Types of Laptops: Ultrabooks vs Netbooks vs Notebooks


So, you want to buy a laptop and you’re a bit confused by all these words: Ultrabook, Netbook and Notebook. What do they all mean? What’s the difference between these types of laptops, and which one of these types of laptops is the best one for me?

Types of Laptops

With so many types of laptops out there, choosing the right one for you can feel daunting. Not to worry, dear reader, I’ve done all the research for you! Now, the next time you’re ready to buy a new laptop, you’ll know exactly which device will fit your needs.

General Differences and Similarities

First, let’s start with what Netbooks, Ultrabooks and Notebooks have in common. They have a lot more similarities than you might think! All three are designed to be lightweight and compact with a long-lasting battery (trust me, using any one of these babies will stop those withering Snape-like stares you get for hogging the outlet at Starbucks).

What’s dramatically different about these types of laptops? One of the major differences is that both Netbooks and Ultrabooks lack the optical drive of a traditional Notebook. What is an optical drive, you ask? Well, it’s the technical word for the disk drive. Which, like the beloved floppy disk drive before it, has become almost obsolete. So this may not be a huge factor in your decision when considering these types of laptops.

Choosing the best laptop ultimately comes down to what you’ll be using it for. Below, we’ll compare the pros and cons of each of these types of laptops to help you choose:

What is an Ultrabook?

Types of Laptops: Ultrabook

An Ultrabook is like the Ryan Gosling of computers. It looks good. Like really good, especially with its shirt off. Sorry, I got carried away for a moment – but the Ultrabook is a sleek, high-end, and often convertible laptop (meaning you can do away with the keyboard when necessary) device that meets specific criteria set forth and trademarked by Intel.

They have superior performance power due to their heavy duty Intel core processors and an extended battery life that exceeds a minimum of five hours. Of course, the downside of the high-end design of these 2-in-1 laptops is a high-end price tag. The Ultrabook ain’t cheap – but it’s the best laptop if you need the extra torque the Intel processor provides for multimedia presentations, running applications, or watching videos in HD.

What is a Netbook?

Types of Laptops: Netbook

On the outside, a Netbook looks kind of like an Ultrabook. It’s slender and lightweight, but what it’s missing is the hardcore computing power of Ryan Gosling, I mean the Ultrabook. Of the three, Netbooks are the smallest laptops — typically they weigh less than a kilogram (or less than two pounds). They also have a screen size of less than 11 inches, so if a large display is a must, then you may want to consider an Ultrabook or a Notebook.

If you need a laptop for basic tasks like surfing the web (do people still use that as a phrase?), gchatting at work, or listening to music, then the Netbook is the way to go. As an added bonus, Netbooks start at around $300.00. With that kind of affordability, the Netbook is a great option if you’re in the market for a new computer.

What is a Notebook?

Types of Laptops: Notebook

A Notebook is a little larger than either the Netbook or Ultrabook, and also has an optical drive, which you could use to watch the Redbox DVD you never returned of THE Notebook, starring none other than Ryan Gosling.

The Notebook (the computer, not the movie) has become synonymous with what most people would consider a “regular” laptop. This device is designed to be used like a desktop (remember those dinosaurs?) that you can take anywhere. Notebooks also have the largest screen size compared to other laptops, so if your job requires video/photo editing or you like watching HD videos, then a Notebook is the best laptop for the job.

However, Notebooks, as traditional laptops lack the 2-in-1 laptop style of the Ultrabook, making them a bit more cumbersome. Notebook has really become a catchall term for anything that isn’t an Ultrabook or a Netbook, so pricing varies wildly, with some costing up to a couple thousand dollars.

What is the Best Type of Laptop For You?

There’s a lot of overlap with devices these days. When deciding which device is the right fit for you, think about what you want to do with your new device.

Types of Laptops: What do you want?

Are you purchasing a new computer for work-related projects? An Ultrabook or a Notebook is the way to go.

If you need to work while you travel, the compact high-power Ultrabook is your best bet. If you just need a new computer for shopping online or checking your email, I would recommend a less expensive Netbook.

Now, young techie, go forth and use your newfound knowledge to find a great deal on an Ultrabook, Netbook or Notebook!

For more articles like these, check out our tech tips section!

Author: Katie

A Tar Heel born and bred, Katie hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. When she isn’t writing or shopping online, you can find her hiking a mountain trail, perfecting her no-bake cookie recipe, or secretly reading romance novels on her Kindle.

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