Originally, netbooks were designed primarily for emerging markets overseas. Their low price made them an excellent alternative to traditional laptops. However, over time they have become popular as an intermediate option between laptops and tablets.

Their great success is due to the fact that most users only use their devices for fairly basic tasks. This means they don’t need very powerful equipment which requires a large economic investment. At the same time, netbooks are ideal for those users who need lightweight equipment which is easy to transport.

Key Facts

  • They were originally designed for emerging markets but over time their use has become more widespread
  • They are lighter and smaller than traditional laptops, which makes them perfect travel companions
  • They are principally used for surfing the internet and performing office tasks. They are the intermediate option between mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones, and laptops. At the moment their benefits have increased considerably.

Ranking: The best netbooks on the Australian market

Below we have our ranking of the five best netbooks currently available on the market. Each one has features making them ideally suitable to particular needs. In this way, all the products have a good price-quality ratio. This will help you to choose the product which is best suited to your own needs.

No. 1: ASUS 10.1” EeePC Meego Netbook

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This high-end netbook from ASUS is sleek and lightweight while being heavy on features. ASUS is a very well-regarded brand, known for its quality products and excellent support. This netbook is a good choice for those looking for a small model: it has a screen which only just over 10 inches, it is also very thin and weighs around 2 kg, making it extremely portable.

However, unlike many other netbooks of this size, it comes with 8 GB of RAM and a powerful 1.66 GHz processor. In terms of speed and performance, this puts it well ahead of the majority of other netbooks on the market. This does come with a higher price tag but is worth considering if you would like to use your netbook for more than just basic tasks.

No. 2: HP Stream 11 Pro G4

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HP is a brand which is well known for providing high quality, reliable computers, and particularly when it comes to smaller models. The Stream 11 Pro G4 is ultra-portable with a screen size of just 11.6 inches and weighing not more than 2 kg, and also features an Intel HD Graphics 500 processor making it perfect for watching movies or multimedia files.

It has a respectable 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB flash memory, which translates to good processing compared to other netbooks of this size. This may not be as high-performing as the previous netbook on this list, but still puts it ahead of many computers of a similar size. With the Steam 11 Pro you will be able to comfortably manage word processing, internet browsing and watch videos with no issues.

No. 3: Toshiba 10.1” Netbook

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This small netbook comes from Toshiba, one of the world’s best recognised technology brands in terms of value for money. Toshiba is known for making affordable models which punch above their weight in terms of performance and features. This Toshiba 10″ netbook is no exception.

With a 10 inch screen and weighing just 1.32 kg, this model is one of the lightest on the market. Thanks to its small size, this device is perfectly suited for those who need to travel often. RAM is limited to 1GB meaning that performance and processing times are relatively low, but this will be all you need for simple word processing or internet browsing on the go.

No. 4: Goldengulf Android Jelly Bean Netbook

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This netbook from budget brand Goldengulf is designed especially for children. It has models coming in a bright range of candy-colours, that kids will love. It is also extremely well priced – a fraction of the cost of most laptops – making this affordable even for families with more than one child.

The Jelly Bean Netbook is perfectly suited to small hands, with a tiny 7-inch screen.  It also weighs less than a kilo, meaning little ones can easily carry this in their school bag. As you would expect for its size and price, the RAM and processor is very limited but should meet your children’s computing needs.

No. 5: Smartbook  A116 11”

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Falling somewhere between a notebook and a netbook, this computer from brand Smart is ultra-thin and extremely lightweight. At just 0.8 kg, this netbook is extremely portable and could be slipped into your backpack or handbag. It would be an excellent choice to take on your travels, or even to simply carry with you to work, uni, or as you go about your daily business.

Don’t let the small size deceive you, however: this is a functional netbook. It comes with an Intel quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. Although not the fastest or highest performing netbook on the market, it delivers a very reasonable performance for its size.

Shopping Guide: What you need to know about netbooks

Before getting a netbook it is a good idea to consider a series of questions. Don’t forget that there are different types of netbooks, each with specific characteristics. For this reason, in this section, we deal with the most frequently asked questions asked by users so that you can be happy with your purchase.

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As a point of reference, the minimum price for a good-quality laptop is around 700 dollars.(Source: Samborskyi: 91652398/ 123rf.com)

What is a netbook exactly?

There is not an exact definition for netbooks. In general, they are smaller and lighter than notebooks. The latter, in turn, are smaller and less heavy than traditional laptops. However, the truth is that there are no clearly defined rules to differentiate them.

Netbooks usually have a screen between 7 “and 14”, and usually weigh under two kilograms. These are less powerful equipment than their “big brothers”. However, they are also cheaper than laptops with a normal price of around  300 dollars.

What are the main uses for netbooks?

In general, netbooks are usually used for reasonably basic tasks. They can be used to browse the internet or work with word processors or spreadsheets. After all, these are the functions most commonly used by the vast majority of laptop users.

Netbooks, however, are not designed to edit videos or play next-generation video games. At the most, they will let you do simple editing of images.

Also, since they do not have very powerful processors, they are not designed to perform multiple tasks at the same time.

Advantages and disadvantages of netbooks

Netbooks are smaller and lighter than notebooks and laptops. They are therefore ideal to take with you when travelling, or for people who do not need particularly powerful equipment. And of course, their price is significantly lower than that of a laptop.

Since they are not very powerful, they cannot be used for many tasks. Additionally, their keyboard and screen are smaller than those of a laptop. They do not usually have a drive for CDs or DVDs, and their battery does not usually last more than four or five hours so they are not very independent.

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There are high-end models whose price can exceed two thousand dollars.(Source: Dny3d: 101557294/ 123rf.com)

Who would be recommended to buy a netbook?

Netbooks are ideal for people who do not need a powerful laptop. The average user will find these computers a good alternative. You should consider buying a netbook if you need a computer only to surf the internet and to perform basic office tasks. Similarly, you should consider the option of an ultraportable if you often take your laptop away from home and want something lightweight, or if you travel frequently and want a device that does not take up too much space in your luggage. Finally, they are perfect for those who have a very limited budget.

Advantages
  • Very economical
  • Small and lightweight
  • Easy to transport
  • Connectivity
Disadvantages
  • Not very powerful
  • Smaller dimensions
  • No DVD player

What are the minimum recommended requirements?

If you want reasonable performance, a netbook with at least a 1.6 GHz microprocessor is recommended. As for RAM, it should be a minimum of 2 GB. The hard disk should have at least 160 GB of capacity. And the battery should offer a minimum capacity of four hours. The device should also be able to connect via Wifi and Bluetooth.

How do you look after a netbook?

A netbook needs the same care and maintenance as any laptop. Firstly, it is important to avoid hitting or dropping your netbook. Often, many of the problems experienced by these computers are due to small accidents. Of course, it is important to avoid getting it wet or leaving your netbook in a humid and corrosive environment.

It is a good idea to keep it in a good laptop case. Try to keep it connected to your charger whenever possible. This will lengthen the life of the battery.

Try to keep the computer clean and free of dust. It is also vital to protect it with good antivirus software.

Shopping criteria

Next, we will evaluate a number of important issues that you should consider before buying a netbook. This means that you will be more likely to be satisfied with your purchase. We would hate it if you become disappointed with the performance of your device after a few months.

  • What you will use it for
  • RAM
  • Microprocessor
  • Hard disk size
  • The size of the screen
  • Autonomy
  • Brand
  • The operating system
  • Accessories

What you will use it for

It’s important to have a very clear idea of what you are intending to use your notebook for. After buying a netbook, people will often discover that their expectations are not met. This is because they wanted things from their device which it cannot deliver. Remember that a netbook is designed to only perform very basic tasks.

Therefore it is a good idea to take the time to think about how often you will use your new computer. In the same way, consider in what circumstances and where you will use it. If you are going to work mostly at home, you may be better off opting for a laptop.

Memory/RAM

RAM, or random access memory, is the working memory used by computers, so it is vital to the performance of any piece of computing equipment. In particular, RAM stores all the information processed by the microprocessor and all the data used by programs. The RAM, or random access memory, is what computers use as working memory. Hence its great importance in the performance of a team. In particular, the RAM stores all the information processed by the microprocessor and all the data manipulated by the programs.

In fact, many of the most common performance problems are due to insufficient RAM capacity. It is also one of the reasons why netbooks can only perform a few basic tasks. Our advice is to consider a device with good RAM.

Microprocessor

The microprocessor is essentially the brain of a computer. It is responsible for performing calculations and processing information. In short, it is responsible for running all programs and applications. The better the microprocessor, the faster and more agile the netbook will be and the better it will operate.

Along with RAM, the microprocessor is one of the two factors which determine how well your computer performs. Unfortunately, due to the nature of netbooks, they don’t usually have very powerful microprocessors. However, some manufacturers are starting to offer these devices with quite surprising features.

Netbook3

Netbooks are easy to transport.(Source: Belchonock: 96494184/ 123rf.com)

Hard drive capacity

The hard drive is the part of the computer which stores all the information. It is where programs are installed and where all files are saved. Higher storage capacity means you can store more and larger files. However, it is important to note that it does not have a fundamental influence on performance.

Our advice is that, if you have to sacrifice something, sacrifice the capacity of the hard drive. When you come to need more capacity, you can always resort to using an external hard drive. These are also becoming increasingly cheaper, smaller and offering more and more benefits.

The size of the screen

It makes sense that the screen size of a notebook is smaller than that of a traditional notebook. The most common size for most manufacturers is in the order of 10″ or 11″. There are models with smaller screens. However, we do not recommend the latter option if you intend to use it to watch moves or multimedia content.

Autonomy

The autonomy a netbook battery gives you is a fundamental aspect to consider when choosing which one to buy. Very often you are going to use it in places where you do not have access to a power point. It will surely be an issue if you need to shut down your computer just as you’re finishing an important report for work.

Choose a device which gives you autonomy for at least four or five hours. Regardless, keep in mind that with continuous use and continuous recharging the battery will lose capacity. In the long term, it will be a good option to invest a little more in a netbook with a better battery. In this way, you will prolong its useful life.

Brand

There are currently a great number of manufacturers of laptops. Some are specialized in low-cost models. Others, on the other hand, are known for offering high-quality products. Ultimately, choosing the brand will depend on what you are looking for. Our advice is that you choose a netbook from a recognized brand. Apple has earned popularity for its commitment to innovation and design. Asus, meanwhile, offers great value for money. HP is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious brands in the industry and has gained this reputation thanks to the quality of their products. Lenovo, on the other hand, stands out for offering quality laptops at very attractive prices.

Operating system

In terms of the operating system, you can choose between Windows and Linux. Unless you opt for an Apple model, in which case the operating system will be the one from that brand. If you decide on Linux, you’ll enjoy a free and open source operating system which boots up more quickly. Windows, on the other hand, offers much greater compatibility.

Since netbooks have quite limited features, many work with Linux. Those which work with Windows sometimes use previous versions, since not all of them support the latest operating systems. Until recently, only midrange and high-end equipment could enjoy the latest versions of Windows.

Accessories

It’s essential to choose a netbook that has at least 2 USB ports, wifi connection and a Bluetooth connection. It is also a good idea to have a headphone input and an integrated microphone. In the same way, a model that incorporates a good camera may be worth considering. And if possible, come look for one which comes with an SD card reader.

Don’t worry if you do not have CDs and DVDs, as they are being used less and less often. Also, keep in mind that you are going to buy a netbook and in some cases, these manufacturers may limit production. Remember that these devices are specially designed to be very small and light.

Summary

Netbooks are small laptops. They are ideal for those people who only want to surf the internet and perform other basic tasks. Thanks to their small size and low weight, they can be easily transported. In this way, they are perfect travel companions.

When buying a netbook, it is important that you keep in mind a series of questions. Don’t overlook important technical specifications such as the RAM and microprocessor. It is also advisable that you opt for one that offers a minimum battery life of three hours. It is also important that you invest in a trusted brand.

We hope that this guide has been useful to you. If it has been, we would appreciate it if you would share it with friends and acquaintances and leave us a comment. Meanwhile, we wish you luck with your purchase and enjoy your new netbook.

(Source of featured image: Belchonock: 96500264/ 123rf.com)

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TECHSPRING

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