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Laptop vs. Netbook — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Maham Liaqat — Updated on May 9, 2024
Laptops are versatile, higher-powered portable computers suitable for a range of tasks, while netbooks are smaller, less powerful, and optimized for basic activities like web browsing and document editing.
Laptop vs. Netbook — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Laptop and Netbook


Key Differences

Laptops typically have powerful processors and more RAM, making them suitable for demanding software and multitasking. On the other hand, netbooks, with their less robust hardware, are primarily designed for simpler tasks such as internet browsing and word processing.
Laptops often feature larger screens, usually ranging from 13 to 17 inches, providing better viewing and more workspace. Whereas netbooks generally have smaller screens, about 10 to 12 inches, which enhances their portability but limits display space.
The storage capacity on laptops is usually generous, with options ranging from high-capacity HDDs to fast SSDs. Netbooks, however, tend to have smaller storage capacities, often utilizing low-capacity SSDs or cloud storage to complement their lightweight design.
Battery life is a significant focus for netbooks, which often boast long-lasting battery performance to enhance their mobility. Conversely, laptops may have shorter battery life, especially in models with more powerful processors and larger displays.
Laptops are equipped with a variety of ports and connectivity options, supporting peripherals like external displays and gaming accessories. Netbooks keep connectivity to a minimum to maintain a slimmer and lighter profile, often limiting the number and type of available ports.

Comparison Chart

Processor Power

High, suitable for all software
Lower, for basic applications

Screen Size

13-17 inches
10-12 inches

Storage Capacity

High, with HDDs and SSDs
Lower, often uses cloud storage

Battery Life

Moderate to high
High, prioritized for mobility

Connectivity Options

Multiple ports available
Limited ports

Compare with Definitions


A portable computer with a full-sized keyboard, sizable screen, and significant processing power.
She bought a new laptop to use for her graphic design projects.


Limited in processing power, suitable for less demanding tasks.
The netbook handles basic document editing and email efficiently.


A versatile computer that bridges the gap between a desktop's power and a tablet's portability.
Laptops are popular among students for their portability and versatility.


Features a compact design for enhanced mobility and ease of transport.
His netbook fits easily into his small backpack.


A device commonly used in professional environments for its robust performance capabilities.
She uses her laptop for all her work presentations.


A small, lightweight laptop designed primarily for internet-based activities and office applications.
She purchased a netbook for quick web browsing on the go.


Often heavier and larger than netbooks, making them less ideal for travel.
Although bulky, his laptop is essential for his software development work.


Typically has a longer battery life due to less power-consuming components.
Her netbook lasts all day on a single charge, perfect for long flights.


A mobile computing device that can run complex applications and multitask efficiently.
His laptop can handle video editing and gaming simultaneously.


Often more affordable than laptops, appealing to budget-conscious consumers.
They bought a netbook for their child's first computer due to its affordability.


A laptop, laptop computer, or notebook computer is a small, portable personal computer (PC) with a screen and alphanumeric keyboard. These typically have a "clamshell" form factor, typically having the screen mounted on the inside of the upper lid and the keyboard on the inside of the lower lid, although 2-in-1 PCs with a detachable keyboard are often marketed as laptops or as having a "laptop mode." Laptops are folded shut for transportation, and thus are suitable for mobile use.


The marketing term netbook once identified small and inexpensive laptops; these were generally low-performance. While the name has fallen out of use, machines matching their description remain an important part of the market for laptops running Microsoft Windows.


A portable computer with a display screen hinged to a keyboard, small enough to use on one's lap.


A portable computer that is smaller than a laptop, with less processing speed and less memory, used primarily for accessing the internet.


(computing) A laptop computer.


(computing) An economical notebook computer.


A portable computer small enough to use in your lap

Common Curiosities

Is a laptop or a netbook more suitable for traveling?

Netbooks are more travel-friendly because of their compact size and long battery life.

Can a netbook handle video editing?

Netbooks are not ideal for video editing due to their limited processing power and storage.

Which is more cost-effective, buying a laptop or a netbook?

Netbooks are generally more affordable, though they offer limited functionalities compared to laptops.

Can I upgrade the hardware in a netbook?

Netbooks are typically not designed for hardware upgrades, which are more feasible in laptops.

How do netbooks handle cloud storage?

Netbooks often rely on cloud storage to compensate for their limited internal storage.

Are laptops suitable for gaming?

Many laptops are suitable for gaming, especially those designed with dedicated graphics cards and high-performance processors.

What is the primary use of a laptop?

Laptops are used for a range of applications from professional software to gaming due to their powerful hardware.

Which has better software compatibility, a laptop or a netbook?

Laptops generally have better software compatibility due to their robust operating systems and hardware.

Is the screen quality of netbooks comparable to laptops?

Laptops usually offer better screen quality, particularly in terms of size and resolution.

How does the battery performance of laptops compare to that of netbooks?

Netbooks typically have longer battery life due to their energy-efficient components.

What types of ports are commonly available on laptops?

Laptops usually have various ports including USB, HDMI, and Ethernet, among others.

Do netbooks come with full-sized keyboards?

Most netbooks have compact keyboards, which might not be full-sized due to space constraints.

Can I use a netbook for my daily work tasks?

Yes, if the tasks are relatively basic like document editing, internet browsing, and using office applications.

What makes laptops heavier than netbooks?

Laptops have larger batteries, bigger screens, and more substantial hardware, making them heavier.

Why might someone choose a laptop over a netbook?

Someone might choose a laptop over a netbook for enhanced performance capabilities and broader software and task compatibility.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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