What are netbooks and why you should not get one?

An odyssey of netbooks started with the introduction of Asus EEE PC. This was probably the smallest netbook of all time. The screen was tiny but it had a great battery life. The battery and small weight made it a very attractive alternative to clunky laptops of that time.

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Soon, every company jumped into the boat and many models of netbooks appeared. Some had bigger screens; some had hard drives instead of solid state drive.

Screens on netbooks are really small; it's hard to fit many programs in full-screen mode, so I need to scroll up and down many times. What is also frustrating is that sometimes a form or a window pops out, and you can't reach the OK or cancel button!

Netbooks with the first generation of Atom processors feel really underpowered. Many applications simply do not work or are slow. The performance improved a bit with the second generation of Atom processors.

The first netbooks usually had 32GB of internal storage or even 16GB. Well, this basically is not enough if we are going to use the Windows operating system. Even if there is Windows 7 Basic installed, it will take up half of the storage. Windows XP would take a bit less space, but on Windows XP, some applications will not work; it has been abandoned by Microsoft and so on and so on. This makes Windows XP obsolete.

In my opinion, companies needed to develop a separate operating system for netbooks that could work better with the screen resolution and with limited storage. Maybe they could use DOS or anything similar that would make the little machine perform a bit better.

The other operating system that was used on netbooks is Linux. There are many variations of Linux for netbooks, but in my experience all those stripped down operating systems had the same problems as Windows, i.e. screen resolution and limited storage space. I respect Linux community for making it as user-friendly as possible but it's still far from the Windows user experience. If something goes wrong, you can’t simply reinstall the program.

Later on, netbooks also got a competitor in the form of tablets. Ipads and later Android tablets drove many users away from netbooks. The tablet is not perfect by any means but it is very compact and offers a better user experience with touchscreens. The first iPad was also kind of chunky, but the second generation was much thinner.

Compared to the touch-pad on the netbook, tablets look like a premium devices. The touch-pad on the netbooks was really too small. Maybe a better choice was a trackball or a track point like on the Lenovo business laptops.

And finally, as technology progressed, all other laptops became much thinner and lighter and had great battery life. Mobile phones also took many users with the ability to run many applications that users run on netbooks. Netbooks are a historic item now unless someone can make a better operating system for them. Or, they probably need some new inventions to happen and make hardware better and competitive with mobile phones and thin laptops.

Inside the Netbook

Netbooks have the same components as any other laptop.

The netbook version above has a hard drive, USB ports, SD card reader, keyboard and even a LAN port - all the components that the usual laptop has but in a smaller package.

Here is a typical netbook keyboard.

Almost all netbooks keyboards are comfortable despite their small size. The only thing that is slowing down input speed on netbooks is the small touch-pad.


Some things can be upgraded on a netbook. For example the hard drive can be upgraded and the memory also can be upgraded. On models with a flash drive of 16GB and 32GB storage sometimes those chips are soldered to the motherboard so it can’t be upgraded.  But the easiest way to upgrade storage on the netbook is to buy a nano USB flash drive. They are available now in sizes 32GB or 64 GB for a reasonable price.

Do netbooks have lower EMF

I think yes, netbooks do have lover electromagnetic fields compared to laptops. I suspect netbook versions with 32GB of storage have the lowest EMF. Netbook models with hard drives should have a higher EMF. However, I did not do any evaluation of a particular model and probably will do this in the near future.

Should you buy used one

I do not recommend buying consumer electronics used. I have bought used things so many times and ended up replacing parts many times or had other problems with older part versions not working properly.

The only time I recommend it is if you want to test some ideas or want to buy it for a project.

Spend a little more and buy a new netbook or laptop and enjoy it.

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