It would seem that notebook and laptop are terms used interchangeably to mean one and the same thing – a mobile computer. However, the truth turns out to be quite different. These are two slightly different devices. How do they differ and what do they have in common?
What is a laptop?
Laptops and notebooks are portable computers, which can be successfully used for work, play and entertainment, and the main difference between these two terms is their size and thus also the purpose. Laptops are devices with matrix usually larger than 12 inches, equipped with a comfortable, almost full-size keyboard. Inside them you will find components with performance similar to those used in desktop computers. Due to the high power of processors and dedicated graphics cards or RAM capacity, they can successfully replace a desktop computer in the most demanding applications for video and photo editing or even multi-language programming. The larger external dimensions are also accompanied by a large battery capacity. It provides many hours of work in demanding programs under full load. It is also important that laptops are equipped with active cooling realized by a fan (one or more) and many heat sinks that provide efficient work for many hours, without the so-called throttling, i.e. slowing down the processor speed to protect it from too high operating temperature.
What is a notebook, then?
A notebook is also a laptop, but with a much smaller external dimensions and lighter weight, because what matters is its mobility, not the power of components, RAM or hard disk capacity. As the name suggests, notebooks are mainly used for simple and undemanding work, taking notes or browsing the Internet, and their biggest advantage is unparalleled portability. Such devices can be taken with you literally anywhere. Whether you’re going to school, college, work, or a restaurant, these devices can fit into a small purse. They feature lower performance components, such as processors with fewer cores or threads, and the lack of active cooling can cause throttling.
In most cases, notebooks are equipped with the smallest liquid crystal displays with a diagonal of no more than 10 inches. Of course, such a matrix will not provide adequate visibility of the smallest details in photo or video editing programs, but for browsing the Internet or writing e-mails it will be perfect. What’s interesting, notebook manufacturers are trying to make their notebooks even more diverse and introduce technical innovations that are supposed to increase their mobility. A great example of such innovation is the system of detaching the keyboard or rotating it to the back of the device. Then you get a tablet with the capabilities of a real computer – and with a touch screen!
Laptop or notebook – what to choose and what to look for?
The choice between a laptop and a notebook is relatively simple, as it comes down to how you’re going to use the device. If you like to travel or use your computer while eating at a restaurant or waiting in line – choose a notebook. It won’t add much weight to your backpack or bag, it will have enough performance for recreational use, and it will look great in any situation.
However, if you use your laptop for demanding work or games – choose a traditional laptop with a large screen and the best components available on the market. Such laptops can be successfully upgraded with more RAM or a new hard drive.