What’s the Difference between a Laptop and a Notebook?

If you’re in the market for a cheap laptop, then you’ve probably come across a wide array of options that can be confusing. One of these will typically be a Notebook, which is mixed in with all the other laptops. And for the average person, you probably have no idea what a Notebook even is, and how it differs from a laptop.

Fortunately, there isn’t actually much difference between the two and it’s quite easy to explain. So, let’s take a look at how you can differentiate a laptop from a notebook without any issues.

Laptop vs Notebook – How are they different?

To put it simply, a notebook is always a laptop, but a laptop isn’t always a notebook. Notebooks typically refer to laptops that weigh less than 4 or 5lbs, and are only 2 to 3 inches thick.

However, nothing is set in stone when it comes to a Notebook. The truth is that there are no hard definitions for what a laptop is, and what a Notebook is. Any company can advertise their new laptop as a notebook if they wish to do so.

The main reason why someone would opt for a notebook over a laptop is simply just for convenience. Not everyone needs a large screen or a big keypad to get work done, especially if you aren’t your device for work purposes.

But what are is the difference between a laptop and a notebook in more specific detail? Well, here are some of the criteria that most notebooks meet.

How to Tell a Notebook from a Laptop

  • Size The majority of laptops can range anywhere from 10 inches up to 17 inches – you can be smaller and larger than this, but these are the most common screen sizes. A Notebook will typically be 12 inches or smaller, with the regular laptop screen size being 13 inches.
  • Weight – As mentioned, size is another factor to consider when differentiating a notebook from a laptop. Most laptops classified as notebooks weigh anywhere between 3 and 5 lbs.
  • RAM – Typically, a Notebook will have 4GB of RAM (this has been 2GB or less in the past, but nowadays new releases seem to all come with 4GB of RAM, which is the amount of power most people need). Laptops nowadays also come with 4GB of RAM, but typically premium laptops will start at 8GB of RAM for the base model, and even go up to 16GB RAM.
  • Cooling System – Many larger laptops and computers have a large cooling system, which is necessary to keep the internal parts of the laptop from overheating. This isn’t necessary for notebooks, or even possible due to their size.
  • Manufacturers – Not every brand out there creates notebooks. Some of them may create what is defined as a notebook by someone else, by actually end up calling it something different. An example of this is a Netbook, which is an even smaller version of a notebook. But, not everyone uses the term netbook, either.
  • Low cost – Notebooks tend to be cost effective, so they can be a good idea if you’re looking for a really cheap laptop.

Should I buy a notebook?

If you’re considering purchasing a notebook, then this can be a great idea for some people. however, it really depends on what you’re going to use it for.

Typically notebooks have small screens, so they aren’t good for students or people who work on their laptop. Sure, they’re portable. But the small screens aren’t ideal for working long hours, and the configuration and size of the keyboard can also be an issue when you’re typing too.

Notebooks are a great idea if you’re looking for something cheap for a child to use. It will give them all the functionality of a laptop without the size and cost. A notebook also might be suitable if you’re looking for something that you’ll only use to browse the internet casually, as they typically aren’t that powerful.


All in all, this makes it pretty easy to see how a notebook is really just a small type of laptop. In recent years, Notebooks have actually become less popular, with many people opting to go for a tablet instead, or even a 2-in-1 laptop. A 2-in-1 laptop combines the best of both worlds, giving you the flexibility of a tablet with the power of a laptop.

If we’re looking into the future, then soon we’ll have notebooks that have the same power as a regular sized laptop and more. So if you don’t think a notebook will be powerful enough for you, it will be in the future!

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

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