A laptop is a computer which is used for mobile computing i.e. we can use it while changing locations. Portability is one of the aspects of mobile computing. Laptop, like a computer is an integration of a display, a keyboard, a pointing device (usually a touchpad) and speakers in a single unit. A laptop works by using a rechargeable battery, charged using an AC Adapter.
New and improved technologies implemented in laptops, have made it, a necessity of every technologist, student, businessman, etc., as it's compact size, light weight and long battery back-up helps them to work while being off their field.
Points to be considered before and while buying a laptop:
Selection of a laptop:
The selection of the type of a laptop that meets your requirements, is the most important thing. The following are the details about different types of laptops which will help you to opt out accordingly.
Above stated laptops facilitate individual uses only. There is also an another type of laptops known as Rugged laptops which are designed to reliably operate in tough conditions such as strong vibrations, extremely high or low temperatures, and humid or dusty environments. These are commonly used by public safety services (police, fire and medical), military, field service technicians, construction, mining and oil drilling personnel.
Features:As the name suggests, it provides all the capabilities of a desktop and is very similar to a desktop in performance level. Their screen size ranges from 15-17 inches.
Drawbacks:It is heavier as compared to other laptops and hence, less portable. It is only a substitute to desktop, which is transportable due to its compact size. It has a very small battery backup compared to others.
Suitable for:These are known as 'Gaming Laptops' which require high quality pictures and graphics. Hence, it is suitable for game lovers, graphic designers, etc.
Features:A subnotebook or ultraportable is a laptop designed for enhancing its portability. It is small in size, low weight and offers a longer battery life around 7-9 hours. Its performance is very much close to that of a standard notebook. Subnotebooks are usually smaller and lighter than standard laptops, weighing between 0.8 and 2 kg . Screen size is below 13 inches.
Drawbacks:Features such as large and fast hard drives, internal optical drives and extra ports are usually absent. The laptops are confined to general-purpose desktop operating systems such as Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. The specialized softwares such as Windows CE, Palm OS or Internet Tablets OS are not supported.
Suitable for:For students, technologists, businessmen etc., it will be the best buy.
Features:Light-weight, economical, energy-efficient and especially suited for wireless communication and Internet access. Their size lie between 9 and 11 inches and weight between 0.9-1.4 kg . It mainly focuses on web browsing and e-mailing.
Drawbacks:It lacks optical disk (i.e. CD, DVD or Blu-ray) drives. They also generally have a smaller-capacity hard drive, slower CPU, and a lower RAM capacity than notebooks and subnotebooks.
Suitable for:Suitable for students, the ones who want laptop for general purposes like surfing, working on the MS Office, watching videos, etc.
The specifications tell about the various hardware components installed in the laptop.
When it comes to processors, you should go with the latest and fastest available, which you can afford. Intel Pentium processors offers faster processing rates along with a great battery life. AMD processors are more affordable than Intel, but they generally lag behind Intel if processing speed is considered.
Wide-screen notebooks, which have an aspect ratio of 16:9, offer larger and sharper images with better quality than the 4:3 standard-screen ones. Two documents or web pages can be opened side-by-side on the 16:9 screens.
RAM or Random Access Memory is vital to system performance, it let us run more applications simultaneously. The notebook graphics processors have little or no memory of their own and share the main system RAM, hence sufficient RAM is necessary. Graphics work, image editing, and video editing, and 3D gaming require high levels of RAM in the notebook or computer.
Ports and Slots:
DisplayPort:Replacing DVI, DisplayPort is being employed by Apple and Dell, among other laptop manufacturers. Similar to HDMI, DisplayPort allows the user to send high-resolution videos and audios to a high-definition display. LCDs with DisplayPort technology are much expensive than others.
eSATA:It is used for connecting an external hard drive. eSATA (external serial ATA) ports are present in various business and multimedia notebooks. Its 3-Gbps bandwidth allows transfer speeds, far more than that of USB (max 480 Mbps). These ports can also accommodate USB devices.
Ethernet (RJ-45):This 8-wire connector port supports standard Ethernet network cables, including 10 Megabits, 100 Megabits and Gigabits.
ExpressCard:Like a PCI slot in a desktop, a PC Card (or PCMCIA) slot in a notebook provides expansion opportunities. Replacing the older PC Card (or PCMCIA) format, ExpressCard slot is helpful for connecting mobile broadband cards, TV tuners and memory card readers. Its modules come in two standard types: the ExpressCard-34 (34mm x 75mm), present in smaller notebooks, and the standard ExpressCard-54 (54mm x 75mm).
FireWire (IEEE 1394):FireWire 400 ports are found on multimedia laptops since it is mostly used to connect a digital camcorder or iPod with them. FireWire 800 ports provide double the speed as compared to FireWire 400 ports i.e. 800Mbps w.r.t. to 400 Mbps, but they are very less common.
Wi-Fi is also known as wireless local area network. Integrated wireless networking (Wi-Fi) has become an indispensable feature in the laptops. It enables the user to connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point.
Lithium-ion batteries have now replaced the nickel-cadmium ones because they are lighter, have a higher energy storing capacity, and do not suffer from recharge-inhibiting memory effects (The memory effect happens when one does not use a battery to its fullest extent, then recharges the battery. The batteries lose their maximum energy capacity if they are repeatedly recharged after being only partially discharged.)
You should check out for the battery capacity (measured in milliAmpere hours, or mAh) and also the number of cells. Typical batteries have a capacity between 2000 mAh and 6000 mAh; we should go for the higher ones. Cells can range from four to 12; we should look for the higher numbers.
Apart from the specifications other things to be kept in mind are:
- The brand which is most reliable in the market should be opted.
- Its service center should be present in the area of your reach.
- Prefer more to the specifications than to the brand, if the two brands are nearly compatible.
You should read the reviews of the laptop, you are going to buy, at various review sites. There, you will get to know about the pros and cons of that product. It will help you to judge the product accordingly.
Laptops have become very crucial in this era of technology and development. So, you should be well aware of the new technologies and should have a basic knowledge regarding the favorable specifications, while opting the correct one that fulfills all your requirements. Do not be carried away by the name of a brand or the type of laptop in trend, just opt according to your needs and focus mainly on the specifications. This will really help you to take out the best one out of the mist.
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