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What is a 3G Netbook?

By S. Gonzales
Updated May 17, 2024
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A 3G netbook is a small laptop computer that can function using a third-generation (3g) broadband network. Netbooks built to work with 3G networks can access the same systems that cell phones do, thus providing much greater Internet access than typical wired connections. Netbooks with built-in 3G connection capabilities are fewer in number than their traditional counterparts, but the adoption of built-in 3G connections into netbooks has increased.

Netbooks are a specific class of computer; they can be best described as a lower-end, more portable version of laptops. Smaller, lighter and cheaper than laptops, they also are less powerful. They usually don't have optical drives, their keyboards and screens are of modestly size, and their specifications don't compare to their standard laptop counterparts. For this reason, netbooks often are marketed — and consequently viewed — as companion devices to a desktop computer or laptop computer. Computer users rarely purchase a netbook to serve as their primary computing device.

However, owners of a 3G netbook can easily perform general computing. Netbooks are particularly suited to working with web-based applications and other programs that don't require much processing or battery usage. Checking email, visiting websites, instant messaging and creating and viewing documents are typical activities that a netbook owner can partake in while on the go.

International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) or 3G can offer a way for netbook users to always be online. These 3G systems can allow a 3G netbook to tap into a cell phone network that also supports wireless data. Hypothetically speaking, a 3G netbook can work anywhere a 3G cell phone can work. In addition, a 3G network can provide the ability to perform multiple tasks at once. For example, if a cell phone user owned a device that was capable of placing voice calls and browsing the Internet, a user could talk on the phone and browse the Internet simultaneously without having either connection dropped or lost.

Netbooks are designed to be extremely portable, so using them in places other than the home has become commonplace. Netbook owners can enjoy working on 3G netbooks in airports, coffee shops, schools, libraries, public transportation systems or any other place where a 3G network is supported. The high data rates of 3G mean that users can work just as fast as they would while at home on a wired connection. Some 3G netbooks come Wi-Fi ready and can be used at designated "hot spots" where wireless Internet services are available. Specific models also can boast Bluetooth® connectivity so that devices can be connected to the 3G netbook.

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Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Jul 30, 2012

I am in the market for a netbook and wanted to know how to choose the best one? Sometimes it is overwhelming with all the choices there are. I don't need the most expensive one, but also don't want one that is not very good quality.

I have read some reviews and that can make me even more confused. Depending on whose review you read, you might get an entirely different opinion.

The netbooks I have looked at are the perfect size and seem much more portable than carrying around a laptop. Are these also good for downloading and watching movies?

By myharley — On Jul 30, 2012

I am the type of person who loves to buy new technology, but because I have a smartphone and a laptop, never thought I would spend the money for a netbook too.

I couldn't pass up a great deal one year the day after Thanksgiving, and ended up buying a netbook. What I like about it is that I find it easier to navigate than my cell phone because the screen is bigger.

I have big hands and fingers, and many times I get frustrated trying to do things online with my phone. This is when the netbook really comes in handy. My netbook is Wi-Fi ready, so this really makes it nice knowing I can get online in so many different places.

It isn't hard to find 3G coverage just about anywhere you go. I know that some of them are now using 4G, but I have been happy with the 3G speed.

By bagley79 — On Jul 29, 2012

I have a netbook with 3G coverage and I have been very pleased with it. This isn't my main source for a computer, as I have a desktop that I use at home most of the time.

What I like about the netbook is how light and portable it is. If I want to use a computer anywhere outside my house, this is what I always take with me.

It is amazing to me how fast the technology is changing and what they can fit inside something as small as this. I don't have a smart phone, so my netbook is what I take with me if I go to a coffee shop or take a trip and know I will want internet access.

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