It may just be a size thing.. I used to have laptops when I was travelling and these normally had a 15 - 17 inch screen with a CD drive... a conventional laptop if you will. However I found that after a while these could prove to be rather cumbersome.
So, I now have a Netbook which is the same as a laptop but with a 10 inch screen and no CD drive. Much lighter and easier to transport around. All the software I need is either pre-loaded or downloadable via the 'Net.
Whether this answers your question Im not sure but I rate the small Netbook that I have.