Do Netbooks Deliver?

Here's how netbooks measure up to their notebook predecessors.
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This story appears in the April 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. 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?

Edition: June 2017

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