Tablet vs Netbook

Tablet or netbook? Which is best? Fight!

Since I’ve been going on about my new toy (a Sony Tablet) recently, several of my computer support clients have asked me whether they should buy a tablet or a netbook to take away with them on holiday.

It seems that we’ve now reached the position where even comparatively “casual” computer users want and expect to be connected when they are away from their static computer.

I’ve found that – even when taking into account what I know of the client’s habits, preferences, and wants – it’s often not clear which is the better option. So, I thought it might be useful to list what I see as the salient features, and try to give some idea of how the different formats compare:

Table of comparisons between tablets and netbooks

My own personal experience

Whenever I go to visit a computer client, I find that I am now making a conscious decision as to whether I will be likely to need my netbook (which is more powerful and gives me pretty well everything I have on my static computers), or can I get away with taking just the Tablet (much lighter, and more convenient for short sessions – such as checking emails or catching up with news or blogs). Certainly I would now take the tablet in preference to the netbook if going away for days, unless I expected to have a work-related reason for taking the netbook.


There’s a great deal of overlap between netbooks and tablets. If I needed to bring it down to a simple formula for deciding which I’d recommend, I’d say:

  • Consider whether you have an overwhelming reason for buying a netbook (probably to do with the keyboard or needing Windows software).
  • Tend towards a tablet for fun and leisure purposes.
  • Tend towards a netbook if you just think of the thing as a “tool” and want the minimum “involvement” coupled with the maximum “functionality”.