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The Laptop vs. the Netbook

Posted By Amandah Blackwell On October 5, 2009 @ 8:44 am In Technology,Writer's Resources | Comments Disabled

Many travel writers write their blog posts, reviews, and travel articles when they return from a trip, but they still need various writing tools, with which to take notes, while traveling.

These tools can range from a simple notebook and pen to a laptop computer. Which one you choose is largely based on personal preference, but numerous factors such as where you’re traveling to, your mode of travel, internet access and availability of internet cafes, all should be considered.

If you decide that taking a computer is best for you, then you have a choice – laptop or netbook.

For those not familiar with the term netbook, it’s a smaller version of a laptop, generally with only a 7 to 10 inch screen (versus a laptop’s 14 to 17 inch screen), and is typically designed more for simple tasks such as writing and web surfing, whereas a laptop can handle more sophisticated (and graphics intensive) jobs such as photo-editing, graphic design, and desktop publishing.

Although tech specs will vary from netbook to netbook, and from laptop to laptop, generally speaking netbooks have less memory (RAM) and less hard drive (storage) capacity, and they are built with a slower, less powerful processor.

Because of their smaller size and scaled-down tech specs, netbooks are much lighter than laptops, and as you would expect, netbooks are also cheaper than laptops, sometimes substantially less expensive. Their reduced functionality may not be a problem at all for a travel writer who is just looking for a lightweight tool for taking notes and checking email.

So how do you choose? For many freelance travel writers budget may be a primary concern, but in order to figure out what’s right for you, it’s important to understand the differences and similarities.

Laptop vs Netbook: Similarities

  • Both are portable
  • Both easily handle email, web surfing, chat and instant messaging
  • Both easily handle writing tasks and simple spreadsheets

Laptop vs Netbook: Differences

  • Laptops cost more than netbook
  • Netbooks have smaller screens than a laptop
  • Cannot create and edit videos with a netbook
  • Cannot watch HD videos on a netbook
  • Cannot perform sophisticated photo-editing on a netbook
  • Netbooks do not have a built-in CD/DVD drive
  • Netbooks are small enough to not require a separate carrying case
  • The cheapest netbooks typically have only USB ports; the cheapest laptops generally also have FireWire, ethernet, and video-out ports

If your needs are simple, and price and portability are your primary factors, you may consider buying a netbook.

If you’re a travel writer that dabbles in photography or graphic design, you will not be able to do a lot with a netbook, as you would with a laptop. However, it could be useful when you’re traveling. It’s easy to pack, and you’ll be able to write just about anywhere.


If you do more than write when you travel then you may want to purchase a laptop. If you’re not worried about editing photos or watching HD movies while you travel then purchase a netbook. It depends on what you want accomplish when you travel and how much you would like to spend!


Would you purchase a laptop or a netbook, or both? Share your opinion!


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