Comparison: Laptops vs. Netbooks vs. Tablet PCs

With the market being flooded with numerous devices in every segment it really does get pretty confusing for the consumer. An average consumer can’t really own all of these. The attractively low prices and the smaller designs are very appealing but bring with themselves the dilemma of whether or not they will perform.

Laptops vs. Netbooks vs. Tablet PCs:

Starting with the basics of any computer comparison we’ll discuss what device does exactly what and how to decide which one suits your needs best.

Which of these is your primary need?

Netbooks: For the frequent traveller, netbooks are desired not just for their cheaper prices but because they are very portable and lightweight. With the small size, decreased weight, greater battery life netbooks perform great outdoors, in trains or flights.

Laptops: This category has existed so long it doesn’t need a description. Add greater processing power, increased weight, lesser battery life to a netbook and you arrive here. If you watch a lot of movies, play intensive games and need a larger screen to work(13″ to 17″) this is what you need.

Tablet PCs: Tablet PCs these days are the most portable form of computing devices after smart phones. They have touch screens with virtual keyboards. Available in the sizes from 9″ to 11″ tablets are great for people with lesser computing needs. If all you are going to do is read ebooks, browse some websites, email, video chat and some occasional spreadsheet or text editor work, tablets are the best option for you.

What is your budget?

Budget is not the most important but definitely one of the deciding factors here.

Netbooks: These mostly fall between $300 – $500(INR 13K – 22K) depending on the configuration. The pricier ones carry greater storage capacity and more importantly ability to play HD content.

Laptops: They start from $500(INR 22K) and have no upward limit really. If budget is very important for you and lays a constraint the laptops vs. netbooks war is instantly over with netbooks emerging victorious.

Tablet PCs: These typically fall in the bracket of $500 – $800(INR 22K – 37K). Given the decreased complexity associated with computing tasks, for some people the price is well worth it.

Which are the best available products in the market now?

Well, this part is a little subjective. I have listed the most popular and highest selling products in each category.

Netbooks: The Dell Mini 10 and HP Mini 210 are great contenders. Samsung offers some really great competition too with the N150 and NF210. Specs are mostly same with all, so choose one whose design appeals to you more. Make sure you do a hands-on on the keyboard and trackpad to check which model feels most comfortable to you. Trust me, this matters a lot.

Laptops: You don’t need examples here. There’s tons of options out there from the likes of HP, Dell and Apple’s Mac among others.

Tablet PCs:  Great new options available here ranging from the iPad(note: if you are considering this wait for iPad 2), Samsung Galaxy Tab and the HP TouchPad (revealed this week). 2011 is really going to see new winners in this segment.


The choice is finally upto you. Lay more stress on your needs than the budget. And my golden rule is that never purchase a device in a category you haven’t tried yourself. If you don’t find yourself comfortable with it you will regret your purchase. So visit a store, try each and then make the final decision. Do let us know about it, fellas!

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