A netbook of laptop? Which is best for a small business owner?
It goes without say that the vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs live with some piece of computer hardware not to far away from their person. The choice for a small business is not dictated by cost any more either. In fact, the choice is more about what you need the technology to do for your business. Here, I’ll focus on the choice between a netbook or a laptop.
What’s a netbook? The simple answer is a smaller, lighter version of a laptop. The first netbooks came a few years ago with stripped down operating systems and low disk space. This is no more. I bought a HP netbook a few weeks ago for my daughter and it has a 160GB hard disk, 1 GB of ram, full WiFi connectivity and a full version of Windows XP. So in my mind, it’s exactly like my laptop- only smaller and lighter. And all for about €250 net of VAT. So if you’re running a small business and you want to get away from a desk, should you buy a laptop or netbook? My answer is to first ask yourself three questions:
1) What is the computer used for? If it is MS Office, browsing, email and basic accounting/business software go with the netbook. If applications are more intense, like CAD or graphics, a laptop might be better.
2) Who is going to use the computer? If you’re mobile, or your staff are, netbooks are really light and portable. So are laptops, but they can cost a little more.
3) Where is the computer used? I have seen some business people use a netbook (with mobile broadband) in their car – obviously while stopped! Again, netbooks are so portable and you can think of them as a travelling version of your office PC or laptop.
Some people have said to me, ” hang on, these netbooks don’t have a CD drive, how do I install software?” Download it is the simple answer. So, given the low cost and full connectivity, netbooks are the best option in my view – unless you’re a designer or architect running heavy applications.