What Is the Difference Between a Laptop & Notebook PC?

Updated February 21, 2017

Laptop computers and notebook PCs are portable, digital computing devices. Most modern laptops and notebooks are Internet-ready. In general, laptops are more powerful in terms of processing speed, memory and multimedia support.


Laptops are usually larger and heavier than notebooks. The screen size of a mid-range laptop can be 14 to 16 inches, whereas for a notebook, screen sizes are much smaller at 10 to 12 inches. The keyboard in a laptop may be the same size as a conventional desktop computer, but it is much smaller in a notebook.


Notebooks are more energy-efficient than laptops mainly because of the compromised functionality of its internal components. Compared to laptops, notebooks run on very little power. A single battery charge can last more than four hours--a laptop can run for two hours on average.


Since notebooks are slimmer and smaller, and are optimised for portability, its audio and video capabilities are minimal and basic. Multimedia support is also limited, with the notebook lacking an integrated speaker system.


A notebook does not have optical media, such as CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, because of power management and space constraints.


Internal components in a laptop may be replaced or upgraded with minimal hassle. Parts in a notebook cannot be replaced except by experts.

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About the Author

Shoaib Khan began writing in 2006, while working as an advertising professional. His work has appeared in marketing and business communication materials, including print advertisements, billboards and product brochures. Khan completed his Master of Accounting degree at the University of New Mexico.