The initial days after I got my first PC I was in denial that it hardly affected my household electricity bill. I hated laptops at the time because neither were they powerful enough nor were they inexpensive enough. Also, I didn’t have the need. I was a typical Indian college student who wasn’t allowed or  interested in showing off a laptop to classmates. It wasn’t err… still isn’t common enough in the Indian classroom!

Having said that, now years later, I have to admit that laptops have improved leaps and bounds and are quite beneficial for the professional on the go.

During these years came a new phenomenon called the netbook that has taken the market by storm. Ultra cheap, ultra portable laptop like devices that made On-the-Go computing ubiquitous. Not to mention the slew of social media sites such as twitter and facebook that have made constant connectivity such a  necessity!

I, in the meanwhile, came out of my denial that constant 24/7 usage of my monstrous power hogging desktop PC  doesn’t significantly affect my power bills. A menial task like a download shouldn’t require a 140W machine to be constantly running. Does it? This is when I decided that I needed to do something about it after my friend enlightened me, after his purchase, about how a netbook serves this exact purpose.

Samsung Netbook

Samsung Netbook

This is when it dawned on me that netbooks aren’t bad after all. All this while I knew exactly what it is capable of and what it is used for – ANYTHING ON THE BROWSER AND THE INTERNET. Nothing more, Nothing less.

Finally, last week I had managed to arrange for the funds. Yeah! it took so long (almost a year). Can’t blame me for that. I’m an average Indian middle-class guy who’s got COMMITMENTS, you see.

Managed to jump in to the club of netbook owners. Got myself the Samsung N148.

Check out its specs here:

Disclaimer: This is not a recommendation. Just an information. I am not endorsing any brand/product here. Netbook or Notebook purchase is completely subjective to one’s personal preference. If you need a suggestion, ask for it in the comments section and you will get one but again, it is only a suggestion. Don’t hold me responsible for a crappy purchase that you made.

Now for the core of the blog – reason for the title.

Soon after the news about my purchase exploded on the information superhighway, I started getting calls from friends inquiring about making a similar purchase for themselves as well.

Most of them did not know the difference between a regular laptop and a netbook. The misconception about netbooks being just ultra-portable cheap laptops has infected the general mass perception.

“A netbook does most things that a laptop does. How is it different?” You ask?  Here’s how:

It does NOT have an optical drive. Though external USB based optical drives can be used with it, the fact that it doesn’t come with one is reason enough for many people not to buy it.

  1. A netbook is not capable of playing true HD videos. Though there are claims of a few having powerful GPUs like in Acer Ferrari One and the likes, those are a minority. The majority of the fast selling, cheap netbooks come with integrated graphics chips either on the MoBo or on the proc itself (read Intel Atom N400 series pinetrail and above).
  2. Also, on a 10.1″ screen what pleasure will you get watching videos anyway? To top it, my friend wanted to connect a TV Tuner and watch TV on it! He didn’t want to spend too much on a computer. If you don’t wanna spend too much, then why get a teeny-weeny 10.1″ netbook for TV Viewing? Get a TV, damn it! A 21″ big fat CRT TV starts at Rs. 5k vs Rs.15k! for a decent netbook.
  3. “So, videos aren’t my priority” you say? Well, video isn’t the only casualty. Any decent game wouldn’t play. Cannot have the sweet graphics intensive effects on your desktop (I mean the desktop inside the OS). Though, Windows 7 runs beautifully with transparency & all  just fine. Open a few windows more than 5 and you’d feel the sluggishness.
  4. In case you get the Windows 7 starter edition version, Godspeed, for as you know, it is extremely restrictive.
  5. If you opt for Free DOS as your OS, then you may need to install a practical OS like Windows or Linux yourself. Not having an optical drive really sucks for this reason. You need to download the tools such as UnetBootin for Linux or Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool for making a boot-able USB pen/thumb drive from which to install the OS. Although a simple procedure, this may put off the majority of users.
  6. If you need a powerful but sleek laptop, go for the ultra-thin/portable range. Not a netbook!

Having said that, it performs beautifully what it was designed for – The NET in “Netbook”. Standard definition videos, audio, radio, streaming videos, general net surfing, youtube (not HD), facebook, twitter all work heavenly.

Another point I don’t understand is people buying netbooks priced more than Rs. 20k! What’s the point, I ask. At that rate, you might as well get a regular laptop and do a lot more things with it besides getting a bigger screen!

Not to mention, netbooks come as  complete package unlike a desktop. Second hand cheap desktops of the yester-years, if you were considering it, unless you are that tight on budget, STOP! For it wouldn’t have Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi n, Webcam, speakers, Microphone etc.

Great features for On-the-Go blogging, facebooking, tweeting. orkutting etc.

If you attend a lot of conferences and do a lot of live blogging/tweeting and cannot afford those drool-maal phones that have WiFi and stuck with having to pay heavily for GPRS acces with terrible speeds, Netbook is a boon!

My specific purpose as a 24/7 download machine – Amazing. With the LED backlit LCD display and the Intel Atom N450 proc with Integrated graphics on the itself, consuming just 25W is just wonderful! Saving, conservatively estimating, Rs.200 a month, if its life is 2 years, I get my return on investment, taking into account its utility.

So, tell us – the etiole community what you think about netbooks. Whether you considered or considering buying one and if this post has helped you in anyway. We’d like to hear all sides of the story. Sharing is caring! So, if you liked or disliked this post please let the world know. Until next time, happy netbooking! 🙂