Netbook reviews: FAQs


Netbooks are perfect for those who feel lightweight portability is a priority but aren't looking for a more powerful laptop options. So what are the pros and cons of each?

Netbook advantages

The main advantages of a netbook over a laptop are portability and price. 

  • Small enough to fit in a bag and light enough that your back won’t feel the strain, netbooks are great way for getting that little bit of work done on the train or staying connected on holiday. Head for a wireless hotspot or attach a dongle and you can get online in most places.
  • Laptops give you this freedom, but they're heavier. The exception are ultrabook which offer portability as well as power, but they cost upwards of £700. 

Netbook disadvantages 

  • Netbooks are declining in availability, so there are only a few available in shops and you may be limited to refurbished models or second-hand netbooks.
  • Netbooks are also relatively low spec. You can pay around £500 for a laptop with a decent processor and 4GB of Ram. The few hundred pounds you spend on a netbook gets you a less powerful processor and 1 or 2GB of Ram - not enough for more advanced tasks. 
  • The small screen and keyboard aren't generally as comfortable to use as a laptop. 

Should I buy a netbook, laptop or tablet?

There aren't many netbooks available now as laptops and tablets are far more popular. 

If you need to be able to run programmes like Microsoft Word and Excel in their full glory and don't want to spend more than £400, you should look to a netbook or laptop. 

If you're mostly after something small and light that you can use for surfing the net, sending emails, organising your calendar, taking notes and for entertainment purposes, such as watching movies, listening to music and accessing apps, consider a tablet. 

Laptops under £400 - read reviews of low-priced laptops. 

I’m on a limited budget. Which components of a netbook should I spend more money on?

If you're on a budget, but want to make sure that you get the best netbook you can, aim to get a model with at least 2GB Ram. 

Can I attach my netbook to my home wireless network?

Yes, you can. Netbooks have built in wireless connectivity so, once you’ve entered the password for the wireless network you're trying to get on to you’ll be able to connect.

Can I listen to music on my netbook?

You can listen to music on your netbook. Don’t expect the netbook's speakers to be very good, though, our tests have shown audio quality is generally poor. You can improve this by using headphones to listen though. 

  • Laptop Best Buys - find out which models impressed the most in our tests.
  • Tablet reviews - tablets are intuitive to use and great for web browsing, email and movies, music and games.
  • How to buy the best laptop - expert advice on what type of model to go for from budget to desktop replacement.