Laptop, Notebook, Ultrabook or Netbook

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between laptops, ultrabooks and netbooks. This article will hopefully spell out the key differences and help you decide which is best for your needs.

Laptops and notebooks

Laptops and notebooks are the same thing. They are sometimes called notebooks in the United States.

Most laptops today are designed as desktop replacement computers. They have the same power and speed as a desktop, but are portable. A laptop has a screen size of 15.6 inches or above. It usually has 2GB or more of RAM. Battery life is not outstanding on laptops and they’re not really that portable weighing in at around 2.5kg.


Ultrabooks are thin, lightweight (1.5kg) laptops with lots of power and RAM. They take the best bits of desktop replacement laptops; fast CPU and lots of memory and combine it with a thin, lightweight case that aides portability. Ultrabooks usually have a 12 – 14 inch screen and a good 8 hours of battery life. The flexability of ultrabooks comes at a price and they can cost £600 or more.


Netbooks are mini laptops designed to be portable and work for long periods away from the power socket. They usually have low power Atom processors and only 1 GB or RAM. The standard screen seems to be 10.1 inches nowadays although you will find some netbooks with 8.9 inch screens. Their batteries can last up to 10 hours.

So which is best for you? Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of each type of laptop.


  • Used as a replacement for a desk top
  • Portable within the home
  • Good range of prices and spec for all uses, from gaming, the multimedia to just surfing the web
  • Good size screen for long periods of work
  • Short battery life – you’ll have to keep it plugged in most proberly


  • Designed to be portable and usable
  • Good screen that can be used comfortably for hours
  • Lightweight
  • Good battery life
  • Expensive (can be £500+)
  • High power. Can be used for anything from gaming to video editing or music production



  • Cheap (around the £200 – £400 mark)
  • Great battery life
  • Light and portable
  • Low power, can only be used for document editing and web surfing.
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