Netbooks are low-powered laptops with low prices, small screens and small keyboards. They can appear to be a bargain if you’re after a more portable replacement for your old laptop orPC but, for many people, a tablet is a better purchase these days.
A few years ago, netbooks were hot property. Instead of shelling out over a thousand pounds for an ultra-portable laptop, you could have something that was just as light (and maybe smaller) for a couple of hundred pounds.
That was before the iPad, though.
Some people laughed and scoffed when Steve Jobs first showed off the original iPad back in 2010, claiming that no-one needed a touchscreen slate as we already had laptops and netbooks. However, three years later, the tablet is certainly here to stay; netbooks have faded away.
There are several reasons why you’re probably better off with a tablet.
First, they’re considerably lighter and more portable than a netbook, even if you go for one with a 10in screen. The biggest tablets have 11.6in screens, and tend to be those running Windows 8.
Second, tablets are ‘always-on’. The benefit of having a device that never really switches off can’t be underestimated. Where a netbook could take a minute or two to boot up, a tablet is instantly ready to go when you tap the sleep/wake button.
Tablets can be turned off completely, but there’s usually no need. Unlike a netbook which will typically last only a day or so in sleep mode, a tablet could last for weeks.
This brings us neatly to the third tablet advantage: battery life. Although there are some dire tablets out there, choose wisely and you’ll be able to use one all day and not even think about finding a charger. Even the best netbook can’t compete with a long-lasting tablet, and many last only a few hours before conking out.
Fourth, tablets have touchscreens. This means you don’t often miss a keyboard or touchpad since every app is designed to be used with your fingers. As well as being well suited to browsing photos, choosing music and watching videos, tablets are also great for browsing the web. Modern touchscreens are surprisingly sensitive, so you can accurately ‘click’ on web links without zooming in on most websites – forget any notion of them being like your car satnav with its old-school screen that needed a good prod to register your input.