Back To School Survey: Netbook or Laptop?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Right about this time of year, parents and students are scrambling to get their funds together for their next big computer purchase for the upcoming school year. With cloud computing well underway to become the technological norm, students now have the option to work off affordable netbooks (with the available option of customizable sexy OS’s). Still, some of us still prefer sticking with full-fledged laptops – with extra horsepower to spare. Either way, we ask:


Today, the netbook market continues to take over the portable computer market. And rightfully so; the average netbook runs at $300 meanwhile other mid-range laptops with decent video cards that allow high-definition video support still costs a hefty $800.

In addition to costing twice as much as your netbook, you’re also getting diminished battery life due to the larger screen and more powerful internal components. That is, unless you grab a heavy 9-cell replacement or go for one of the newer Macbook Pros with built-in batteries. Either way, you’re adding heft to your “portable,” and in a world of on-the-go lifestyles, this seems less and less of a reasonable option for students and traveling professionals.

So, we believe incoming students should not ignore the cloud, but embrace it! There are tons of options out there for synchronizing your files across multiple platforms and storing files online (See our Best Product: Dropbox article). Unless you’re working on intensive apps at least 50% of the time, we suggest going for a netbook. They’re customizable to your liking, super cheap, and should be able to take a decent amount of beating around. And if you’re worried about the sensitivity of your data, simply make it a habit of storing it online or upgrade to a SSD (solid state drive) to further protect yourself. Be sure to check out our roundup of netbooks later next month!

What are your thoughts on the netbook vs. laptop debate? Let us know below.