I count myself among the growing number of people who are dissatisfied with netbooks. Wrist pain, poorly formatted and slowly loading web pages, sound so low that watching films just doesn’t work, lack of a DVD drive, the “Pez-dispenser” keyboard . . . all work to offset the device’s low price and portability. Maybe consumers are starting to see this. Fifty-five percent of consumers don’t view netbooks as viable replacements for a laptop, according to Pricegrabber.com (PDF). The main reason is the cramped computing area: fifty-four percent replied that this is the primary reason they wouldn’t replace their laptop with a netbook. The other major reasons are lack of a CD drive (50 percent) and minimal storage (49 percent).

Only 14 percent of overall consumers and 25 percent of netbook owners would use a netbook to replace an expensive laptop. (Interestingly, 72 percent of consumers see laptops as feasible desktop replacements). Sixty-three percent of both categories would use a netbook primarily as an additional device while on the go.

As documented many times previously, netbooks were the PC industry’s darling during the recession: the percentage of consumers who own a netbook has grown from 10 percent to 15 percent year-over-year, according to Pricegrabber.

The amount consumers paid per laptop dropped 20 percent year-over-year in 2009. In three years, the amount consumers paid was nearly halved: in December 2006 the average price per laptop was $1,231. In December 2009, it was $645.

Sixty-five percent of consumers said that the most they would pay for their next computing device is $750, even though more than half of consumers (52 percent) spent more than that amount on their last device.

So searching in that lower price-range, will consumers continue to opt for netbooks? Eighteen percent of overall consumers don’t even know how to describe one.

By Mark Alvarez