For many users there is a fine line between balancing the portability and power of the notebook computers that they compare when looking for the best laptops under 300 dollars. The smaller notebooks provide a more portable size which can be advantageous in a variety of situations, yet they are more limited in their power to go too far beyond the normal basic computing tasks which we all use them for. There are also limitations such as the lack of space for an optical drive. This is not too big of a concern though since the smaller notebook computers should be used more in a supplemental capacity for people who do actually need both a desktop replacement and a super portable computer. These can work well in conjunction with one another, and since several of the notebooks are under $300 using this approach may only put a minimal strain on a modest budget.
When using a combination of laptops in this manner is not financially feasible however, then choosing between a 10.1 inch netbook model to a 15.6 inch notebook computer will bring focus to the fine line which encompasses the actual needs of the consumer. These are essentially the boundaries of the notebooks (between the 10 to 15 inch screen sizes) before the much more powerful, and expensive, full size laptops category. Obviously these are going to be the closest thing to a full desktop replacement computer and can represent the absolute cutting edge power and technology found within laptops at the moment. Yet if this is out of your budget range then taking a close look at what the smaller notebook computers, or refurbished laptops in the 300 dollar price range can provide as far as portability and power goes.
The cost of these laptops will inevitably be based on the size of the laptop, the features which it offers and the power of the components which actually make up the computer. The more which a laptop has to offer, the further away from the $300 mark it will get though. These days, models which are considered netbooks (the ones which are smaller than the notebooks) provide fairly good power for typical portable computing tasks. You should realize that getting further into resource intensive applications or projects on a netbook will be notably slower than on a more powerful model, like one of the basic notebook computers for instance.
So the terminology (netbook vs. notebook) is an important part of the equation when considering which one the best laptop under 300 dollars happens to be. If you use a combination of a larger more powerful laptop in conjunction with a netbook, then you will have the advantage of ultra portability with lots of power. However if you need to pick just one, the new or refurbished notebook computers will be able to tackle more advanced projects, they will have larger screens and they will indeed have a built-in optical drive. They will often weigh twice as much or more as the netbooks though, so finding the right balance will require taking all of this information into consideration.