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Study: Netbook Buyers Clueless About Netbooks

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 45 comments

Netbook or notebook? Some people don't know.

Tom’s Hardware readers know what netbooks are and also know what netbooks aren’t. It seems, however, that the rest of the buying public doesn’t possess the same sort of knowledge.

According to a study by the NPD Group, 60-percent of consumers who purchased a netbook believed that their machines are the same as notebooks.

While the lines between netbooks and notebooks are blurring, there is still a distinguishing line in the performance differences between the two. Even the fastest Atom processor is still modest compared to the entry-level Intel Celeron CPU, and so netbooks are by nature less powerful.

The confusion between the differences between what a netbook and notebook are capable of may have triggered some consumer dissatisfaction. NPD figured that only 58 percent of consumers who bought a netbook (but were shopping for a notebook) said they were very satisfied with their purchase. In contrast, 70-percent of consumers who planned on buying a netbook from the start were ultimately satisfied with their purchase.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, one of the main target markets for netbook makers, 65-percent said they bought their netbooks expecting better performance, and only 27-percent said their netbooks performed better than expected, reported the NPD.

“We need to make sure consumers are buying a PC intended for what they plan to do with it," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “There is a serious risk of cannibalization in the notebook market that could cause a real threat to netbooks' success. Retailers and manufacturers can't put too much emphasis on PC-like capabilities and general features that could convince consumers that a netbook is a replacement for a notebook. Instead, they should be marketing mobility, portability, and the need for a companion PC to ensure consumers know what they are buying and are more satisfied with their purchases.”

Portability seems to be a key feature that netbook buyers already understand from looking at the product. 60-percent of netbook buyers cited portability as the main reason why they purchased the product, but interestingly, 60-percent of netbook owners admitted to have never taken their computers out of their homes.

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Top Comments
  • 39 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2009 10:26 PM
    I bought this $200 computer to play Crysis, and I must say that I am VERY DISAPPOINTED.
  • 21 Hide
    cadder , June 24, 2009 10:54 PM
    So they buy a $300 computer instead of a $600 or $800 computer, then they are surprised when it isn't as powerful? Very funny. Maybe they aren't smart enough to own a computer.
  • 21 Hide
    jerreece , June 24, 2009 10:04 PM
    LOL

    Quote:
    This just in! The majority of computer purchasers don't know much about the technical details of computers! in a recent study, Common Sense Laboratories conducted a clinical test to see how many computer shoppers knew the difference between Hard Drive space and Memory. In a shocking set of statistical data, CSL determined that the vast majority of folks buying new computers didn't understand how to differentiate between the internal components and what they do, let alone the difference between brands and models of CPUs.


    Like this is a big surprise? Let's face it, most folks don't know the stuff the average Tom's Hardware reader should know. Every computer (Netbook or not) is hyped up to be the best thing since sliced bread. So most folks figure whatever they buy should perform well. Little do they know there's a big difference between a $200 - $300 Netbook to a custom built gaming PC which only cost $1,000.
Other Comments
    Display all 45 comments.
  • 12 Hide
    mtyermom , June 24, 2009 10:00 PM
    Uh.... I'm not surprised?
  • 21 Hide
    jerreece , June 24, 2009 10:04 PM
    LOL

    Quote:
    This just in! The majority of computer purchasers don't know much about the technical details of computers! in a recent study, Common Sense Laboratories conducted a clinical test to see how many computer shoppers knew the difference between Hard Drive space and Memory. In a shocking set of statistical data, CSL determined that the vast majority of folks buying new computers didn't understand how to differentiate between the internal components and what they do, let alone the difference between brands and models of CPUs.


    Like this is a big surprise? Let's face it, most folks don't know the stuff the average Tom's Hardware reader should know. Every computer (Netbook or not) is hyped up to be the best thing since sliced bread. So most folks figure whatever they buy should perform well. Little do they know there's a big difference between a $200 - $300 Netbook to a custom built gaming PC which only cost $1,000.
  • 10 Hide
    eklipz330 , June 24, 2009 10:06 PM
    i think a lol is in order
  • 39 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2009 10:26 PM
    I bought this $200 computer to play Crysis, and I must say that I am VERY DISAPPOINTED.
  • 11 Hide
    computabug , June 24, 2009 10:28 PM
    Meh, their fault. Gotta learn to exploit the (stupid) general public. Hey, that's how people get rich. Now if only there was no such thing as tax and it was every man for himself...
  • 3 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , June 24, 2009 10:46 PM
    IronRyan21Of Course! Netbook Buyers dont know anything. 6 months ago I bought a notebook from a now deceased electronics store for $499 after rebate, with specs: 17 inch Toshiba, Pentium D 2.0 Ghz 160 GB HDD.... way better than a netbook and almost the same cost. F**K NETBOOKS.


    Apparently you are not old enough to not feel like to carry a 8lb laptop for job-related travels.
  • 21 Hide
    cadder , June 24, 2009 10:54 PM
    So they buy a $300 computer instead of a $600 or $800 computer, then they are surprised when it isn't as powerful? Very funny. Maybe they aren't smart enough to own a computer.
  • 17 Hide
    Anonymous , June 24, 2009 10:58 PM
    By today's standards, 80%+ of people (my best guess) don't even need that much performance. Most people are doing nearly the same thing they were doing 9 years ago on their Pentium 3's.

    That being said, I recently bought my second netbook (my first being the ASUS EEE 701). The new one is a Lenovo S10e, with a 160GB HDD, Atom N270, and an Intel GMA 950 onboard video. I currently have Windows 7 running the Aero interface fluidly. Fades in and out are perfectly smooth, and video playback is perfectly smooth as well. Bought an external DVD-RW that also works perfectly well, and I get 3h 45m on a 3-cell battery to boot. The bluetooth module was $15 shipped off ebay, and I now use it to connect to my Palm Centro as a modem.

    160GB and runs Windows 7 aero interface without any hickups or lag? Sounds plenty powerful for me. It has an express card slot, card reader, and my only gripe is the 2 usb ports.

    Using an external monitor, I can even run some mild photoshop, illustrator, indesign, and acrobat work.

    Sure, a C2D notebook would be faster, but for the vast majority of people, its yesterday's desktop weighing in at 2.75 pounds with a near 4 hour battery life. I wouldn't use it as a business notebook (being a field technician), as I need a bit more power for what I do, but when I'm not at work, I hardly ever find myself needing more performance.

    Best of all, I paid $330 + tax.

    No, netbooks aren't notebooks, but for the 80% of consumers, it certainly does nearly everything you want it to.
  • 8 Hide
    JAYDEEJOHN , June 24, 2009 11:05 PM
    Anybody notice the "we must keep netbook abilities low or the sky will fall" attitude? A netbook could be better, but with all the propoganda, itll be awhile before they do get better
  • 2 Hide
    mdillenbeck , June 24, 2009 11:05 PM
    While I agree that a consumer that chooses to remain ignorant of the details of their purchase fall into the "buyer beware" category, I think they do not share the responsibility for poor purchase decisions alone - intentionally deceptive sales practices (and sales staff) also bear some of the burden.

    However, I am not surprised that the typical consumer has no idea what they are buying - if they did, half of the junk that is on the market wouldn't be there at all!
  • 0 Hide
    erikstarcher , June 24, 2009 11:11 PM
    No surprise there. Most people don't know the difference between a hard drive, modem and a computer. I work at a retail store that does sales and service, and people call all of the time to check and see if their modem or hard drive is fixed yet and ready for pickup. We also get people in all of the time looking to spend $200 on a used laptop and then complain that it is slow, and didn't come with office on it.
  • 5 Hide
    lifelesspoet , June 24, 2009 11:34 PM
    My mother was buying laptops for christmas for my neices, ages 13 and 15. I suggested that she buy netbooks, and save 150 dollars each. I'm sure most folks here know how frustrating it is to be asked for computer advice and then be ignored once given. So, my sister and one of my neices got a toshiba satelite with vista for 500, and they hate them because I have to come and fix the wireless driver every 3 months and its so bloated with extra crap that its a bit sluggish. I got an aspire one and my other niece saw it and wanted her own, so she bought one with her own money and she loves it.
    Some folks don't like netbooks and I understand. Personally, I like my desktops to be powerful and my laptops to be portable. For the same price I can buy a laptop that does both fairly well but not as good as two purpose built devices.
  • 2 Hide
    megamanx00 , June 24, 2009 11:46 PM
    Heh that's funny, but not surprising. Netbooks have thier uses, but I guess there isn't really any effort to educate people on just what a netbook is. If they had just stuck to Linux for netbooks then people would be like, "oh, it's one of those little things that doesn't run windows but isn't a mac".
  • 0 Hide
    aspireonelover , June 25, 2009 12:01 AM
    lol, it's funny how some (more like 60%) people don't have a clue about netbooks.
    All the people in my school who bought netbooks said "Oh, their really cute and small."
    and then the next day, they walk up to me saying, "Hey Jeff, can you put this CD on your comp?" then my replied would be "It's a netbook, it has no CD drive on it whatsoever."
    Then, they would want to edit movies on my netbook, then they ask again "Jeff, why is your comp so slow?!" then again, my reply was "It's a netbook, what do you expect?"
    I bought it because I knew that it would be useful. I used it for school, and I am 150% satisfied with my aspire one. I LOVE NETBOOKS! (although they're weak, but that's why I have a gaming desktop to serve that purpose (you know, games, movie editing))
    Netbooks trade off performance for a longer battery life. Keep in mind, my battery lasts around 5 hours, and school lasts 6 hours. But it's ok, I have 2 batteries. ;) 
    Just sharin' my story.
  • 4 Hide
    thejerk , June 25, 2009 1:34 AM
    I have an eeePC 900A that *only* makes it's way out of the house. I work as a field engineer and I use it tethered to my mobile phone to keep on top of things when I'm away from my home office... which is about 80% of the time. Email and word processing, that's what it's there for, and it's perfect for it.
  • 0 Hide
    joshthor , June 25, 2009 1:50 AM
    chaohsiangchenApparently you are not old enough to not feel like to carry a 8lb laptop for job-related travels.


    eh, i carry a 6 lb notebook and about 15 lbs of books each day, its not too bad.
  • 0 Hide
    Lans , June 25, 2009 1:53 AM
    Quote:
    60-percent of netbook owners admitted to have never taken their computers out of their homes


    Totally not surprised by that. I still think that 60% should just have bought a $400~$500 that is well within the range of most netbooks in term of price, hands down beat a netbook in performance, and oh... it got a blue-ray drive (or at least a DVD writer). It is lot heavier but why do you care when it just stays home all the time? Actually even a used ~$250 notebook probably still faster than a netbook.

    As for the 40%, a netbook is probably fine or better for them depending on what they need.

  • 0 Hide
    thejerk , June 25, 2009 1:59 AM
    chaohsiangchenApparently you are not old enough to not feel like to carry a 8lb laptop for job-related travels.


    Exactly: 2.5lbs is key... along with the ability to fit entirely within the glovebox of a VW ;-)
  • 6 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 25, 2009 2:01 AM
    IronRyan21Of Course! Netbook Buyers dont know anything. 6 months ago I bought a notebook from a now deceased electronics store for $499 after rebate, with specs: 17 inch Toshiba, Pentium D 2.0 Ghz 160 GB HDD.... way better than a netbook and almost the same cost. F**K NETBOOKS.


    LOL a Pentium D in a laptop, that will fry your balls instantly.
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