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Off topic: Quick question: Notebook or Laptop?
Autor de la hebra: Claudia Alvis

Jim Tucker (X)  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
húngaro a inglés
+ ...
"notebook" originally had a specific meaning Feb 16, 2008

Jack Doughty wrote:

why did anyone ever invent a second term for the same thing?


Someone in the industry invented the term "notebook" to denote a smaller kind of laptop - under 2 kg/5 pounds (more or less). Today there is a third term in use, "ultraportable," for even smaller machines.

But "laptop" is still a generic term that covers all of these.


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 21:25
Miembro 2004
español a inglés
+ ...
Laptop Feb 16, 2008

Native speaker of English, lived in the U.S. almost my entire life.

I've always said "laptop."

I remember hearing some people say "notebook computer" for awhile (late 1980s-mid 1990s?) when some of the computer companies were using the term, but "laptop" has always been the preferred term, I think.

For a time, I even remember some people making a distinction between "laptops" (in reference to the clunky, bulky portables of that era) and "notebook computers
... See more
Native speaker of English, lived in the U.S. almost my entire life.

I've always said "laptop."

I remember hearing some people say "notebook computer" for awhile (late 1980s-mid 1990s?) when some of the computer companies were using the term, but "laptop" has always been the preferred term, I think.

For a time, I even remember some people making a distinction between "laptops" (in reference to the clunky, bulky portables of that era) and "notebook computers" which were smaller (but still bulky by today's standards).

I think "laptop" won out because it was clearer and had a more consistent meaning.
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James McVay  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 21:25
ruso a inglés
+ ...
How IT people answer this question Feb 17, 2008

Here's a quote from an IT site that may shed some light on the subject:

"What's different about notebook computers? The term laptop computer and notebook computer are used interchangeably today. During earlier evolutionary years of the technology's development, the term 'notebook' was often applied to the lightest weight and smallest units being created, but the units and terminology are now virtually the same. However, a new category has developed of "ultra-light laptops" that p
... See more
Here's a quote from an IT site that may shed some light on the subject:

"What's different about notebook computers? The term laptop computer and notebook computer are used interchangeably today. During earlier evolutionary years of the technology's development, the term 'notebook' was often applied to the lightest weight and smallest units being created, but the units and terminology are now virtually the same. However, a new category has developed of "ultra-light laptops" that pack as much performance as possible into a small package, providing users with a screen size of 12" diagonal or less." (http://www.ergoindemand.com/about-laptop-notebook-computers.htm)

And then there's this professional opinion on an Australian site:

"What's the difference between a laptop and a notebook?' is a question that's been posed by many and as far as we can see it has never been properly answered so once you’ve read this short article you may be still be confused but hopefully with a little better understanding why.

"Well, it's our opinion that the difference between the two varies according to the region or country you're in, nothing much else."
(http://www.laptop-repair.info/difference_between_laptop_and_notebook.html)

I'm old enough to remember when the term "notebook" was first introduced. My impression at the time was that a "notebook" was a smaller version of a laptop, but when I actually looked at a few, I found that I couldn't discern a significant difference. Judging by this informal poll and by what I see on the Internet after googling "laptop notebook difference," I have to conclude that the term "notebook" was in vogue among advertisers for a few years but never really caught on with the English-speaking user community. I imagine the term "ultra-light laptop" will suffer the same fate.

[Edited at 2008-02-17 00:53]
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Anne Bohy  Identity Verified
Francia
Local time: 03:25
inglés a francés
laptop Feb 17, 2008

At IBM, employees have Lenovo NoteBooks. However, in the U.S. at least, everyone refers to his as his "laptop".

 

Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
México
Miembro 2002
inglés a alemán
+ ...
It depends Feb 17, 2008

Some years ago they were called Laptop in Germany, today they are called Notebook in the shops. So I use Laptop for the old machines and Notebook for the new ones.

 

Ma. Unica Real Encinares
Filipinas
Local time: 10:25
italiano a tagalo
+ ...
Laptop Feb 19, 2008

Generally, we call it laptop in the Philippines. Notebook for us is the one used for writing, made up of paper.

However, when I was living in (Tuscany) Italy, It took time before I got used to them using "notebook" or "portatile" referring to laptop.


 

Chiara Righele  Identity Verified
Italia
Local time: 03:25
inglés a italiano
+ ...
Laptop Feb 19, 2008

Italian native speaker living in Italy.

I obviously use the Italian word portatile when speaking Italian, butI use laptop when speaking English.

I do have a laptop. ;-p

Chiara


 

Tsogt Gombosuren  Identity Verified
Canadá
Local time: 19:25
Miembro 2004
inglés a mongol
+ ...
Notebook Feb 22, 2008

It is more difficult to pronunciate "laptop" than "notebook" in Mongolian, so most Mongolians call it "notebook". But I use "laptop" when I communicate with native English speakers.

 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 10:25
Miembro
chino a inglés
+ ...
Both Feb 23

While I was in the US it was mostly laptop. In Hong Kong I've heard both, though I feel like I've heard notebook more than laptop.

The translation for laptop/notebook in Japanese and Chinese for Mainland China and Taiwan is derived from "notebook". In Chinese for Hong Kong, however, it's either derived from "laptop", or simply "portable/handheld computer".


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Países Bajos
Local time: 03:25
Miembro 2006
inglés a afrikaans
+ ...
@Lincoln Feb 23

Two years after this thread we finally got a tool in our toolkit for this type of query: Google Ngrams. To prevent non-computer related meanings from popping up, one can use actual ngrams (i.e. multiple word phrases). A search for e.g. laptop computer x notebook computer shows how "laptop" has always been in the lead. Other searches indicate that "notebook" may have had a bit of a heyday at around 2007 but sharply declined after that.

 
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