The Difference Between Netbook, Notebook, and Tablet Computers

You may be confused by the various terms used to describe portable computers these days and you may be wondering what the difference between netbook, notebook, and tablet computers really is. The good new is that it’s not all that complicated.


A notebook computer is also called a laptop computer. This is the version that has been around the longest, and has that traditional laptop style where the top of the notebook opens to reveal a screen where the bottom of the notebook houses the keyboard.

Advantages to the notebook computer are that it can be quite powerful and fully functional similar to a regular personal computer that you might have at home or in the office. A notebook will also have a generous screen size. The downside to a notebook is that it is the biggest of the three and, therefore, is heavy and more bulky to carry around.

The notebook is in the middle as far as price. You can find a great deal on a powerful notebook that will last for a long time.


The netbook computer is simply a small notebook. The basic idea here was to take a notebook and make it as small and light as possible to make it more mobile. Netbooks will easily fit into a small bag and weight far less than their big brothers, the notebooks.

The best part about the netbook is its size. A netbook may even fit into a purse, so it is very mobile. It is very easy to travel with and the battery life can be quite impressive. The downside is also due to its size. Since the netbook was slimmed down you will not get as many features and your hard drive will be smaller, though sufficient for most home users. Many netbooks also omit things like optical drives and card readers, so viewing a DVD or uploading pictures may not be as simple.

A netbook will be your cheapest option of the three.


The latest addition is the tablet computer, or tablet PC. A tablet sort of looks like a notebook computer with the keyboard half missing. Instead of typing on a physical keyboard a user types on a touch screen keyboard, similar to what would happen on a touch screen smart phone.

The best thing about a tablet is that it is comfortable to hold. A tablet owner can easily read the news sitting on the couch without the weight and heat of a laptop. Tablets also use “apps” which are very user friendly ways to access internet and other content, so they are very easy to use for those who are not as good with computers. The downside is that the keyboard takes a little getting used to and, if you really plan to type rather than use apps, you will miss your old keyboard.

A tablet will cost you more than the typical netbook or notebook. In addition, many apps will cost you extra money, so be prepared to spend a few more dollars to get it going to your liking.

The Choice

In the end the choice is up to you. If you will use your computer at home or for work and need a lot of power to upload and download things from/to external media sources, the standard notebook is probably for you. If you can skip the media because you simply spend your time on the internet but you need something inexpensive that you can take on the go, the netbook may look good for you. If you want the power of apps and the portability of a netbook but with a more powerful feature set, consider the tablet.