I know, I know. Technically, netbooks are just little notebooks. But the truth of the matter is that there are a number of things that most full sized notebooks can do that are tougher to do on a netbook. For one thing, most full sized laptops have optical disc drives for installing software, listening to CDs, or watching or burning DVDs. Netbooks also typically have slower processors and lower resolution displays than most laptops which makes them less than ideal for watching 1080p video, playing some games, or performing other CPU-intensive activities.

On the other hand, netbooks are good enough for 90% of the tasks that most people perform on a day to day basis. They can handle web browsing, office document editing, and other duties with ease. Heck, you can edit video on them if you really want to. It’ll just take a lot longer than on a system with a Core 2 Duo CPU.

But I’m probably preaching to the choir here. Most of you already know these things. But according to an NPD study, it appears the general public might not have gotten the message yet. NPD reports that “60 percent of consumers who purchased a netbook instead of a notebook though their netbooks would have the same functionality as notebooks.” Among those who chose a netbook instead of a notebook, only 58% said they were “very satisfied,” while 70% of those who had planned to get a netbook all along were satisfied with the purchase.

Shocking, no? It turns out that there’s a better chance you’ll be happy with your purchase if you know what you’re looking for before forking over the money. Who knew?

Anyway, there’s one statistic in the study that’s even stranger. While the main appeal of netbooks is their light weight, small size, and general portability, 60% of netbook buyers report that they never take the little laptops out of the house. I suppose it could just be aspirational thinking: You buy a netbook because you think you’ll carry it with you everywhere you go, only to realize you never go anywhere that you need a computer. But maybe the idea of a cheap, light weight computer for use around the house just appeals to people who don’t really ever expect to become road warriors.

What do you think? Do you regularly use your netbook around the house, on the go, or both?

via Laptop Magazine

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20 replies on “Research: Most people don’t know difference between netbooks and notebooks”

  1. I bought my Aspire One BECAUSE it was portable and for the battery life. It’s been to the flying field with me a few times (downloading and graphing data from onboard flight loggers in my models) as well as on trips to visit family and elsewhere. So far I’ve survived without an optical drive (though getting stuff from my own CD library into iTunes is kinda awkward – have to import them into another machine in the house and then drag ’em across the wireless and re-import).

    The few installations I’ve had to do that weren’t downloads were done by copying from the CD to a memory stick on another machine. No issues so far. Oh, and of course there’s the netbook version of Kaspersky that came on a memory stick.

    It’s also been used around the house untethered to power because it’s so easy to do….though it normally lives in the room with the model airplane stuff when it’s at home.

    I got what I wanted and so far have been very happy with it. I have to say the claimed battery life of the new MacBook Pros is tempting as this six-year-old 12 inch Powerbook I’m typing on right now is feeling in need of refreshing. But that’s a different niche in my overall computer use anyway.

  2. Now that I’m done university, my initial reason to have a netbook, I find that this little laptop has become a chesttop instead, as I mostly use my Eee in bed. There just isn’t much free WiFi in my city. However, when I go on plane trips it is a constant companion and my regular laptop stays at home.

  3. Yes, I do carry my netbook with me wherever I go. During my time in the Office, when I travel on business or on vacation, locally or Internationally. I bought my netbook (an eee pc 701) when they were first introduced. My laptop then had just conked out and I was just short of budget to get me a top of the line laptop to replace it. I heard about the Asus eeepc 701 and since it was very cheap I bought one thinking that I will just use it until a couple of months when I would get the money to buy me a dual core lappie with the works. When I started using it I found the portability and the ruggedness to my liking. It does what I need it to do (since I use my desktop for heavy stuff anyways) and found that I could do without a lappie. In fact I found the I could do without the laptop since wherever I go to do work there will always be a desktop and use the netbook, with an external hard drive which I connect via USB or the 16Gb SDHC, to store vital sensitive information. Mostly text files I save in Open Office ( I use Ubuntu Hardy Heron on my eee pc 701 ). So now I’m having a hard time buying a new laptop because frankly, I just don’t need a high powered portable computer in my line of work ( I’m an elected Public Official in my country ). That’s about it and am happy to share my experience.

  4. I have a laptop, and an EEE. I take the “E” around when I *may* need full internet, or want to type an office doc. It’s alot lighter than my laptop. On the other hand if I go on a trip, or need full power, I bring my laptop so I can watch DVDs without encoding them, or needing anything more than a full battery, and adapter.

    Still playing around with OSes on the E since the SSD drives wear faster than standard drives, so it makes me learn linux.

  5. I use my Samsung NC10 primarily when I travel. It’s great for road trips, so my daughter can watch videos on the ride. It’s easy for me to bring along anywhere, given the small size and battery life. When visiting my parents this weekend I’d use it lying down on the couch; my father has his brick of a laptop eternally plugged in on his desk in his den. He takes it out to watch Hulu with my mom sometimes, and they prop it up on a TV tray and keep it plugged in.

    I use it for internet, my Audible downloads, and watching videos. With CoreAVC, I can watch 720p h.264 .mkvs no problem. I’ll occasionally get video stutter on Hulu’s 480p streams, however (I think this is from the single core processor and some background task or something).

    So I use it for video files away from home. At home I’ve got a 40″ LCD attached to my computer in my bedroom (w/ 5.1 surround), so I understandably use that when I’m there.

    Some great stuff to accompany your netbook:
    * CoreAVC
    * 500G external HDD powered by USB
    * Thin and light case to hold your netbook and power cord
    * Crossover cable adapter
    * Wireless notebook mouse (RF or bluetooth)
    * Headphones
    * Headphone splitter (so two people can use headphones and watch the same video)
    * Short USB cable (for mp3 player etc)

  6. I purchased my Acer Aspire One with the intentions of taking it instead of my 15inch Acer to work with me. Alas–Im STILL lugging the larger laptop(along with its accessories) to work everyday. The netbook’s screensize was too limited for what I needed @ work. I use my netbook at home alot & it is my constant companion when Im on the go on the weekends

  7. It’s the “wal-mart mentality” that is the real problem. People see something they think looks interesting for a low price and they buy it. Once they have it home they try it to see if they like it. If not, just return it for a refund. No need to actually research the product, or see what the specs are, or read other user reviews, etc.
    That’s why they have only 2 cashiers on the front and 5 customer service people at the return desk.

  8. I use my Sammy netbook (NC10) when commuting (train) and during work meetings away from the office. My wife uses it when she takes notes for church meetings. So all on the go.
    I hardly use it in the house, since I (knowlingly and deliberately) bought it for mobile use because of its good battery life and low weight. Though that might change when I get our wifi improved. That might add in-house use for couch surfing – not can surfing no, I guess I’ll stick to the general 1st and 2nd preferences on the can. That said, the Acer Aspire Timeline series (and other ulv notebooks) looks interesting. Good battery, still relatively light, but some more screen real estate and processing power. The netbook was an acceptable compromise so far. But with tech advancements, might become a good computer for the kids. I guess the only regret then would be not having bought a pink one with the foresight of its second life as a computer for my oldest daughter (almost 5). An old Intermec Norand tablet with tux paint had her interest for a while, but she came to dislike the smell en colour. I guess every customer has a different set of expectations/priorities in a computer…

    As far as installing programs goes; external optical drive? Not that hard to come by…
    Also works for dvd movies. Not particularly practical on the go I admit, more for use at home then, but agree with BoloMKXXVIII: taking along dvd’s isn’t practical either, and ripping isn’t that hard.

  9. Netbooks being used within the home more than not doesn’t particularly surprise me, portability is still key within the home – makes it a lot easier to browse while watching TV.

    There’s also the power consumption/noise/convenience consideration, I’d expect many people use them like me in place of their desktop when they can handle it, diddyness rules all.

    If you’re leaving a PC downloading a few things overnight, what would you prefer, the whirring, 550w i920 beast or the 901 Eee which silently plods along at 8w?

    I’d expect that aspect will be rebalanced as nettops gain purchase in the market but for now netbooks are the ultimate cheap and cheerful toy wherever the location.

  10. I use a netbook every day at home and always take one with me if I’m going to be near a wifi network.

    It’s not surprising that buyers don’t know what they’re like. Most seller don’t either.

  11. Well I used to bring it everywhere with me in college and it would always be a center of attention on how its so mini and cool! That is until I accidentally tripped with the netbook stacked on top of my textbooks which cracked up my screen! Now it has become a crappy desktop and I’m too poor to buy a replacement LCD. Oh well I only had it for 2 months and now its time to buy something more durable. Maybe I’m not meant to have a netbook.

  12. I tried selling my Acer Aspire One 150 LINUX, for the add I copied the manufacturer info verbatim, had people ask me if it had a 15″ screen, will it run Windows, would it be a good laptop??? for my grandmother to learn computers on….you are 100% right ALOT of people dont understand what they are buying and end up disappointed

  13. I use my Eee PC 701 outside the house all the time. At least 12 hours a week I’ve got it with my at the reference desk so that I can have IM and email access without having to log in on the shared computer. I take it out shopping with me, it’s incredibly useful to be able to look at a recipe while I’m in the grocery store. I use it as an ebook when I’m waiting for things (food in restaurants, doctor’s appointments, etc.), and of course when I’m curled up at home and settled in to read.

    I use my netbook, probably 29 out of 30 days a month, and the vast majority of those days I use it outside the house.

  14. >For one thing, most full sized laptops have optical disc drives for installing software, listening to CDs, or watching or burning DVDs.

    Install Linux on your netbook, and you won’t need an optical disc drive to install software. There will be upwards of 20 thousand applications available to you online to legally download and install.

    Admittedly, this fact won’t help you with listening to CDs, or watching DVDs, or burning either. Doing that is a problem on a netbook not matter if you do install a more capable Linux OS.

    1. Seriously? You want to use your netbook to listen to CDs? You might want to try out one of the CD ripping programs designed to make your music more portable. Same thing for your DVDs. Do you really want to carry around all those discs with an ultra portable machine?

  15. > It turns out that there’s a better chance you’ll be happy with your
    > purchase if you know what you’re looking for before forking over
    > the money. Who knew?


    > 60% of netbook buyers report that they never take the little
    >laptops out of the house.

    Two words: toilet surfing.
    C’mon, dont act so surprised.
    Reading on the toilet is the 3rd most popular thing people do on the can. Youre gonna tell me that the netbooks mobility isnt taken advantage? Lot easier to handle than the saturday paper.

    I use the netbooks a lot when Im out of the house (anyone with kids that play sports and spend countless of hours each week at practice has to have one. I got mine last July and was the first parent to have one. By Xmas you saw more and more, this summer more than half the parents have them.) but I use them a lot at home like in the can as well, when I do the dishes and elsewhere around the house when I try to hide from the screaming kids. Our regular laptop has seen its use drop by more than 70% while the desktop not that much of a diffence. Id rather not drop some cheesy poofs dust on my 1500$ laptop or get stains on it. The 279$ netbook? Lot less stress involved.
    Especially when the 2 year old is around.

    1. > Two words: toilet surfing.

      *Looks around nervously*

      “I have no idea what you’re talking about!

      *Flushing sound*

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