Do Netbooks Deliver?

Here's how netbooks measure up to their notebook predecessors.
This story first appeared in the April 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

You've probably heard that netbooks (pint-size stripped-down notebooks) are all the rage right now--you may even be eyeing one. From Lenovo's IdeaPad S10 to Hewlett-Packard's Mini 2140 to Dell's Inspiron Mini 9, many manufacturers are packing the typically sub-$500 devices with features fit for entrepreneurs. Aside from a low price point and compact size, what's the appeal? Here's how netbooks measure up to their predecessors:

Pro: Keep in touch and connected. "My business requires I be in touch 24/7," says Beth Shaw, 41, founder and president of Yogafit Training Systems Worldwide in Torrance, California. She relies on her MSI Wind U100 for "e-mails and internet at a glance."

Con: For some, the messaging capabilities of a BlackBerry may suffice.

Pro: Stay productive on the road. From note-taking to loading presentations to Skyping, Pamela Gilchrist, 45, president and CEO of Cincinnati-based PR firm PR-Link, swears by her new Acer Aspire One: "It's much easier for business travel," she says. "[It's] quickly becoming my 'can't do without' item."

Con: Many netbooks come sans disc drives or the memory and speed needed to run certain programs.

Pro: Add a powerful tool to your arsenal. "Without it, I'm like a burlesque nightclub owner without a sexy dancer or a restaurateur without a fabulous steak frites," says Ivan Kane, 52, president of Ivan Kane Enterprise Inc., a Los Angeles restaurant management group. He loves his new Sony Vaio PCG-4L1L.

Con: There will always be a new must-have tech gadget; is the netbook it right now?

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