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

Laptops are usually small enough to fit on your lap, but laptop computers have recently been referred to as notebooks. Even so, a laptop is technically larger in weight and thickness than a regular notebook.

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Notebooks and laptops have some similarities as they are both portable and they look almost alike, however, there are some major differences between the two.

How is a Laptop Different From a Notebook?

Notebook computers are designed to offer users the luxury of doing their work on the go while allowing them all means of entertainment given to mobile phone users. Notebook computers are typically expensive, especially top-line notebooks.

What makes notebooks popular is the fact that they are lighter than a regular laptop which makes it easier to move around carrying them. Additionally, it does not have an internal floppy disk and cannot utilize DVDs or CDs. It also offers users up to four hours of battery life.

Notebooks are as intelligent as laptops, when you need to connect to the internet, it has a network connection with a 12’-14’ long screen. And a smaller keyboard compared to laptops.

Laptops, on the other hand, allow you to have a complete portable computer in your bag, laptops are considered quite large when compared to notebooks. They also offer several features that are not offered by notebooks.

Such as their size, as a laptop is larger and heavier than a notebook due to the extra functions. Laptops have an ATI Radeon graphics subsystem, an internal DVDRW drive, Wifi options, and an integrated modern network.

Laptops offer higher quality when it comes to speakers, they also have up to two hours of battery life. In addition to a large keyboard which is convenient for work without distress. Laptops screens are between 14’-17’ long, and quite upgradeable.

How to Tell a Laptop From a Notebook?

Nowadays, buying a portable computer is very confusing. They need to choose between a wide range of options that are almost similarly described, such as laptops, notebooks, netbooks, ultrabooks, tablets, Chromebooks, Macbooks, iPads, etc, and Android devices.

Most of the differences between laptops and notebooks are blurry, normally, laptops weigh about five pounds and their thickness is about 1.5-2 inches. While notebooks weigh about three pounds and their thickness is somewhere between half an inch to an inch.

Major Manufacturers

When it comes to laptops, major manufacturers are Dell, Apple, Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo, MSI, Alienware, Microsoft, HP, Samsung, Asus, and Sony. Making laptops in demand more than notebooks.

On the other hand, you can only find notebooks by major manufacturers such as HP, Sony, Toshiba, Dell, and Samsung. So, not all manufacturers produce both.

Size Differences

As mentioned before, size makes a lot of differences between a laptop and a notebook. Laptops can go from small and sleek to big and bulky, laptop screens usually range between 10 and 20 inches across.

While notebooks are noticeably smaller than a laptop, extra thin, with smaller screen size. The size of a notebook computer is generally the same as a real-life notebook. However, some manufacturers choose to market their notebooks as laptops so they make them bigger than usual.

Weight Differences

A laptop usually weighs around four to eight pounds (2 to 4 kilograms). However, a laptop’s weight mainly depends on the hardware, the display size, and other factors.

On the other hand, notebook computers are known for being lightweight, they typically weigh around 5 pounds and their size is almost the same as a real-life notebook to fit in a briefcase or a backpack easily.


A typical laptop or a notebook comes with 8 GB of RAM which should be enough for easy tasks such as watching movies, browsing, or playing music. However, if you believe you will need to open multiple apps at the same time, you might need more RAM. In case you are a gamer, you should choose more RAM, up to 16 GB or more depending on your requirements.

Processing Power

When it comes to the processing capacity, laptops usually come with higher processing power than notebooks. Usually between one to eight GB RAM.

While notebooks nowadays can come in ordinary laptop configurations, users might notice that as the notebook becomes more powerful, it loses the sense of the small notebooks that are made for light tasks.

Cooling System

As laptops use up power, they come with fans to cool down the processor and maintain your laptop’s life. On the other hand, notebooks do not use that much power as the processing power is way lesser than laptops. Accordingly, notebooks do not come with an effective cooling system.

Laptop vs Notebook – Pros and Cons

Laptops – Pros:

  • Laptops are portable, small in size, and can be moved from one place to another easily without hassle.
  • With all the technology advancements and electronics decreasing in size, laptops can be very lightweight with all the same qualities and functions.
  • Laptops rarely crash due to firmware or hardware errors.
  • Laptop batteries can last for hours on a single charge.
  • Laptops offer security that is even better than desktop computers

Laptops – Cons:

  • Laptops are not cheap, you can get the same specs for a cheaper price if you decide to buy a desktop computer
  • Laptop hardware needs frequent upgrades
  • There is always a risk of the laptop falling or spilling something on it, which makes laptops quite sensitive
  • Very expensive to repair

 Notebook – Pros:

  • Fast, as the processor used in notebooks has about 2.1GHz or even more. This is great to process videos and graphics, it also means that users will be able to open two or three simple apps without lagging.
  • Even though notebooks are smaller in size than laptops, the screen size is relatively larger and more comfortable to look at for several hours.
  • Smaller in size, making it easier to move it around from one place to another in a briefcase of a backpack.
  • Even though the keyboard is smaller than a laptop’s, the keyboard is user-friendly as they are placed in a way that all fingers can reach them without hassle.

Notebook – Cons:

  • When notebooks are compared with desktop computers with almost the same specs, notebooks are more expensive as all the components of the computer are reduced in size to fit this portable notebook.
  • Notebooks pose more risk than regular desktop computers as they are an easier target for theft. Additionally, notebooks should not include any personal or sensitive information as public wifi networks can pose some security risks.
  • Most notebooks in the market come with a 6 cell battery which does not last longer than 2-3 hours. It could last even less than that if the user is opening more than one power-consuming app at the same time.

Choosing between a notebook and a laptop is not always easy, as both offer different functions, but major differences in price, size, weight and security might make it easier for you to make a more informed decision.

Written By Callum Wright

With a background as a business owner for a company wokring with 3D animation and Visual Effects, Callum is just the person you need when you need help regarding laptops for professional use like graphics designing, photo editing, and general business administration.