Netbook Buying Tips

The Acer Aspire One - Best Selling Netbook of 2008 Credit: 2dayblog

Jan Aguas, an OFW currently in Frankfurt but originally from Novaliches QC, emailed us this question the other day:

"Dear TechPinas, what are the things I should consider when buying a netbook? And what are the things I should look for in a netbook?"

Hi Jan! Here's our answer:

TechPinas' 3 things to keep in mind when buying a netbook -

1. Netbooks are low-power PCs

In the case of netbooks, the saying that goes 'You get what you pay for' rings true. These machines are low-cost and hence, low in power. As such, don't expect it to do everything that a typical PC or Laptop can do. Netbooks are meant for light computing like browsing the web, processing word documents and blogging. Don't throw it out the window just because it runs Photoshop or Illustrator slower than even your Celeron M powered notebook. Read about the difference of Notebook and Netbook, Netbook and Ultraportable HERE.

Most netbooks run on an Intel Atom processor - read about Atom's performance benchmarks vs. other processors HERE.

2. Netbooks are small

One of the biggest reasons why netbooks came to be is because people needed PCs that they could easily take anywhere. Therefore, a netbook has to be both light and small enough to be carried in a small bag -- even by a petite girl. In fact, almost all netbooks are smaller and lighter than most Ultraportable Notebooks. While increased portability is a good thing there's also a downside to it especially in the case of netbooks. To remain compact, netbooks sacrifice screen and keyboard size. So if you plan to get a netbook, be prepared to compute with 7 to 10 inch of screen and 70% keyboard.

3. Most Netbooks are fragile

Again, because - in this case - 'You get what you pay for', don't expect your netbook to be as durable or as rugged as a Thinkpad or a Toughbook. If you want it to last, handle it with utmost case.

TechPinas' 3 Things to look for in a netbook:

1. Specs - Is it powerful enough to run your basic computing needs?

Believe it or not, there are actually several types of Atom processors out now that run netbooks - even hyperthreading ones! Choose a netbook that has a processor powerful enough to your usual apps. Choose one that ships with enough memory.

2. Keyboard and Screen - They look cute but can you work with them?

I don't even have to remind you: Choose a netbook with screen and keyboard you can work with. I suggest that you go to the store and actually try out different machines before purchasing one.

3. Built -- Is it solid enough for day to day use?

Keep in mind that not all netbooks are built the same way. Some are constructed better than others. Again, get your hands on machines before buying one.

There you go! Happy netbook shopping!

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