Initially, notebooks were designed primarily for emerging markets. They were an excellent alternative to traditional laptops due to their more portable sizes and low costs. However, over time, they have become quite popular as an intermediate choice between laptops and tablets.

Their great success is due to the fact that most users only use these computers for very basic tasks. For this reason, notebooks don’t really need powerful equipment which usually implies a significant hike in cost. By the same token, these computers are also ideal for users who need lightweight, easy-to-carry equipment.

Key Facts

  • Notebooks were originally designed for emerging markets, but over time their use has spread to other areas in developed markets.
  • These computers are lighter and smaller than traditional laptops, making them perfect travel companions.
  • They are mainly used for surfing web and carrying out office automation and administrative tasks. They are the middle choice between mobile devices, such as tablets or mobile phones, and laptops or desktops. Today, their performance capabilities have increased considerably.

Ranking: The best netbooks on the market

Here’s our ranking of the top five netbooks currently available on the market, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Each of them stands out for some outstanding feature. Nonetheless, they are all products that offer good value for your money.

No. 1: Apple, MacBook Air

Apple’s MacBook Air is a fast computer with a very sleek and elegant design. It integrates an Intel Core i5 dual-core and a 1.8 GHz microprocessor. It has 8 GB of RAM memory, which will even allow you to use powerful programs such as Photoshop. It also boasts an excellent 13″ Retina display screen.

This notebook comes with a 128GB SSD hard drive and an Intel HD Graphics 6000 card. In short, this notebook has many great features. With it, you’ll have an ultra-portable computer with the power and performance of a much larger device. This computer is certainly pricy, but it’s performance is backed by Apple’s reputation for making high quality and long lasting products.

No. 2: HP, Stream

This notebook offers some awesome features. With a great design and weighing in at only 0.64 kg, this is a computer that you can take with you anywhere. It integrates an Intel Caleron N4000 processor with a 1.1 GHz (Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz) and a 4GB DDR4 SDRAM and a 64 eMMC drive. In simple terms, this basically means it can store 42,000 photos, 18,000 songs or 32 hours of HD video and more.

It features 2×2 802.11ac WLAN capabilities, integrated Bluetooth 4.2 technology and a front-facing VGA webcam and microphone. It is a great notebook to switch between work, emails and leisurely uses like social media and streaming videos.

No. 3: Lenovo, Ideapad 120s

This notebook comes at a truly unbeatable price, considering it integrates an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, Dual Core, 1.1 GHz up to 2.4 GHz and a RAM of 2 GB DDR4, 2400MHz. It also comes with a 64 GB EMMC hard drive. In addition, it also has 802.11 AC WLAN capabilities, Bluetooth, 1x HDMI port, 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports and a 4-in-1 media card reader.

The Lenovo 120S-11IAP Ideapad features an 11.6″ HD LED touchscreen display. Moreover, it also integrates an Intel HD 500 graphics card. Its battery offers 8 hours of unplugged use time. In short, this is a computer that combines very good performance with an elegant design at a very affordable price.

No. 4: Lenovo, Yoga 300-11IBR

Lenovo Yoga 300-11IBR features an Intel N3060 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 64 GB flash memory capacity. At a graphics level it integrates an Intel HD Graphics 400 card. It has an 11.6″ screen with HD TN GL TOUCH(FLAT) technology. Following the standard, Windows 10 Home (64 bit) operating system comes installed.

With this notebook you will be able to enjoy customizable equipment made possible by it’s rotating and folding 360º design. In addition, this device is ultra-thin, extremely light and it offers eight hours of battery life -perfect for taking with you anywhere. Buyers report its performance to be really impressive for a notebook.

No. 5: Lenovo, Ideapad 110S

This Lenovo model comes with an 11.6″ HD screen, an Intel Celeron N3060 Processor, 1.6 GHz, Dual Core and a RAM of 2 GB DDR3L, 1600 MHz. It incorporates a 32 GB SSD hard drive and an Intel HD Graphics 400 card. It also works with Windows 10 Home. The battery lasts approximately 10 hours.

This option is a very affordable device that also performs well. It’s perfect for web browsing, office work and Youtube videos. It is specially designed to be durable and mobile. This product is also backed by the brand reputation of Lenovo.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know when buying a notebook

When looking to purchase a notebook, it is recommended to take into account a series of questions that users often have. Keep in mind there are different types of notebooks, each with specific characteristics and features. So, in this section we address the most frequently asked questions of buyers to help facilitate your search.

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As a reference, the minimum price of a good netbook is usually around 40 dollars. (Source: Samborskyi: 91652398/123rf.com)

What is a notebook exactly?

There is no exact definition of what notebooks are. In general, they are smaller and lighter than laptops. The latter, in turn, are smaller and less heavy than traditional portable computers. However, the truth is that there is no clearly defined characteristic to differentiate them.

Notebooks normally have a screen between 7″ and 14″, while their weight is usually less than two kilograms. These machines are less powerful than their “big brothers”. Moreover, they are also considerably cheaper than laptops with an average cost of 500 dollars.

What are the main applications for notebooks?

In general, notebooks are used for very basic tasks. They can be used to browse the Internet, work with word processors, or work with spreadsheets. Ultimately, these are actually the same features most commonly used by the vast majority of laptop owners.

Notebooks, however, are not designed to edit videos or play state-of-the-art video games. At most, they allow simple editing of images.

Furthermore, since they do not have very powerful processors, they are not designed to perform several tasks at the same time.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of notebooks?

Notebooks are smaller and lighter than laptops and desktops. Therefore, they are ideal for travel, or for those who do not need a particularly powerful equipment. Last but not least, its price is significantly lower than that of a laptop.

Because they don’t have powerful processors, they can’t be used for a lot of more complicated tasks. In addition, both their keyboard and their screen are smaller than those of a laptop. They don’t usually have a CD or DVD player and have fewer ports. Lastly, their battery does not usually last more than four or five hours, so they don’t have great battery life.

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There are high-end, powerful models with prices that can surpass 1,000 dollars. (Source: Dny3d: 101557294/123rf.com)

Who are notebooks recommended for?

Notebooks are ideal for people who do not require very powerful laptops. The average user can find a perfect alternative in this equipment to meet all their needs. You should consider buying a notebook if you only need a computer to surf the Internet and to perform basic office tasks.

Similarly, you should consider the option of a notebook if you often use your laptop away from home and want to travel light. Also, if you travel a lot and want equipment that takes up little space in your luggage. Don’t forget, these devices are also perfect for those who have a limited budget.

Advantages
  • Very affordable
  • Light and small
  • Easy to transport
  • Connectivity possibilities
Disadvantages
  • Not very powerful processors
  • Smaller dimensions
  • No DVD reader and limited port options

What are the minimum requirements I should look for in a notebook?

If you want smooth and good performance, we recommend at least a 1.6 GHz microprocessor. As far as RAM is concerned, it should be at least 2 GB. The hard disk should have at least 160 GB of capacity. And the battery should offer a minimum battery life of four hours. It should allow Wifi and Bluetooth connection.

What care do notebooks require?

A notebook requires the same care as any laptop. For starters, it is very important to avoid shock exposure. Often, many of the problems these computers present are due to small accidents and bumps. It should go without saying that it is important to avoid getting them wet and leaving them in humid and corrosive environments.

It’s advisable to keep it in a good laptop sleeve. Try to keep it connected to an electric outlet whenever possible. This way, you’ll extend the life of the battery.

Try to keep the equipment clean and dust-free. Remember it is also very important that they are protected with good antivirus software to avoid viruses and breaches.

Purchase Criteria

Next, we’re going to discuss a number of important aspects you should consider before purchasing a notebook. In doing so, you’ll be more likely to be satisfied with the purchase you make. We wouldn’t want you to be disappointed by the performance of your new tool after a few months.

  • Intended Use
  • RAM
  • Microprocessor
  • Hard drive capacity
  • Screen size
  • Battery life
  • Brand
  • Operating system
  • Accessories

Intended use

One of the most important things to consider when buying a notebook is a clear vision of what it will be used for. If you purchase a notebook expecting a powerful performance and multi-tasking, you will be frustrated, this type of equipment is not meant to have these capabilities. Remember that a notebook is ideal to perform very basic and mundane tasks.

Another thing to consider is how often you will be using it. You should also consider under what circumstances and in what environments it will be used in.. If you’re going to work with it mainly at home, then you might want to opt for a more robust laptop.

RAM

RAM, or random access memory, is what computers use as working memory. Hence its great importance in the performance of a computer. More specifically, RAM stores all the information processed by the microprocessor and all the data manipulated by the programs.

Actually, many of the most common performance problems are due to insufficient RAM capacity. It is also one of the reasons why notebooks are limited to a number of basic tasks. Our advice is that you opt for a device with good RAM memory.

Microprocessor

The microprocessor becomes the brain of a computer. It is responsible for performing the calculations and processing the information. In short, it is in charge of executing all the programs and applications. The better the specs on the computer, the better the notebook will manage operations with a faster and more agile performance.

Along with RAM, these are the aspects that will determine the performance capabilities of the computer you choose. Unfortunately, due to the special characteristics of notebooks, they do not usually have very powerful microprocessors. However, some manufacturers are starting to offer notebooks with a surprisingly powerful performance.

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Notebooks are very easy to transport. (Source: Belchonock: 96494184/123rf.com)

Hard drive capacity

The hard drive is the part of the computer where all the information is stored. The programs are installed there and all files are saved there. Greater storage capacity ensures you can store more and larger files. However, it is important to remember that this aspect does not have a fundamental influence on performance.

Our advice is that if you have to sacrifice something, sacrifice hard drive storage. If you ever reach the point where you need more storage, you can always use an external hard drive – these actually keep getting cheaper, smaller and now offer much better performance.

Size of display

It is understood that the size of a notebook screen will be smaller than that of a traditional laptop. The most common size in most manufacturers is around 10″ or 11″. Smaller display models are available. However, we do not recommend the latter option if you intend to use it to watch movies or multimedia content.

Battery Life

The battery life offered by a notebook is a fundamental aspect to keep in mind when choosing which one to buy. Depending on it’s intended use, it is likely you will use it in spaces where there is no access to an electricity outlet. It probably goes without saying that you won’t be amused if your computer dies just when you’re finishing a report for work.

We suggest you choose a computer that gives you a range of at least four or five hours of battery life. Moreover, keep in mind that with use and continuous charging the battery loses capacity. In the long run, investing a little more in a notebook with good battery life may be the best option, ensuring an extended useful life.

Brand

Today there are many laptop manufacturers. Some are specialized in low-cost models. Others, on the other hand, have a reputation of offering products of great quality. Ultimately, the brand you choose will depend on what you’re looking for. Our advice is to choose a notebook from a recognized brand and with warranty.

Apple is renowned for its commitment to innovation and design. Asus, on the other hand, offers great value for your money. HP is, without a doubt, one of the most prestigious brands in the sector. It is a benchmark thanks to the quality of its equipment. Lenovo has come to stand out for offering quality laptops at very affordable prices.

Operating system

You can choose between Windows or Linux. Unless you choose an Apple device, in which case the operating system will be Apple’s iOS. If you choose Linux, you’ll enjoy faster boot time and a free, open source operating system. Windows, on the other hand, ensures much greater compatibility (it can even be installed in Mac computers).

Since the performance requirements of notebooks are quite small, many work well with Linux. Those that do work with Windows sometimes use previous versions, since not all of them support the most current operating systems. Not so long ago, only the mid- and high-end devices could enjoy the latest versions of Windows.

Accessories

It is essential that you choose a notebook that has at least 2 USB ports, WiFi and Bluetooth connection capabilities. In addition, it should have a headphone jack and a built-in microphone for when your Bluetooth headphones run out of battery. Conversely, it should also incorporate a good camera and if at all possible, have it come with an SD card reader.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a CD and DVD player, they are becoming more and more obsolete. Also, keep in mind that when buying a notebook, in order to keep them light and mobile the manufacturer must make cutbacks. Remember this equipment is specially designed to be very light and to have reduced capabilities along with dimensions.

Summary

Notebooks are tiny laptops. They are ideal for people who only want them to surf the Internet and other basic tasks. Thanks to their small dimensions and low weight, they can be easily transported. In this sense, they are the perfect travel companions.

When buying a notebook it is important that you take into account a number of variables. Don’t overlook technical specifications like RAM and microprocessor. Moreover, it is advisable to opt for one that offers a minimum battery life of four hours. It is usually a safe bet to choose a trusted, reputable brand.

We hope you found this guide useful and if you did we would appreciate it if you could share it with friends and leave us your thoughts. In the meantime, we wish you good luck with your purchase and enjoy your new notebook.

(Featured image source: Belchonock: 96500264/123rf.com)

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