If you’re looking for something portable, versatile, and affordable, then you’re at the right place!
To help choose the best netbook, we researched dozens of products, read customer and professional reviews, and handpicked the six best netbooks for the summer of 2021.
Note: Netbooks are the most affordable option and are excellent as backup laptops or if you want something portable for writing, watching movies, or surfing the web. If you want to run anything demanding, you need at least a laptop under $400, and if you are a gamer, look for the best gaming laptop under $500.
No matter if you’re looking for something super-light, budget-friendly, or versatile, we got something for you on this list.
Let’s have a look at the best netbooks 2021:
Best Netbooks Reviewed
#1 Best Netbook 2021: Acer Chromebook Spin 11
If you’re looking for a convertible netbook, few netbooks can beat the Acer Spin 11.
One of the things that makes the Acer Spin 11 stand out is how versatile it is. With a dual-Torque hinge, you can rotate it 360 degrees to use it as a standard netbook, a tent, or as a tablet. It features a Kensington lock for better security. It also comes with two USB C ports and two USB 3.0 ports.
With the ChromeOS operating system inside, you can run most Android apps directly on the netbook. There are usually good ChromeOS-based alternatives for most Windows applications. For example, you can use Power Director for video editing, use Google Docs for writing, and Polarr Photo Editor for image editing.
The 11.6″ HD touch screen display is very responsive to swipes and gestures and has vivid and fairly accurate colors. If you use it in sunlight, you’ll notice it’s quite dim with a max brightness of 213 nits.
The hardware is what you should expect in one of the best netbooks of 2021. It has an Intel Celeron N3350 CPU, 4GB RAM, and a 32 GB eMMC hard drive, perfect for surfing the web, working, writing or watching youtube or tv series.
Another thing that make this one of the best netbooks of 2021 is the impressive battery life. This netbook can handle almost 8 hours of web surfing on a full charge.
Summary: The Acer Chromebook Spin is a versatile netbook that can be used both as a tablet and a standard laptop. It’s well-designed, has long battery life, and can handle everyday tasks with ease.
|Versatile||Bit dim display|
|Long battery life||Some customers had issues using it with a stylus pen|
#2 Best Performance: Microsoft Surface Go 2
With a 128GB SSD and 8GB of RAM, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is one step above the rest of the best netbooks when it comes to memory, but is the higher price worth it?
It’s a nice feeling to use this netbook, no matter if you hold it, have it on a table, or in the lap. It’s a sturdy laptop, and with a weight of just 1.2 pounds, it’s one of the lightest netbooks on the list.
There are two non-included accessories that you might want to get. The Surface pen is fun and great for taking notes, but it’s not essential. The Microsoft Go type cover is almost a must-have. Sure, you can use the touchscreen to type but having a detachable keyboard makes the typing experience far better. The keys are on the smaller side, and it can take some time to get used to them. Once you have gotten used to the keyboard, it’s probably the best typing experience you can get on any netbook.
This netbook comes with Windows 10 in S mode. S mode will provide a bit better performance, but if you want to use non-windows apps, it’s quite easy to get out of it.
Even if the Microsoft Surface Go 2 netbook has far longer battery life than the original Surface Go, it’s still a bit behind most ultraportable laptops.
The performance of the Microsoft Surface Go will depend on what you compare it against. If you compare it to a mid-range laptop with an intel core i5 processor, it’s really slow. It works, however, well for working, browsing the web, or watching tv series but don’t expect it to run any demanding applications.
Summary: The Microsoft Surface Go is an excellent laptop replacement if you come in with the right expectations. It not as fast as a slightly more expensive laptop, and it can’t handle anything too demanding, but if you mostly use it for casual use, it’s an excellent product.
|High-quality design||Need to buy the keyboard separately|
|8GB RAM||Poor screen brightness|
|Fast 128GB SSD||Short battery life|
#3 Best Budget Netbook: ASUS VivoBook L203MA
If you’re looking for the best netbooks and are on a tight budget, the Asus L203MA might be the perfect netbook for you! It’s not the fastest netbook, but if you’re looking for a good deal and don’t mind waiting a few moments longer for everything load, it’s without a doubt a good choice.
With a weight of just 2.2 pounds and a thickness of 0.7 inches, it’s extremely portable, and it’s smaller than an A4 paper. It comes with an included webcam and a good battery that can handle 6 hours of use. The biggest flaw in the design of the Asus L203MA is the touchpad that can be a bit inconsistent and has some quirks.
The Asus Vivobook L203MA has an Intel Celeron N4000 Quad-Core Processor that’s good enough for most casual users. It’s too weak for anything demanding, such as video editing or gaming. You’ll also get 4GB RAM and 64GB flash storage. You can upgrade the storage to a 128GB SD card, but the RAM is not upgradeable.
The screen has a resolution of 1336 x 768, and it’s a decent display, but as always with netbooks, it might take some time to get used to the relatively small 11.6-inch screen if you come from a laptop with a standard 15.6-inch screen.
Another advantage of this netbook is the included one year of Microsoft 365. With Microsoft 365, you get access to the web apps for Microsoft Excel, Word, and Powerpoint for handling documents and presentations.
Summary: The Asus VivoBook L203MA is one of the best budget netbooks with a light, portable design, a good screen, and a full year of Microsoft 365. Just be aware it’s not the fastest netbook, and you won’t be able to run anything demanding.
|Cheap||Not suitable for demanding applications|
|Decent HD screen||Inconsistent Touchpad|
|One year of Microsft 365 included||Not possible to upgrade the RAM|
#4 Easiest to Use: Samsung Chromebook 3
The Samsung Chromebook 11, has unlike many of the other laptops on the list, a standard laptop design. It has a sturdy metallic black plastic case and weighs 2.54 pounds (1,15 kg). Even if it’s a bit heavier than the rest of the laptops on the list, it’s still lightweight and easy to bring with you.
The keyboard is great for typing and is water-resistant. You’ll find a USB 2.0 port and an HDMI port on the left side of the netbook. On the right side, there’s a USB 3.0 port and combined audio and microphone jack. Compared to some of the other netbooks on the list, you’ll find that it has no webcam.
The operating system inside is ChromeOS. It’s nice that you can use android apps on your laptop, and there’s usually a good android alternative for most apps. However, it’s not suitable if you require a certain windows-based app not available on android.
When you first start up the Samsung Chromebook 11, you’ll notice it’s very easy to get up and running. If you already have a Google account (for example, a Gmail or Youtube account), it’s even easier. ChromeOS is probably the easiest OS to transition to no matter if you come from a Windows or a Mac.
As with most of the best netbooks, you’ll get good enough performance to surf the web, read, write, and watch movies. It has 4GB LFFR3 memory and an Intel X5 E8000 processor. The Intel X5 has slightly lower performance than the rest of the processors on the list. If you compare the CPU Mark, you’ll see that it has a score of 1074 compared to the 1142 score of the Intel Celeron N3350.
It has only 16GB eMMC memory, so you will have to save anything large online or on an external hard drive. The 4GB RAM is the standard in the best netbooks in 2021.
If you expect a touchscreen, then sorry to disappoint, that’s something the Samsung Chromebook lacks. The screen has good brightness, but the images tend to look washed out if you view it from an off-angle.
Summary: If you’re looking for a small laptop for an affordable price, ideal for casual use, then the Samsung Chromebook is one of the the best ChromeOS netbooks you can get.
|Easy to use||Heavier than competition|
|Can run Android apps on a standard laptop||Tiny memory|
|Bright screen||Poor viewing angles|
#5 The No-nonsense Netbook: HP Stream 11
The HP Stream is a Windows-based netbook released in 2019. With Windows 10 S, it has better performance, and it’s easier to use and setup, but it has some limitations. If you want to use applications not on the Windows Store, for example Google Chrome, you need to get out of it. It’s quite eas to get out of S mode but might be an unnecessary hassle for some.
The HP Stream 11 has a simple, no-nonsense design. With a weight of 2.3 pounds (1,05 kg), it’s light and easy to bring with you.
It comes with a webcam and a media card reader, but there’s no CD/DVD drive and no fingerprint reader.
The touchpad is great and can handle gestures well, but the keyboard has some minor issues. The keyboard has no backlighting, so it can be a bit hard to write in dim light. Sometimes it can also get a bit hot after a long session.
Don’t expect crystal clear images on the included 720p display. With a sub-par color coverage and a brightness of just 188 nits, it’s not suitable for anything that requires accurate colors, but it’s good enough for browsing and everyday usage.
When it comes to performance, it’s fast enough for web browsing, writing documents, or watching movies, but if you want to do anything demanding, it’s too weak. It’s hard to improve the netbook’s performance since you can’t upgrade the RAM, Storage, or CPU.
The memory of the HP stream is 32GB eMMC. This is tiny for being a laptop and will fill up fast after just a few movies. Be prepared to only save what you need and get cloud storage, for example, Google drive to save your large files.
Summary: The HP Stream 11 is a good everyday netbook with stable performance and a good touchpad. The memory is on the lower end, and it can get hot after using it for some time.
|Stable everyday performance||Small memory|
|Light and easy to bring with you||Can't be upgraded|
|Good touchpad||Can get a bit hot|
#6 Light and sleek: Asus C223
The Asus C223 has a nice sleek look and it’s easy to bring with you, but there are some things that makes it weaker than the rest of the laptops on the list…
You probably noticed the red metallic finish. Even if it looks cool, the all-plastic design feels a bit cheap. It’s nevertheless sturdy, but with a weight of 2.2 pounds, it’s the heavies laptop on the list.
This netbook has the Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3350 CPU. If you use it for chrome apps, it powerful enough, but if you use it for desktop apps or for demanding android games, it’s quite slow.
The hard disk has only 32 GB of storage. If you start saving large files like movies or games, it can run out quickly. Fortunately, you get a free year with 100GB Google Cloud storage. The memory is still on the lower side, but you’ll usually have more than enough space if you combine the 32 GB hard drive with the cloud storage.
Some things you might want are missing. There is no CD/DVD drive, no Micro SD slot, the screen is not a touchscreen, and you won’t be able to plug in a screen with an HDMI cable since there’s no HDMI port.
The battery life, however, is quite good and can handle a full day of usage. If you compare it to the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 above, it’s a bit slower and has worse performance, but it’s also 100 bucks cheaper.
Summary: If budget is your top priority, then one of the best netbooks on the market is the Asus C223. It lags behind in performance compared to the rest of the netbooks on the list, but none are as affordable.
|Good looking metallic case||Slower than the competition|
|Comes with 100GB free Google Cloud Storage|
#7 Best Renewed Mini Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e
The Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e was originally released in 2014 and was made primarily for education purposes. Even if this mini laptop is quite old, it’s still an excellent budget laptop capable of running non-demanding programs.
Most of the mini laptops on this list have more storage space and a few even have 8GB RAM instead of the 4GB RAM in the Yoga 11e. Even if the specs are a bit weaker than the competition, few can beat Yoga’s affordable price. Surfing the web and running Chrome-based apps works well but it’s not suitable for anything demanding.
Since it’s made for schools, the case is very sturdy and with a weight of 1.59 pounds (0,72 kg), it’s very easy to bring with you. The case doesn’t stand out and it has a rather dull design but the keyboard is satisfying with good response and each keypress has a clear click. On the sides of the keyboard you’ll find an HDMI port, a headphone jack, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, and an ethernet port. There is no optical drive or USB C port.
This mini laptop has a 2 in 1 touchscreen with wide viewing angles and an 1366 x 768 screen resolution. It has a brightness of 280 nits and a glossy screen coating. This means you will get some sun glare if you’re using it outside.
The battery takes around 3 hours to charge fully and you can expect it to stay powered on for about 7 hours on a full charge.
Summary: The Lenovo Yoga 11e is one of the best mini laptops if you’re on a tight budget. You can find more powerful netbooks but few can beat this cheap price.
|Durable||Might need more storage space|
|Reasonable price||Won't handle anything demanding|
What is the difference between a netbook and a traditional laptop?
Most netbooks have low price and small display size. The best netbooks usally have an 11.6 inch screen compared to a full-size laptop that usually has a 15.6 inch screen size. The advantage of the smaller screen is that mini laptop becomes more compact and easier to carry with you.
Full size laptops usually have higher performance and extra features. While the best laptops are usually best suited for basic tasks, they have the advantage of a much more reasonable price.
If you get the one of the best netbooks you can often find a sweet spot in the laptop market where you get the most portable laptops for the lowest price.
Choosing the right netbook is all about what you prioritize in your netbook. If budget is your main priority, go for either the ASUS VivoBook L203MA or the Asus C223, both solid budget netbooks that can, even if a bit slow, run most everyday application without lag. If you want the best performance possible, check out the Microsoft Surface Go. The Microsoft Surface Go has as fast 128GB SSD, an excellent design, and the keyboard has the best typing experience on any netbook. The best overall choice is probably the Acer Chromebook Spin 11, a versatile netbook that you can use all day.
We have done hours of research on what both customers and professional reviewers say about each of the products on the list. This means you can be sure it suits your needs and know each of the netbook’s pros and cons.
Netbooks are an excellent choice for someone looking for an affordable laptop that is easy to bring with you, but it’s not for everyone. If you are okay with waiting a few moments longer for everything to load and are ready to get used to the small screen, it’s often a perfect budget choice. However, don’t expect to run anything demanding. A netbook might not be for everyone, but if you need something cheap and portable, few laptops can beat one of the best netbooks 2021.