Selecting a Laptop

Small Can Be Beautiful

When purchasing a new computer, you may be better served by a laptop than a traditional desktop computer. Recently, laptops with capabilities similar to desktops can be purchased for a comparable price. Laptops are convenient because of their small size and ability to run from a battery. Except for the power cable to recharge it, a laptop doesn’t have any external wires, so it won’t be contributing to a cable mess.

When looking at laptops, consider how often you will travel with it. If you plan to travel only infrequently, get a model with a larger screen and lower price. If you are a digital nomad, you should be concerned mainly with the laptop size, weight, and battery life. For maximum portability, get a laptop that weighs less than 3.5 pounds, has a 12” or smaller display, and a minumum 4-hour battery life.

Unlike desktops, laptop computers can be difficult and expensive to upgrade. When you purchase a laptop, consider that any internal features such as CD-ROM or hard drive may be difficult to replace. Laptops can be upgraded externally with USB, FireWire, and the PC Card slot. Because each of these methods is external, however your laptop will become less portable if you need to carry around the external devices.

Take One Tablet...

A Tablet PC is a custom laptop that allows you to write on the screen to save notes and work with programs. Tablet PCs are typically smaller than laptops and feature a specialized processor that is extremely battery-efficient. Some Tablet PCs do not have a built-in keyboard, but can connect to an external keyboard. These are ideal for people who use the Tablet PC mode most of the time and need to use the keyboard occasionally.

If you have little need for a portable computer, a "desktop replacement" may be for you. A desktop replacement looks like a laptop, but is much larger and priced competitively with desktops. Whatever kind of laptop fits your lifestyle, gone are the days when laptops were expensive and less capable than traditional desktop computers.

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