Buying a Netbook

Do you need a netbook?  A netbook is a small laptop computer that provides the basic aspects of a laptop (or notebook) computer, but is not as powerful.  By removing non-essential parts and reducing the size, manufacturers are able to deliver a machine that is small, lightweight, and “good enough” for basic computer tasks at an affordable price.  A netbook is ideal for travel and does a good job for writing email and browsing the internet.  A netbook is not adequate for running more sophisticated applications or running several common office applications at the same time.  Most netbooks include a SD card reader and a webcam, but do not include a CD/DVD drive or a multitude of ports.  Here are some things to look for when purchasing a netbook.

  • RAM memory – most netbooks are only sold with 1GB of RAM; make sure you can expand this to 2GB and do this right away – it will make a big difference
  • VGA port – make sure you can connect it to a larger monitor or video projector
  • Keyboard size – make sure it is not too small to type comfortably
  • Battery life – most people use netbooks while traveling or at other times when they are not plugged in, so make sure you have good battery life.

A recommended model is the Asus EeePC 1005PE.  It boasts a 14 hour battery life.