Choosing between a netbook or laptop will typically involve considering how you want to use the computer. The main benefit of a netbook is size, as they are typically very small and highly portable. Netbooks also tend to be underpowered when compared to laptops. If you need a computer that you can easily carry around for simple Internet use and word processing, a netbook will typically fit your needs. A laptop will be your best choice if you need to do extensive work with graphics, multimedia, or gaming.
There are many tasks that either a netbook or laptop can be well suited to. Most netbooks have full keyboards that are fairly easy to type on, despite being physically smaller than you might be used to. This can make it easier to write long emails or other documents than it would be on a tablet or other device. Laptops can also be good for this type of use, since their keyboards are typically closer in size to what you are familiar with. Big, desktop replacement laptops often have full size keyboards complete with numeric keypads that can make them better suited to data entry.
Netbooks often offer a very long battery life that is sometimes enough to last a full workday. If the choice between a netbook or laptop hinges on battery life, then the netbook may have an edge for you. The actual batteries typically have less capacity, though the netbook itself will usually consume less power. This is due in part to the smaller screen, though a lower powered central processing unit (CPU) or other components, such as solid state drives (SSDs), can also contribute positively to battery life.
A laptop might have an edge when choosing a netbook or laptop if you need to perform CPU-intensive tasks, such as editing graphics. Netbooks are usually suited to light work of this nature, though the CPU speeds and available random access memory (RAM) will often result in tasks taking longer to complete. Laptops typically have options for faster CPUs, more memory, and discrete video cards. Options like these can make a laptop more attractive for gaming or other multimedia operations when choosing between a netbook or laptop.
Large desktop replacement units are usually best suited to multimedia, gaming, and other intense uses. If you need to perform these sorts of tasks, a netbook probably is not the right choice for you. The tough decisions typically come when choosing between the portability of a netbook or the slightly larger screen and higher specifications of a small laptop. In this case, the choice between a netbook or laptop can become more difficult and may ultimately come down to issues such as price.