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Laptop buying guide – What kind of laptop is right for You?

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While a laptop has become a ubiquitous accessory for modern life, the actual process of choosing the right model can take some serious time and research.

In this guide, we’ll outline the different categories of laptops and which types are best for different users. We’ll also take a look at CPU, hard-drive, and networking options.

Below are a handful of typical user experiences that should help outline what type of laptop Acer aspire 5920 battery is right for you. Chances are, you’ll fall somewhere in between two or more of these archetypes, so carefully consider what you’ll be using your new laptop for.
What are the different categories of laptops?

The different product categories that laptops Acer aspire one zg5 battery sony vgp-bps8a battery fall into is constantly evolving and changing. The introduction of Netbooks in particular has created a relatively new category that has quickly become the fastest-growing segment of the PC market.

While there are many ways to divide the categories–based on weight, price, and components–we use screen size as our primary deciding factor, as it’s the clearest physical difference between types of laptops.

UMPCs (or ultramobile PCs) are small handheld devices with screens that are between 5 and 7 inches, but they never really caught on. While the idea of a palm-size computer Dell d620 battery running Microsoft Windows and including most of the features you’d find on a full-size desktop or laptop was an engaging one, most of these devices were not exactly practical outside of a handful of specialized users.

Many lacked physical keyboards and relied on slow, expensive low-voltage processors and wonky touch interfaces. A typical UMPC, such as the Sony Vaio UX390, could cost $2,000 or more.

In the past two years, the iPhone, iPod Touch, and inexpensive Netbooks have largely Dell inspiron 1520 battery dell vostro 1500 battery made this an unnecessary category. The few UMPCs that remain are less expensive, using Netbook components, but are still not terribly useful.

Depending on who you ask, Netbooks are either the most exciting thing to happen to mobile computing in years, Acer aspire 4520 battery or they are the downfall of an industry engaged in a painful price war race to the bottom. We generally define Netbooks as having 7- to 12-inch screens, a full keyboard, and an inexpensive, single-core low-voltage CPU.

While the earliest Netbooks had 7-inch screens and Intel Celeron processors, the typical Netbook today has a single-core Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and runs either Windows XP or Windows 7.

Small and lightweight, they lack optical drives, have tiny keyboards and touch pads, and are generally underpowered for anything other than Web surfing, e-mailing, and basic office productivity. The payoff is that a typical Netbook can be had for less than $300, an unheard-of sum just a few years ago.

PC makers are currently trying to upgrade Netbooks with faster CPUs and bigger screens, Dell latitude e6400 battery Hp elitebook 8530w Battery Acer aspire 6935g battery hp 510 Battery and these new models blur the line with the ultraportable category.

Key features:

Before the rise of Netbooks, ultraportable systems were 11- and 12-inch laptops with then-expensive low-voltage CPUs, allowing them to be small and power efficient, but still relatively underpowered.

The popularity of Netbooks had threatened to make this category irrelevant–after all, who would pay $1,500 or more for an 11-inch laptop, when a $300 10-inch Netbook hp nx6100 battery Hp dv9000 adapter was a reasonable substitute for basic Web and office tasks?

The ultraportable has been revived of late with the introduction of Intel’s new low-cost consumer ultralow-voltage CPUs. These chips are slightly more expensive and somewhat more powerful than the Netbook Intel Atom CPU, and are available in both single-core and dual-core versions.

Some PC makers are calling the thin, upscale laptops that include these new processors “ultrathin,” rather than ultraportable, now. Many of these new versions lack an internal optical drive.

This somewhat unimaginative descriptor is intended for 13-inch laptops. Why do laptops with 13-inch displays deserve their own distinct category? It’s because they occupy a unique space in the industry. We define this by pointing out that a 13-inch laptop is the smallest size we’d be able to work on comfortably all day, and at the same time, the largest size we’d consider carrying around more than once or twice a week.

While it’s not the
dell inspiron 1720 battery dell d630 battery hp nc8430 battery perfect size for either task, it walks the line reasonably well between both. A prime example is the extremely popular 13-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro–perhaps the most imitated laptops of all time.

The traditional 15-inch laptop, along with its newer 14- and 16-inch offshoots, make up this category. Although technically mobile products, most mainstream or midsize laptops tend to stay anchored to one location, or only move around a single home or office.

Less expensive mainstream laptops will have resolutions of 1,280×800 pixels , wide-screen 16:9 models will have resolutions of 1,366×768 pixels, and more-expensive versions can get resolutions all the way up to 1,600×900.

Mainstream laptops Hp dv2000 battery Dell studio 1555 battery have dual-core CPUs, most commonly from Intel’s Core 2 Duo line, along with between 2GB and 4GB of RAM, 250GB or larger 5,400rpm hard drives, and internal DVD-burning optical drives.

This category covers the widest ground in terms of price and features, starting at around $500 and going well past $1,000. Most typical are $700 to $900 configurations.

These massive 17-inch and larger laptops Hp pavilion dv9700 battery dell xps m1330 battery are meant to literally replace your old desktop, monitor, and keyboard combination with a single device that can also be easily transported in a pinch.

At a minimum, you’ll find an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, with more-expensive models trading up to a quad-core Core 2 Quad or the new, more powerful Intel Core i7 processor. The majority of desktop replacement laptops have discrete graphics cards, either for help in playing HD video or for running 3D games.

While Blu-ray drives are available in some mainstream systems, they make the most Acer aspire 5520 battery sense in desktop replacements, which often (but not always) have native screen resolutions that can handle hi-def 1080p content.

The tradeoff is that these laptops tend to have very short battery life. Being big and heavy by definition, they’re unlikely to spend much time away from a wall socket, so PC makers opt for more powerful hardware rather than energy-saving designs.

While 17 inches is the most popular size, there are a handful of 18-inch models, and even a couple that top 20 inches. With sizes nearing those of personal TV monitors, desktop replacement laptops make good hybrid entertainment centers for the den or dorm room, putting your computing, video, and music devices in a single box.

If you haven’t accessorized your notebook, you haven’t lived. Here are some of the best ways to do it.
Docking station or port replicator

A docking station contains a mixture of ports, slots, drive bays, and security features, and it usually attaches to the notebook Acer aspire 5520 battery Acer as07b51 battery Hp pavilion dv6 battery from underneath. Docking stations come in a variety of shapes, ranging from the same size as your notebook, which is often referred to as a media slice, to much bigger–some stick out five inches past the back of your notebook. As the name implies, a docking station is where you park your notebook when you get back to the office, giving you easy access to your network, along with a bigger monitor, a regular keyboard, additional storage devices, and the convenience of leaving cables plugged in when you walk away from your desk.A port replicator, on the other hand, is a smaller, stripped-down version of a docking station that mainly features–as you might guess–ports, such as USB or S-Video. A port replicator can range from the size of a box of toothpaste to just shy of docking-station stature. When you’re on the road, a port replicator is a convenient way to increase your connectivity.
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