Netbook vs Tablet: Which Should I Buy?

April 3, 2011

in News

A recent comment by a member of the forum got me thinking, if I own a netbook – do I need a Tablet?

In this post I discuss some pros and cons of netbooks vs tablets as I see them currently.  Note this is written before purchase of a tablet so there is a possability my opinions will change in time.

Which is Best: Netbook vs Tablet?

Now I don’t pretend for a second there is a simple answer to this!  You’ll need to read through the arguments, look at what you want from a device, and ultimately make your own decision based on your personal preferences.

If it’s one thing than annoys me it’s people telling me that I should or shouldn’t like a certain piece of technology.   I still remember people telling me I’d have no use for a netbook!  Just goes to show how poor other people are at second guessing our needs.

However I hope this post raises the right considerations and helps you to make your own choice.

Pros and Cons of Netbooks and Tablets:

Netbooks offer greater flexibility: A netbook running Windows can do anything a normal PC can.  Well almost anything.  But as I’ve said many times on SammyNetbook, these portable PCs aren’t toys.  I run Apache, PHP and MySQL on mine and regularly work on WordPress plugin development on my daily commute. I can’t do that on a tablet?

Tablets are more Portable:  A tablet is smaller and lighter.  Netbooks are light and portable, but there are times when it would be nicer to have something a little easier to carry around.  The 7″ Samsung tablet might still be to big too be pocketable, but it won’t be a drag to carry round.

Actually I wonder if this is true of 10″ tablets.   Two guys were showing off their 10″ iPads to a third friend on my train journey home last week.  I was sitting there with my NC10 and I was thinking that actually their iPads seemed quite bulky and cumbersome. They were hard to hold in one hand yet couldn’t sit on your lap like a Netbook.

At least with the Samsung range you have a choice of 10.1, 8.9 or 7 inch models!  Each weighing half as much as your average netbook.

Tablets are more Accessible: Tablets are quick to start and easy to use. I want to have it on the coffee table in my living room ready to show the TV schedule or plug into the HiFi without having to wait for Windows to boot.

I spend a fair amount of time installing the right software onto my netbook and keeping it tuned and running smoothly, I’d like my tablet to “just work”.  I’d want my kids to be able to use it intuitively, and without me worrying about it getting messed up.

I have nothing against Windows, but Android is simpler to use and easy to configure.

Netbooks are cheaper: OK, so this will vary depending which netbook you compare to which tablet. But, at the time of writing, a premium netbook will cost less than a premium tablet. There are ways to buy a cheaper tablet, you can get a WiFi only model or you could take a gamble on a cheap non-branded clone, but like for like – netbooks seem to offer more vlaue.

What other tablet vs netbook pros and cons have you been thinking about?

So Should I buy a Tablet or a Netbook?.

This is always going to be a tough question to answer, and one of the things I hope this site will do is steer people towards buying the right type of device for them.

If you are interested in finding our more about either, you’ll find a wealth of information on the Samsung range here at  Check out the navigation menu on the right, our Netbook buying guide, and remember to subscribe to our RSS Feed to keep up to date with news.

Are you a netbook owner?  Would you buy a tablet?  Let us know what you think in the comments below or in our popular netbook forum.

Leave a Comment

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Samchess April 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

This article is a great idea and I think it will be very useful for perople who are reflecting on going netbook or tablet. I have used sammy netbooks for several years but three months ago I got a Samsung Tab. Having used both for three months now I can confirm your observations but one. It’s not just netbooks that need constant updating, actually I think I have had to update my Tab more frquently than my netbook. Basically a tablet is great for enjoying media, browsing and mail. But in my experience it ceratinly cannot replace a netbook for productivity. So for wordprocessing, presentations, spreadsheets you need a netbook. Similarly a tablet is not practical for handling many files, photo editing etc. Speaking of practicalities: it annoys me that you have to clean the tablet screen constantly, and I miss a plain USB-stick for file transfers. If you only want to be entertained a tablet is great, if you need to be productive also you’ll need a netbook. After three months of using the Samsung Tab I think that for mobile mixed entertainment/productivity use probably a netbook and a smartsphone with a large screen is the best combination. However, the soon to be launched sammy sliding tablet might change that.

Bismarck April 5, 2011 at 11:16 am

I think it mostly depends on whether your use is productive or consumptive : If you are going use your keyboard often, a netbook is definitely a better choice, on the other hand if you are going use your device mainly to read (including surfing without posting much on fora), watch movies and listen music, a tablet will be more suitable.

Admittedly, I don’t have a tablet (yet), but when I think about when I would use it, the main thing I can think of is during meetings, to have all relevant papers and rapports on hand without having to print half a forest of paper.

jez April 6, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Thanks for your thoughts guys – good to see other perspectives.

james braselton May 29, 2011 at 5:04 am

hi there yes you should run out and buy any tablet dont care wich one just wait for your netbook hard drive fails on you thats why you want solid state flash drive storage oh yes 33 years of eltronics 11 hard drive failuers 5 hard drive computers 2 hard drive tivos dvrs 2 hard drive camcorder a 60 gb hard drive ipod and oh yes a archos series 7 with a 320 gb hard drive also failed too

Dave July 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Nice write-up, quick and to the point! One comment though… as far as Android vs Windows start-up time goes, why do a shutdown anyway? I close the lid on my N135 and it goes to sleep. It wakes up almost instantly when I need it. ;)

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