This past week I had the opportunity to review both a netbook and a notebook and compare them and see which computer is better fit for the padding inside your backpack this fall. The netbook was a Dell Mini with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor running Windows XP. The notebook was a Dell Studio 15 with a Blu-Ray drive and a 2.26 GHz Intel Centrino processor running Windows Vista. 

The Review

Going in to this review, I had low expectations for the netbook’s speed.  Those expectations were exceeded. The small computer was able to handle everything short of Google Earth, but that was due to resolution problems. When I watch a show on Hulu, I usually have to turn my MacBook’s speakers all the way up to drown out the hum of the fan in the background. When watching shows on the Dell Mini, it ran cool and there was no other noise beside the inner monologue of Dr. John Dorrian. 

The Studio laptop on the other hand wasn’t so speedy.  I don’t blame that on the processor though.  Windows Vista was absolutely horrible. This came when I tried to look up directions online. The computer wasn’t able to load the webpage and render the map. Google Maps suddenly became useless because of this bloated memory hog operating system. 

The one upside to this computer though, was the Blu-ray player. The picture was stunning.  For the case study I watched Iron Man, recommended from the guys over at HD Nation as one of the better movies to watch when the HD is there. For the most part, the movie was smooth. When there was a lot of colors on the screen or a camera was zooming out to get a wider view, it got a little choppy. I wasn’t expecting perfection. Also the computer offers two headphone jacks to you can watch movie with someone on a plane or a ride home from school. 

The Comparison

Each type of computer has their advantages. The netbook is small but still offers a lot of the same functionality larger netbooks do for simpler computing tasks. The notebook allows more space for entertainment and advanced computing tasks.  The type that suits should reflect your major and the type of lifestyle you have. 

The Dell Mini I tested was had a monitor out port too, so if you did get tired of the sub-10 inch screen there was the possibility of getting a larger screen for it. It was good that Dell tried to fit everything they could in the small package they had to work with. The netbook had all the ports the notebook had, which was nice. With that being said, I don’t think that it’s necessary for students to have more that one machine at school. At least, they shouldn’t have two portable machines.

Lastly, notebooks are for people who enjoy the internet and are on their computer a lot. The netbook is a good alternative for students who feel that computers are necessary evil when purchasing items for college. The value of the netbook is really high and with all of the free web applications out there, you won’t have to spend another dime past the money spend to get the machine.

Do you have a notebook or a netbook? Which one do you think is better for students? Comment below to voice your opinion!