I have spent the last week deciding between whether to buy a netbook or a laptop.
A netbook was tempting for both the low price ($300 to $400 range) and as an experiment with Linux and OpenOffice (for some netbooks). However, a large number of online reviews pointed out the limitations of netbooks: smaller keyboard, not much memory, and sluggishness, especially those using Windows XP or Vista.
Ultimately, the advice from a colleague helped me decide in favour of a laptop. His advice? Is it for travel or is it for work? Since I wanted to use it for work, I went for a more robust laptop, ultimately deciding on a Dell Inspiron model for $549, which was way faster and lighter than my 4-year old Inspiron.
I mention this not as a plug of Dell since there are a large number of laptops in the lower $550 to $800 range that are comparable. I mention it instead if it saves anyone else time in deciding between a netbook or a laptop. I would go for the laptop for a few hundred dollars more.
Now if only my BlackBerry could be a laptop replacement . . . .