as ever, the true answer to your question is "It depends".