What's the difference between notebooks, netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs?

Netbooks vs. Notebooks

The Eee PC 1000 HA is a 10-inch (25.4-centimeter) netbook computer.
The Eee PC 1000 HA is a 10-inch (25.4-centimeter) netbook computer.
© Amazon

Notebook computers are lighter than the laptops we looked at in the previous section. They usually have screens ranging from 12 to 17 inches (30.5 to 43.2 centimeters) and weigh around 5 to 6 pounds (2.3 to 2.7 kilograms). Ideally, a notebook computer has the same processing power and features as larger laptop computers. Many manufacturers charge a premium price for the convenience of a small computer that packs a big punch.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 is a notebook computer. It has a 13.3-inch (33.8 centimeter) screen and weighs only 3.2 pounds (1.5 kilograms), making it a lightweight in the notebook category. When closed, it measures only .9 inches (2.3 centimeters) thick. It also has many of the features you'd find in a typical laptop computer: a WiFi card, a Bluetooth antenna, a dual-core processor, 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM and a 64-GB solid-state hard drive. It also has a DVD drive and an integrated Web camera. It comes with the Windows Vista operating system.

Netbook computers are relative newcomers to the computer market. The general definition for a netbook computer is that they are smaller, less powerful and less expensive than notebook computers.

When they first began to get attention in early 2008, netbooks seemed to contradict the popular philosophy in the computer market. For many years, the prevailing strategy for computer consumers was to find the fastest, most powerful computer in their price range. But consumers are beginning to understand that they don't necessarily need a bleeding-edge computer for most of the tasks they perform. And as the Web takes a more prevalent role in computing, the processing requirements for consumer computers become less demanding.

Though people disagree on specific metrics for netbooks, in general they have screens smaller than 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) and weigh only one or two pounds (.5 to .9 kilograms). Typically they cost between $300 and $600. An example is the Asus EEE PC 4G. It weighs two pounds (.9 kilograms) and has a seven-inch (17.8 centimeter) screen. The processor is an Intel Celeron M 353/630 megahertz chip and it has 512 megabytes of RAM. It comes with a 4 GB solid-state hard drive and costs around $400.