Laptops vs netbooks

Emily Handy on Laptops:

I am always on my HP Pavilion Laptop, complete with full keyboard and 17-inch screen. Besides being comfortable to type on, it allows me to view several windows at once, work with detailed graphics and watch full-screen movies. It even doubles as my TV — being larger than my actual television set.

These are all things you cannot do on tiny netbooks, whose keyboards are about the same size as a normal person’s hand.

Netbooks are trendy. HP has released one, which it calls a “mini laptop,” shaped like a clutch handbag and designed by Vivienne Tam — for all the hip women who don’t own a Blackberry to check their e-mail while sitting in Starbucks.

Netbooks are also small. The Acer Aspire One has a screen size of 8.9 inches — about as wide as a water bottle. They can fit into most purses, or even a back pocket, and are convenient for quick word processing.

But besides being small, cute and trendy, netbooks are sorely lacking. The screen resolution is cramped, as is the keyboard, and the speakers reach only a certain volume, which is barely audible if people are talking anywhere nearby.

Netbooks have no disk drive, so they’re not computers for gaming or movie-watching. Not that it would matter if there were one, as any game or movie would look sad on such a tiny screen.

Regular laptops offer more utility, speed and space, and the variety of available weights and screen sizes provides smaller and lighter models for people on the move.  

Netbooks have the benefit of being cheaper, but you get what you pay for. In the long run, laptops offer more bang for the buck.

Matt Ferrara on Netbooks

Last July, I bought my dream laptop — with 4GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, a 17-inch high-definition screen and a graphics card equip to run just about any video game. I ended up working out a deal to get it for the surprisingly low price of $900.

Six months later, I dropped it on carpeting and broke the screen. I then found out that it would cost $600 to make the necessary repairs. Instead, I bought an Acer Aspire One.

I was initially put off by the dinky screen, low specs and lack of a disk drive, but at half the price it would have cost me to repair my other laptop, I figured this couldn’t be that bad of an investment.

The Acer Aspire One was the best technological purchase I have ever made.

I bought my first laptop with the intention of playing a lot of video games and doing some extensive Photoshop work. However, once I got into college I realized I had very little time for such hobbies.

Now all I need to get through life is Microsoft Word, Firefox, iTunes and AOL Instant Messenger — all of which my netbook runs as quickly as did my old dream computer.

If one’s needs in a computer are as simplistic as mine, there is absolutely no need for a large laptop. Since the Acer Aspire One runs windows XP — compared to most new computers running Vista — its operating system takes up only half a gig of RAM, allowing another half for standard operations.

Sure, netbooks aren’t exactly high-performance PCs, but they get the job done for cheap — something everyone can appreciate these days.