Netbooks buying guide

Netbooks are designed to be as small and light as possible, which makes them highly portable with screens around ten inches in size, while weighing as little as 1kg. Often these models can provide a battery life of up to eight hours, so you're able to use them all day.

Due to the size and power restrictions, netbooks tend to be lower-priced than even entry-level laptops, making them highly affordable.

Almost all netbooks use a low-power, low-cost Intel Atom processor. Because of this, their small screen size and limited memory, netbooks tend to be good for browsing the web, internet use and light office work but not for anything more demanding.

They're not designed to replace desktop or laptop systems, but make perfect second systems so you can browse on the sofa or use them as a low-cost system for children or students.

You should also be aware that due to their small size netbooks don't come with an optical drive. This means if you want to install any software or watch films these have to be copied from the internet or your local network beforehand.

As a guide here's an example of a typical netbook's system specification:

Home and business work

  • Processor: Intel Atom or AMD Neo
  • Memory: 1GB
  • Hard drive: 80GB+
  • Graphics: Integrated
  • Display: 10-inch
  • Optical drive: None