12 Best Netbooks in 2018
What is a netbook? That is an interesting question these days as they have more or less gone the way of the dinosaur. For a time, the netbook was extremely popular as an entry-level laptop with a small footprint, but those times have changed. Laptops components have gotten dirt cheap, which means you can now buy a laptop for the price of a high-end netbook – when they were still at the top of the heap.
Today’s netbooks are more laptop than book, but most still come with a tiny form factor of under 12-inches. While they may not have the same moniker, they still work in the same way, and we think you may be pleasantly surprised by what the new breed of “netbook” can do.
We set a few guidelines for our list of the best netbook laptops available. All are going to be 11.6-inches as that is the new netbook size with a few exceptions. The 10-inch range is generally made up of tablets, so anything smaller is not on our list. Affordability is also at the forefront as all of our new netbooks come with a price point that makes them more affordable than a traditional laptop PC.
Top 12 Netbooks Ultimate Table
Netbook Buying Info
Netbooks may not exist in their classic form, but new models have more power than you would expect. No matter how affordable, you should still consider a few things that we will briefly cover below.
This is one area where you will get a little bit of choice when it comes to netbooks. While you will not find Linux or the Mac OS on any machine to make our best netbook list, you will find a mix of Chrome and Windows. The latter is the only way to go if you are concerned about running programs, compatibility or want a netbook that can do more than most.
The Chrome OS is no slouch but can take some getting used to for some users. That said, it is the perfect operating system if you just want to surf the internet, read, do school work or a bit of light gaming. You may not be able to use your favorite applications, but it is a lightweight OS that is extremely easy to use.
Storage on a netbook may come in one of three forms. Normally we would see the standard HDD drive and some models with solid state drives or SSDs. With netbooks, there is also Flash Storage which is not something you want if need local storage. Netbooks are well known for many things, but storage is not one of them.
Anyone can turn to the cloud, but some applications can only be run on our hard drive and can require a considerable amount of space. If that’s the case for you, make sure you have ample hard drive space on the machine you choose. The Chromebooks above are known to be light in this particular area, something to keep in mind.
Due to their portable nature, most of the netbooks we chose have a wide array of connectivity options. You can expect them all to have Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth is common these days as well. When it comes to ports and other options, things get a little skimpier, so you are not going to find too many USB 3.0 ports or USB-C slots. There are some exceptions but do not expect a load of ports on any of these PCs.
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Chromebooks are not known for their groundbreaking designs or sheer power. While the Acer Chromebook 11 C740 is not going to break any benchmark records, it is one of the better-looking Chromebooks on the market. It is also sturdier than the company’s previous models due to reinforced corners and better hinges. The brushed metal style looks good, and this new age netbook is light and thin measuring around 11.3” x 8 x 0.8” thick with a weight of 2.9 pounds.
When it comes to the horses that power this particular PC, there are not many resting under the hood. It runs off of an Intel Celeron 3205U which is backed by 4GB of RAM. As you would expect, the graphics are integrated (Intel HD) and there is not much storage available out of the box. In this case, it is only a measly 16GB solid state drive so prepare for life in the cloud or go ahead and pick up an external hard drive. A large USB stick is also an option they are quite portable.
There is no optical drive on the Chromebook C740, but that is par for the course in the Chromebook world. Other features of interest include two USB ports (one 3.0), and HDMI out and a 3-cell 3,920mAh battery which will keep the lights on for around 9 hours. While it may be underwhelming in the power department, it is a top-tier Chromebook that is great for casual use.
The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 comes with the same 11.6” panel as our top choice, but this one does something others can’t. It has been deemed “ruggedized” by the company, which means it has rubber wrapped edges for a sure and easy grip. It has also passed a drop test from a height of 3.9-feet and is light at a little over 2.5 pounds.
If you don’t have butterfingers, those features may not be for you but you will appreciate the spill-resistant keyboards. Soft drink and water will not kill your laptop, and the hinge even bends 180-degrees to give you a different point of view. You can’t go full tablet, but you also don’t have to worry about busting those hinges.
In regards to the specs, things aren’t as rosy with the Celeron N4060 and 4GB of RAM. The battery life is rated at 10 hours depending on your usage and the storage clocks in at 16GB Flash. That said, you will get 100GB of free storage from Google Drive for 2-years with the purchase of the Rugged C202SA.
Looking for a sleek netbook style laptop with an aluminum shell? Acer has one, and it is one of the only Chromebooks to actually give consumers some options under the hood. The little laptop has a patterned aluminum cover and is of average size for its class at 11.57” x 8.03” x 0.73” with a weight of 2.43 lbs.
While the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ is not any more powerful than the other netbooks on our list, it comes in three different styles. There is a “convertible” model with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and the Intel Celeron N3150. The classic clamshell model sports a touchscreen display, the Celeron N3060, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Last but not least is the base model with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and the Celeron N2840.
Being able to get a touchscreen or convertible is an obvious bonus with this model. You will be limited due to the OS but will get amazing battery life at around 10 hours and a decent amount of storage with the 32GB variant.
If you have not chosen the best netbook for yourself by now, you have probably noticed Chromebooks are extremely popular. Samsung is no stranger to the laptop game, and the Samsung Chromebook 3 is one of their better models to date. It has the same 11.6” HD display as the rest of its brethren but stronger battery life than most at 11 hours depending on your usage.
The highlight of this one would be the fact it possesses a spill-proof design. That, and the fact that it extremely affordable for what you get. In this case, that includes 4GB of RAM, and a 1.6 to 2.48GHz Celeron processor. The storage is nothing to write home about with a 16GB solid state drive, but you can turn to the cloud or go external with one of the USB ports.
If you are not thrilled at the prospect of Chrome, we have included one laptop that falls into the netbook range. The Fusion5 comes with Windows 10 out of the box and has the distinction of having the best display as well. While we cannot speak to the quality of the panel, the 10.6” display is FHD with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.
Those two features alone make the Fusion5 worth a look, but when it comes to power, it is not the fastest netbook around. The power comes from 2GB of RAM and the Intel Baytrail 3735F processor Not ideal, but it will get the job done for browsing and basic use – it is good enough to run Windows 10. The storage is listed at 32GB and is of the flash variety, but you can expand through the USB ports or a microSD card slot which is an interesting alternative.
This laptop should have just enough pop to run most applications, but not anything too intensive considering it only comes with 2GB of RAM. All the usual connectivity options are present along with a VGA front-facing camera while the battery is listed at 5,800mAh.