What is a Mini Netbook?

B. Miller

A mini netbook is a small laptop computer with a screen size that generally falls between 10 and 11 inches (25 to 28 cm). This type of small laptop is quite popular for traveling and use on-the-go, and though it may not have the processing power or speed of a full size laptop, it is often completely sufficient for those who want to use their computers to just check email or use a few simple programs. A mini netbook is typically much less expensive than a full size laptop.

A mini netbook.
A mini netbook.

Specifications vary, of course, between manufacturers of these computers, and each mini netbook may be slightly different. For this reason, it is important to shop around and determine how one wishes to use the computer in order to find the best one. In general, there are some features that are common across most mini netbooks; most do not include an optical drive, which is a CD or DVD drive. An external optical drive can generally be connected through a USB port.

Most netbooks have a touchpad built into them.
Most netbooks have a touchpad built into them.

In addition, a mini netbook will most often have a smaller keyboard than a regular laptop because there is simply not room for a full-size keyboard. It may also have a slower processor, less RAM, a slightly smaller hard drive, and a pared-down version of the operating system it is running; for this reason, it is generally only possible to run one or two applications at a time on a netbook. Mini netbooks tend to have a very long battery life, however, due to the slower processor, and many can run for five to seven hours on one charge.

A mini netbook will typically have built-in wireless capability, and will be able to easily connect to different wireless networks. Some are also able to connect to the 3G cellular networks offered by many cellular carriers, but it is often necessary to purchase a netbook directly from a cellular carrier to have this feature. In addition, a mini netbook will be very light and easy to carry, which makes it a good choice for travel, students, or business purposes. It can often fit right into a regular bag without needing to purchase a separate laptop bag.

Some people choose to purchase an external mouse to be used with a netbook if they do not wish to use the touchpad. This type of mini laptop computer can be a great choice when used with realistic expectations for its capabilities. Keep in mind that as more features are added to the computer, price will increase as well, sometimes exponentially so.

Mini laptops, also known as netbooks, usually do not have CD or DVD drives like those found on larger laptops.
Mini laptops, also known as netbooks, usually do not have CD or DVD drives like those found on larger laptops.

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Discussion Comments


Even though netbooks have been largely replaced by iPads and other tablets, I still like 'em. Why? They are very portable and serve very well as full-blown computers with the appropriate operating system. Windows XP or Windows 7 starter came standard on most netbooks, but a good, light Linux distro will really speed up those little computers.

In fact, a netbook was my main computer back in 2011 after my laptop gave up the ghost. I got by fine with it and still use it even though it has been replaced by a four-core monster of a laptop. It's just a convenient thing to have around for checking email, surfing on the Internet and taking on trips.

And, you can generally find netbooks for very little cash these days. People are dumping them in favor of tablets, so finding a netbook in great shape for around $100 is not uncommon.

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