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A netbook resembles a smaller version of a regular notebook PC. They typically have 7-10" screens, a compact keyboard, low-power processors and smaller hard drives. Netbooks differ from regular laptops in that they are designed for surfing the Internet, word processing and basic productivity, and light multimedia (listening to audio and watching online video).

While they may be appropriate as a primary computer for basic users or users demanding ultra portability, they are often used as a secondary computer. Netbooks can come with Microsoft Windows XP or various versions of the Linux operating system, which some users may find unfamiliar.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
Small and lightweight; excellent portability Compact keyboard
Very inexpensive Low-resolution screen
Low power consumption Low-speed CPU

Price and Technical Specifications

Netbook prices are inexpensive, normally starting in the $300.00-$400.00 price range. Some netbooks offer an SSD option for the hard drive; an SSD is a type of hard drive that has higher performance and lower power consumption but is more expensive than a normal hard drive. Users who need a large hard drive should not consider SSDs, as they are not available in higher capacities.

Northwestern IT's laptop purchasing guidelines regarding memory and disk space should be considered when purchasing a netbook.

Last Updated: 10 April 2017

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