Resolved The DEFINITION of "Netbook"

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by iPad Air, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. iPad Air macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013
    There are mixed definitions of what people think as "Netbooks" on this forum. Quite frankly, I get defensive when someone calls say the "11 MBA a "Netbook".:eek: Does anyone else?

    When I think of Netbook, I think back what Steve said when he announced the iPad in 2010...and I quote: "Netbooks aren't better at anything! They're slow, they have low quality displays, and they run clunky old PC software" I also think of the Asus EEE PC "10 Netbook I had right around that same time...which I sold on eBay and got a 13" MacBook Pro Early 2011 and is the Mac I use these days and right now. Anyway, I think what the "Netbook" category became includes the following type machines in general:

    (1) Cheaper build quality(although the eee pc felt pretty good)
    (2) Intel Atom level processor, no doubt slower bus speeds etc. to suit.
    (3) Not that great displays
    (4) Typical quality PC style battery with typical PC style longevity. Which tend NOT to last for years.

    These manufactures built the machines like this SO THAT they could drop the price LOW. I guess wanting to try the waters for that kind of LOW END market. Which makes sense, as a lot of people don't need any more power/quality than it takes to surf the web, read emails and look at some photos.

    Even though the "11 MBA is "11's, it does not fit into this category because it is a small quality built powerhouse, that can really handle a whole lot more than an EEE PC type machine. Apple puts great batteries in these small machines, hefty processors for the size, great displays, great keyboards, built ofcourse VERY well, and OSX!! and great software ofcourse.

    Oh, speaking of which...Windows. Windows already gets slow overtime with bloating, which all you guys know just seems to happen with Windows. Having that issue on a Netbook is painful, man that thing can get so SLOW.

    Anyway, I want to here from you forum members.
  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Price point is a big one for me.

    Netbooks were those machines designed to hit a $200-$400 price point, and that drove many of the compromises in your points.

    Small PCs existed before the Netbook, but many of these ultraportable machines were $2000+ boxes using low voltage processors.

    The MBA created a third category, the ultra book which has better performance than either of its predecessors at an intermediate price point.

  3. iPad Air thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2013

    Yep, I agree w/ all the above. A good way of putting it all. Yes, remember those tablet PCs with stylus's that cost 2, 3 and sometimes $4000+!!!...And they were not that great. The stylus is annoying.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    I'd always considered a netbook to be a small form factor laptop with a small screen. With the Macbook Air 11" being the netbook done right. Having a useable keyboard, great battery life, enough RAM and a decent CPU.
  5. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    To me, a netbook is a cheaper, smaller, weaker version of a laptop that's made for basic tasks for those who need portability and not power and work with a limited budget.

    The MBA has never struck me as netbook, since the only similarity is that the smallest MBA has about the same screen size as the largest netbook.

    If the MBA 11" is a netbook and the MBA 13" is a laptop, that would mean that the screen size is the ONLY thing separating a netbook from a laptop. If the MBA 13" is a netbook - wouldn't that mean that the rMBP 13" is also a netbook? If not, what is the difference?

    I'm with Apple on this one. They've laughed at others going the netbook-path, meaning they don't consider the MBA to be one.
  6. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    MBA is classified as an ultrabook or an ultralight laptop, not a netbook. A netbook is cheap and underpowered (usually an Atom or low end processor) and dirt cheap. Ultrabooks are higher priced and higher performance. Similar to the difference between a two door econobox and a sports coupe.
  7. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    A Netbook is a laptop built for casual tasks such as internet browsing. Seems like a simple and easy-to-remember definition to me.
  8. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    That's a good definition thereof.

    VelocityG4 calling the 11" MBA a "netbook done right" is a bit wrong in my opinion. The MBA is an ultrabook, or a really really tiny laptop capable of doing all the tasks of a regular sized laptop without any sacrifices to performance. Netbooks were only meant for casual, light tasks, and were priced accordingly. If anything's replaced netbooks these days, it's not the MBA, or the Zenbooks, or any other similarly sized, $800+ laptops. It's the Chromebooks.

    ...though really, it's all kinda like arguing music genres when it comes right down to it.
  9. jca24 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 28, 2010
    The definition of netbook: obsolete

  10. Pakaku macrumors 68000


    Aug 29, 2009
    It's "a netbook done right" because it's an Ultrabook ;)

    Chromebooks look like a great way to waste a few thousand bucks or so, but hey, I'm not here to dictate how people should spend their money.
  11. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    I agree with you. My question was directed towards those claiming the MBA is a netbook :)
  12. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Yeah, I guess I could sorta agree with that.

    The thing is, netbooks weren't all that bad of an idea. They were the first of the little computer revolution. If they used an OS tailored around their strengths, rather than one that went full tilt and ignored their weaknesses, we'd probably still be using them today. It's what made the iPad so successful. Apple started small and focused, then built up their capabilities as phones and tablets became more powerful. They built a new platform from the bottom up, rather than cramming in something that didn't fit from the top down...and it worked.

    The saddest part about the whole thing is that's actually how netbooks started out. Asus' first eee PC came with a stripped down Linux distro installed on it, and they were pretty good. But then MS came in and said "WINDOWS ON EVERYTHING OLOL YEAH EVEN THAT", and now we're all using machines from Apple and Google for all our cheap little computer needs, while MS plays a distant 3rd fiddle in that market.

    History's all kinds of a bastard, ain't it?
  13. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2013
    Chromebook are in the $150-$300 range with the exception of the pixel at $1200 or so.

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