Difference between a netbook, a notebook, and a laptop


What's the difference between the terms 'netbook', 'notebook', and 'laptop'? I've always just called portable computers "laptops", but apparently there is a technical difference between the three.

Best Answer

Laptop / Notebook

The term's laptop and notebook are generally interchangable. Traditionally they refer to any type of portable computer. However, with the introduction of the netbook, a laptop generally refers to computers with screens of 14+ inches. These computers are considered "full featured."

Full featured means they have regular Intel or AMD processors and optical drives.


A netbook is a small, ultra-portable computer. Microsoft defines a netbook as any portable computer with a screen less than 10.7". They generally weigh less than 3 pounds and have no optical drive. Currently netbooks mostly use the Intel Atom processor.


There is another type of laptop that covers portable computers with screens that are 11"-13" in size. These are generally very portable, light-weight, but are full featured (have full blown Intel/AMD processors). They usually have optical drives.