What Is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Notebook Computer?


Quick Answer

There is no difference between a laptop and a notebook computer. Both terms are used interchangeably to describe a portable computer with an integrated screen and keyboard that runs on battery power. Sizes of laptops range from small netbooks only slightly bigger than a hardcover book to larger notebooks the size of a slim briefcase.

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What Is the Difference Between a Laptop and a Notebook Computer?
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Full Answer

Laptops differ from desktop computers in that they are portable and run on battery power. They differ from tablet computers by having full, attached keyboards. A notebook's screen dimensions dictate the height and width of the laptop, while the size of its components determine its depth.

In efforts to reduce the overall weight and thickness of laptops, computer manufacturers have worked to shrink the size of some components such as the hard drive and eliminated other components entirely. The optical drive, once standard to make a notebook compatible with CDs and DVDs, has been removed from many laptops to achieve a more slim design.

Within the class of laptop computers, there are increasing designations based on size. Extremely narrow notebooks running certain Intel processors are called Ultrabooks, a title trademarked by the company. Notebooks with smaller height and width dimensions due to their smaller screens are often called netbooks.

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