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Great Netbook Gift Ideas: Why Netbooks Make Great Gifts and Great Purchases

Updated on February 6, 2012

Great Gift Ideas: Netbook Gifts

As another holiday season looms on the horizon, thinking about what to get for that special someone and thinking about the possibility of a netbook as a great gift idea?

I recently bought myself an Acer Aspire One netbook and think it would make a great gift idea for someone who spends a lot of time on the computer or the Internet.

Let's examine some of the functions of the netbook and what netbooks are good for as opposed to notebooks. As you research it, you'll find that there are many similarities between netbooks and notebooks but each actually can have its own unique uses and situations where one might be better than the other.

As well, whereas the iPad is the current 'rage', the iPad is not so great for some reasons and a netbook might be the more appropriate choice or gift - and vice versa.

I urge you to do your research no matter what product you buy.  I actually spent at least a month testing out different netbooks in stores and comparing them to notebooks and laptops to see what all the fuss was about. I also compared them to the iPad and considered purchasing pros and cons there as well.

Have a read and I'll show you what I found regarding netbooks and why I think netbook gifts make for great gift ideas!


Great Gift Ideas: Netbook Gifts

What are netbooks and how do they differ from conventional laptops?

As you can see by the picture opposite, a netbook is pretty small. These are totally portable smaller versions of a laptop.

They've been around since about 2007 but since 2009, their popularity has quickly risen to the top. They are becoming one of the most sought after and on-line ordered portable electronic devices for many different age groups and across many different venues.

While netbooks don't have as much 'punch' as a traditional laptop in some terms, when it comes down to it, for most of the applications that most folks use a netbook for, that really isn't a factor.

Why I picked a netbook instead of a laptop or iPad

  • They weigh next to nothing - about 1-2 pounds so setting them on my lap is ideal
  • You can connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi connections or connect via cable to a hub
  • It's so thin and portable that it fits into your purse
  • They have long battery life (all brands differ so check that out)
  • The screen is completely user friendly and great for viewing
  • It really beats trying to access your email on your phone
  • It comes with a word processing program (Word Pad) so you can type on it
  • The keyboard is a full keyboard although it is a smaller version of a standard keyboard
  • There are USB slots so I can connect a keyboard or even a small hub
  • I can watch movies on it (downloaded from the Internet)
  • Plenty of storage is available (250 GB hard drive came with mine)
  • I can work on pictures and videos, store them or export to a portable USB drive
  • Networking is also possible so I can tap into my home or office networks
  • If desired, I can hook a monitor to the netbook for a larger view space
  • It comes with a built-in webcam
  • There are audio plug-in points so I can listen to tunes or Internet music with headphones

Click thumbnail to view full-size
public domain photomany styles and colors are availablegaming on a netbooksmall and compactmy netbooksurf the webkeyboard of netbookdesktop on netbookcheck emailwindows 7 starter
public domain photo
public domain photo
many styles and colors are available
many styles and colors are available
gaming on a netbook
gaming on a netbook | Source
small and compact
small and compact
my netbook
my netbook
surf the web
surf the web
keyboard of netbook
keyboard of netbook
desktop on netbook
desktop on netbook
check email
check email
windows 7 starter
windows 7 starter

Great Gift Ideas: Netbook Gifts

Photo Management

The iPad for instance has no USB ports so that would be a poor choice for me since a lot of what I do with my laptop or my netbook is manage my photos. You can buy a camera attachment or dongle for the iPad but it will not let you drag files to it like a netbook will. Basically, a netbook is just a skinned down version of a laptop.


When I was comparing the many different computer devices available and comparing them to the iPad, cost was an important factor to me. I'm frugal by nature and while I am totally enthralled by the iPad, I think of it as more of a 'toy' or a 'gadget' than a real working part of my computer array. There are so many more things that I can do on my netbook than I could do on an iPad that it makes sense to go the netbook route in my case. Cost effectively, it also made great sense since the netbook I purchased was exactly half of the cost of an iPad - $300 compared to $600. There are also models that are cheaper than the one I purchased and there are more expensive ones of course, too.

Screen Size and Keyboards

Most netbooks are about 10.1 inches from point to point, left bottom to right top corner. However, they come in all different sizes - from 8.5 inches to even 12 inches. Pick the one that most suits your needs. Most have 'standard' keyboards though they are smaller than the traditional computer keyboard. If the size bothers you, you can connect your own regular keyboard via USB and same goes with a mouse.

Internet Connectivity

All netbooks come with a built-in wi-fi device and programming to allow you to connect easily to any wireless network that is accessible. However, be aware that some netbooks come with a plan that you must purchase for connectivity. Make sure you get one that doesn't have a fee and that you can connect with anywhere. Netbooks also have an ethernet port so that you can easily connect to your home or office network as well.

Gaming like Facebook Games

I'm not sure how folks have time to play games on line but I know millions of people do! Because you can run Flash, playing internet games makes it happen on your netbook but not on the iPad. So if you're into playing games like Farmville on Facebook the netbook's your best bet.

Typing/Word Processing

I purposefully purchased a netbook for this feature most of all. Since I travel great distances from my small tiny town to do anything, I'm frequently in the car. I love using the time that Bob is driving us hither and yon to work on hubs or type off my letters to my mom! It saves me tons of time. Or while I'm waiting somewhere for an appointment, I can slip my netbook out onto my lap and type away. I have to say that the keyboard fits my hands perfectly but it could be because I have rather small hands. I have typed up many a hub in the past few weeks on my little netbook, saved my piece to the netbook and then copied it onto a USB drive and used that to upload to Hubpages later along with some pics. The program Word Pad while not the full version of Word is just as adequate and without all the bells and whistles, it seems to actually work faster and easier!  It still has plenty of options though such as Paint.

Installing software or other media

You can't install software or other media on an iPad but you can on a netbook! One of the other nice features about the netbook. Most netbooks come with Windows 7 Starter software already loaded but you can upgrade for a fee if you feel you need more of the applications of the full install of Windows. You can also purchase netbooks with Windows XP already loaded. It's all about what you need it for and what you want on your netbook.

Upgrading RAM

You can also upgrade your RAM on a netbook - not much - but you can add to it. You can also upgrade your hard drive. I preferred to get the netbook with the largest hard drive from the beginning so when I saw the 250 GB hard drive compared to most with 160 GB hard drives, I thought for the same price, it was worth buying the one at Costco over the other models I'd seen. The iPad is a done deal and no upgrading is possible.

Webcams and Video Chatting

Even the cheapest netbooks come with a webcam so video chatting over Skype or other chatting programs is possible. There is no app for that on the iPad.


Again, the iPad is a done deal. You can't swap out the batteries where in a netbook, you can decide if you want a 3 or a 6-cell battery and swap them out easily to give you more battery time.


Lastly, setup was a breeze. I unpacked the netbook and even after following the directions on inserting the battery, I had already programmed my stats into my netbook and was up surfing the Internet within 10 minutes. It has such a basic system that it really would be hard to have trouble figuring it out.

Great Gift Ideas: Netbook Gifts

As you can see, netbooks have many pluses. If you're looking for a great little laptop that's really not a laptop, you'll love the netbook. While it doesn't have as many programs and applications as the traditional laptop, for the most part, the netbook is a great substitute for a laptop because it does many things that your laptop will do only is a smaller and more affordable version and isn't overwhelmed with 'stuff'.

Schools are actually starting to use netbooks rather than laptops because of the cost factor.  The applications that most schools need are highly accessible on the netbook rather than a traditional laptop or a desktop computer, easier for students to cart around and go mobile with and actually work faster in many cases on the apps they need them for.

It is expected that sales will skyrocket further simply because netbooks are so portable and are so cost effective over traditional laptops and computers.

The next step? The future will see the evolution of the Smartbook next - a mobile device that is somewhere between a smartphone and a netbook and will have features like an all-day battery life, 3G connectivity, GPS and a full keyboard. Smartbooks will probably be sold through mobile network providers like mobile phones are now sold and will have a wireless data plan.

If you're looking for great gift ideas today though, netbook gifts are a great way to go!


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