Netbook or Laptop – The Differences Continue To Be Blurred – IMHO

I got an email from an acquaintance of mine asking me about what to buy, a netbook or a laptop.

Hi Ron, I read your article about computer reliability and noticed that Asus was rated #1 and Toshiba was #2. I am looking for a portable computer and I am somewhat confused as to the difference between two systems I am looking at which are close in price. One is an Asus Eee netbook for $329.99 and a Toshiba which is priced at $379.99. Both are at Best Buy.

Which would you buy?

What is really hard about giving advice on which computer to buy is if something goes wrong with the model you recommend, guess who the bad guy is? The second problem is putting your own preferences aside. I’m a Toshiba laptop guy. So with this in mind I took a look at the two brands and compared them.

The Asus comes with an Atom 1.3 GHz cpu, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB sata hard disk, 12.” screen and no optical drive. The operating system is Microsoft Windows XP with SP3. The Asus weighs only 3 lbs. and has 6.5 hours of battery life. This makes it ideal for traveling.

The Toshiba comes with a Celeron cpu at 2.2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 250 GB data hard disk, 15.6 screen and a DVD burner. The Toshiba weighs 6 lbs. and has only 2.5 hours of battery life. The operating system is Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium.

At first glance the Toshiba seems like a better buy. Bigger screen, faster processor, more memory, larger hard disk and Windows 7. But what it really comes down to is what are you going to use the laptop for?

For home use I would go with the Toshiba laptop. But if you are a road warrior and spend a lot of time in airports, buy the Asus.

That is my 2 cents. What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Asus Eee netbook at Best Buy for $329.99

Toshiba laptop at Best Buy for $379.99

Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Goose

    I think he is in worse trouble if he doesn’t agree with you…….

  • Ron Schenone

    I think you are right! LOL

  • Scott Haviland

    Hi Ron,
    I have to agree with you! IMO For the money Toshiba is by far the best buy. Your advice was very good.

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks Scott.

  • Buffet

    Looks like he went to the right place for advice. I’d go with the Toshiba lapdance as well.

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks Buffet.

  • laura

    Hi. Not that it really matters but I’m curious. Am I the only female to post to this site?
    Now, I still don’t get it. That’s probably because screen size is irrelevant to me since I’m totally blind. Also, I don’t want Windows 7 I want XP Home; don’t want to pay extra for xp professional. So, are there differences in the sizes of the keyboards on a Netbook versus a laptop? I like the longer battery life of the Asus as well. Do you know if there are any other laptops/netbook still on the market with Windows XP home? (Are there different keyboard commands for things like screen reading software between Asus and Toshiba? I used to have a big old clunker of a Toshiba laptop. Back then,laptops were new and way more expensive than PCs but I had limited space so it served its purpose pretty well for what I needed. Alas, it died years ago. So, other than memory and operating system (and battery life) can you tell me what the real differences between (not just Toshiba and Asus) netbooks and laptops? Is it that netbooks never have the same or greater amount of memory? Is it the size of the keyboard? Since I’ve never had my hands on a netbook I just don’t know these really basic and nostly physical and accessibility issues. Also, do they have built-in mouse? My old Toshiba had one but it was like a touch screen and was really easy to hit by mistake, not a good thing when you’re working as a medical transcriber.
    Thank you for taking time to read. I look forward to your anser whether it’s on this site or to my private email. Maybe the answer would be too basic and boring to really savvy tech people. My husband is; I’m not. But I’m becoming more knowledgeable since we got married. I have to be. (smile) It’s a survival technique. I’m a teacher which requires, among other things, patience. My husband is not a teacher and doesn’t have the patience to answer a lot of my questions. Oh, one more thing. How many USB ports does a netbook have or is it different with each brand? Can any of them work well with a Braille display? What about OCR software like Kurzweil, a software program that has within it several scanning engines and is designed for blind people and one of their programs is meant for people with learning disabilities like dyslexia so it provides both auditory and visual feedback. I have the former, or rather, my husband does. I have a stand alone scanner that has accessible software synthesized voices. It looks like an old Xerox machine and there are portable readers but they’re outrageously priced so I’m fine with the tabletop model except I bought it used and it’s almost ten years old and what my husband has on his computer is a state-of-the-art scanner/ocr system with a hardware scanner connected to it and the software on the hard drive of the computer.
    But I digress. The original question related to the differences between netbooks and laptops. Answers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Ron Schenone

    Hello Laura,
    Most who post here are men.

    Thank you for telling about your requirements. You most definitely need a laptop to run your stuff. Netbooks are basically for those who need a light weight computer for email, surfing and the like.

    If I understand your questions about the software you have, it would appear that a Windows XP box would be your best option, without having to upgrade your software, which I believe is fairly expensive.

    I do not have the knowledge to advise you further, since I am naive when it comes to computers for blind users. Sorry.

    But I will do this. I am going to post your questions in a separate article and see what type of response we get.

    Regards, Ron

    Here is the link to the article:

  • Harry

    Hi Laura,
    I’m also a blind user.
    You for sure, don’t want a netbook. They are too slow, don’t have a fast enough processor, and don’t have enough ram. Stick with a laptop and not a netbook, I’m glad I did!