Both netbooks and laptops have LCD screens and keyboards that are connected by hinges. They both run on rechargeable batteries. That’s where the similarities between these two types of computer end.
Although netbooks and laptops are both designed for mobile use, the netbook is a significantly scaled-down version of a traditional laptop.
Most laptops are powerful enough for everday use and can perform the same functions as a desktop computer — word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia web browsing and more. Laptops have standard-size keyboards and screens 11 inches and up.
Netbooks are designed for portability, with smaller keyboards and screens — generally from 7 to 10 inches — barebones applications and stripped-down operating systems. At three to five pounds, netbooks are also lighter than most laptops, which can weigh as much as 10 pounds.
Netbooks don’t typically have an optical drive, so they cannot read data on a DVD or CD. As their name implies, netbooks are designed for applications that rely on Internet access, such as email and other web-based applications. Netbooks offer very little in the way of data storage capability.
When netbooks were introduced in 2008, tablet computers had not taken off and smartphones were lacking the functionality and data speeds for many tasks.