Can A Netbook Take The Place Of A PC?

Time to get a new PC? Think again! Based on what you use your computer for, you may want to check out the new netbook.

If your use of the computer is limited to surfing the web and light application, you could easily make the transition from a PC to a netbook.

On the other hand, if you use your computer for playing high-end video games like Counter Strike, use Photo Shop or any of the heavy programs that need high resources, you are better off with your PC or laptop.

Although, a netbook is also a laptop, it is a “mini” version of the laptop. These machines are powered by Intel Atom processors, which means you cannot expect anything fancy from them. They have been specifically designed for tasks like surfing the internet, email, playing music, streaming video online, word processing and other programs that need low resources.

However, the advantage with a netbook is that it is cheaper than the regular laptop or PC, because it is fitted with smaller processors that are slower than the ones in a regular PC. The cost can be anywhere between $250 and $850. The low-end netbooks come with very small hard drives and are great for people looking to just surf and use the email. A good mid range netbook with plenty of features will cost around $400. In a high-end netbook, the processor speeds will be far better.

Netbooks are small, light and portable; have large hard drives to store movies, music and other files; streaming movies and internet games.

But there are certain drawbacks with using a netbook – smaller screen; small fonts, small keyboard; no gaming; no high-end graphics; no DVD or CD Rom Drive. Since they do not come with CD-Rom or DVD drives, data has to be downloaded through the internet or using a USB portable drive.

The screen of a netbook is very small between 7 and 10 inches, smaller than the smallest laptops, which is usually 12 inches.

Netbooks can cater to a wide segment of users looking for the convenience of portability and who need all the regular features mentioned above. Students will find it very useful for taking notes. These netbooks can be wonderful gifts too. They can be gifted to the elders in the family, who can use it to communicate with family and send e-mails. For business people, they offer the convenience of carrying a light-weight laptop around for doing the lighter tasks. In fact, a netbook is a boon for travelers as it is very light and small in size.

The standard configuration for netbooks includes a 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB RAM and Windows XP. It may not be comparable to the high-end laptops, but it does its job well. As long as you know you cannot play the latest video games, you are good to go.

But things may change soon what with AMD launching its Neo processor and nVidia releasing its Ion graphics platform. These two improvements are expected to boost the performance of the netbook significantly in the future.

If you are worried about the screen; with the advanced technology, even the smallest machines these days come with 9 inches of display and 800 pixels across. The 10-inch screen on most netbooks is more than enough for Web browsing and 11 and 12 inch models are expected to be out soon. The native resolution for most netbooks is 1024 x 600 pixels.

Another thing to keep in mind when buying a netbook is the battery life. Netbooks are not known for their long battery life. A netbook is expected to be low-cost and this is achieved by providing a three-cell battery, which can keep the netbook charged for about 2.5 hours when traveling.

For example, the Acer Aspire One costs $300 but if you want longer battery life, you will have to spend another $100 for a six-cell battery, which will give double the charge. But the disadvantage of doing this is that the bigger batteries will increase the weight of the system. Samsung netbooks are said to give the longest battery life. If you need wireless broadband performance, then you have to ensure that your netbook supports it.

Making a decision to get a netbook is easy but with so many of them entering the market in the past year, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. No netbook can be called perfect, because the basic concept is defined by compromises. But keeping in mind the basic features of a netbook, it is possible to find one that suits your needs.