What’s The Difference Between a Laptop and a Notebook?

We are living in an age where technological advancements are endless and seemingly limitless.

Every now and then, a new tech innovation takes place, with the computer industry being at its forefront. Today’s technology makes devices smaller, slimmer, and better, making it convenient for people who want to use a compact, yet powerful device.

Before, laptops and notebooks were very different. But now, only a very fine line separated the two as they’re almost completely identical, it’s just hard to distinguish one from the other.

But then again, there’s still that one small line that serves as a barrier between the two “separate” devices.

That’s what we’re going to talk about here as we’ll show the differences between laptops and notebooks and many more things you need to know about them.

Screen Size

Laptops usually have bigger screen sizes compared to notebooks. The latter usually have 15.6-inch to 17.3-inch screens. Meanwhile, notebooks have smaller screens, with most being 13.3-inch or 13.6-inch screens.

If you’d want something more portable, then go for a notebook. But if you’d want a better and more comfortable viewing experience, then a laptop is for you. However, there is a growing number of laptops that have 13-inch screens and they even aren’t called as notebooks!

Display Resolution

Laptops normally have higher screen resolutions because they’re built for serious work, either at the office or for individual projects. Because of this, most manufacturers make sure that they have a resolution of at least 1080p, which is equivalent to 1920 x 1080 resolution.

However, there are also some laptops that have 4K screens that are twice as better in screen quality than the 1080p ones, but at much higher prices.

Notebooks on the other hand come in standard 1080p displays as anything higher than that makes them bulkier, which defeats the purpose of being a lightweight notebook.

Portability

Laptops and notebooks have very similar weight and sizes today. However, most laptops are still heavier and bigger than notebooks. Laptops usually weigh around 4 lbs. to 8 lbs. to even 10 lbs. at most.

Meanwhile, notebooks are lighter with average weight between 2 lbs. to 5 lbs. Laptops are also generally thicker than the lighter and sleeker notebooks.

Most notebooks are also slimmer as they have thickness of around 2 inches thin. They’re directed towards students and hobbyist, whereas laptops are catered towards professionals and experts.

Price

Laptops come in varying prices with some priced between $200 to $3,000. Meanwhile, notebooks are much cheaper as they’re between the $150 to $500 price range.

The reason for this is because laptops come with better components, specs, and features than notebooks which are targeted towards the average joe. It’s also worth noting that notebooks are now divided into two kinds.

These are the netbooks and ultrabooks. Netbooks are the most affordable kind as they offer basic functionality, compared to ultrabooks that have advanced specs and can be converted from a notebook into a tablet and vice versa.

Computing Power

Laptops have better computing power than notebooks. Computing power is determined by processor, RAM, video card, HDD, and SSD. Laptops usually have at least an Intel Core i5 processor with four cores, with the higher end ones having Intel Core i7.

Notebooks, on the other hand starts at a basic and a bit outdated Intel Core i3, especially with the netbooks. However, some models also have Core i5, but seldomly Core i7.

Most laptops, especially the ones for gaming, have dedicated video cards from NVIDIA, with the most common ones coming from the GeForce line. Notebooks, unfortunately, usually doesn’t have this.

Laptop RAM is at a minimum standard 8GB, while 16GB and 32GB choices are also available. Notebooks have around 4GB RAM, and 512GB HDD while lacking an SSD for lower end models.

Laptops have a standard 1TB HDD and a minimum of 256GB SSD. However, some laptops don’t have an SSD. You can also opt for the 512GB SSD models or the hybrid SSHD models they have now.

Battery Life

Battery life is where most notebooks outcompete laptops. Notebooks are called as such because they must function just like a literal notebook, portable, lightweight, and always on-the-go.

Having these traits means that they should have better battery life, and that’s their edge compared to laptops. Most notebooks have a battery life of 8 hours up to a massive 15 hours.

They are usually more energy efficient as they are smaller, have simpler processors, and have less computing power, compared to the more aggressive laptops that have battery life of around 5 hours to 8 hours.

There are even some which just reach a short 4 hours under heavy usage, such as gaming rigs that have high-performance cooling fans to cool off its strong quad-core processors.

But then again, battery life depends greatly on usage. An example would be using up more battery if you play games or watch movies, compared to just simply browsing the web.

Background History

Laptops

Laptops first came into shape in 1976, when Xerox company developed the first Xerox NoteTaker. This was considered as the very first portable computer.

However, it wasn’t sold in the market as it only remained as a prototype. Specifically speaking, only 10 of it were built. It wasn’t until 1981 when Osborne 1 was commercially launched.

This was about the size of a standard sewing machine. However, it didn’t have any battery as it ran on electricity. Nonetheless, it still served its purpose as it allowed people to use the computer while on-the-go.

Then came the Kaypro II which is a better version of the Osborne 1. It was released in 1982and was met positively by the starstruck market. It had double-sided floppy drives which means having twice the storage capacity of the older model.

Its competitor, the GRiD Compass 1101 also came out in the same year. A year after, Compaq also launched their own laptop which they called as the Compaq Portable. It didn’t take long for Epson to also launch their own HX-20.

Notebooks

Portable computers became smaller through the years. And by 1988, the Cambridge Z88 came out. It was 16 times more powerful than the first laptop, the Osborne 1. What made it even more interesting was that its weight has been cut by 50%.

The Compaq LTE and NEC UltraLite were then released in 1989. IBM then joined the club with their very own IBM ThinkPad which featured the first 10.4-inch screen.

These were very lightweight at that time, and were called notebooks as their size was roughly similar to that of a normal notebook.

These notebooks weighed around 6 lbs. And then, the next generation of notebooks emerged, such as the Gateway Handbook and the HP OmniBook.

Apple was already a major player in the market with their lightweight PowerBook which weighed a light 4.4 lbs. However, this was shadowed by the Sony VAIO which was launched in 1997 and weighed a very light 2.5 lbs.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, laptops are bigger and more powerful than notebooks. But this isn’t always the case as the line between laptops and notebooks is becoming thinner than ever, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between the two.

Nonetheless, these two are still a key player in today’s lifestyle, economy, and society as a whole. There’s no doubt that these will be around in the next decades to come and will be more powerful and convenient than ever before.

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