Most of us tend to think of laptops in the same way: a fairly small portable computer that can open and close like a suitcase, with all of the capabilities of a desktop. In fact, the term “laptop” is really very generic. There are currently four main styles of these portable PCs, each offering something a bit different, depending upon your specific needs.
Ultralights – Also known as sub-notebooks or ultraportable, this style of laptop weighs up to – but no more than – four pounds, making them ideal for travelers. The upside of an ultralight is that it doesn’t burden those who have to spend a lot of time carrying them with aching muscles, as its larger cousins often do.
The downside, however, is that – in order to cut down on the size and weight – this type of laptop is so small that there’s no room for a network card or internal CD drive. In order to reap the benefits of these types of “attachments,” you’d have to bring an external CD drive and port replicator. Another negative in the scenario is that ultralights tend to be on the expensive end of the laptop spectrum.
Notebooks – This is basically just a regular laptop, but is slightly less heavy, weighing in at four to six pounds. While it’s heavier than the smaller ultralight, it also offers more options with less fuss. Offering the flexibility of a combo bay, notebooks are designed with a large opening on the side which allows the user to plug a CD drive, floppy disk or extra battery – allowing you to access the features that you need without the burden of making room for those that aren’t needed.
Standards – Commonly referred to as “regular laptops,” these weigh between six and eight pounds and offer a full range of benefits. This technological pack-mule is the best buy – dollar for dollar – when you consider the cost/performance ratio. Due to their popularity, combined with their design and usability, it’s not uncommon to find discounts on these from major manufacturers.
Other types of laptops, which fall into more specialized categories, tend to be in the higher price ranges. The bottom line is, of the four main types of laptops, the standard is the most economical for the most reasonable amount of money.
Extra Large – Although this type of laptop doesn’t yet have a technical name, it’s best to simply refer to it as “extra-large,” since they weigh between eight and ten pounds and have a screen that measures at least 17 inches. In addition, the keyboard is much larger than a standard laptop, making it a more comfortable fit for those who find the keyboard of the standard laptop rather inhibitive.
There are a couple of downfalls to owning this type of unit, not the least of which includes its weight. There can be a four pound difference between the weight of a standard and an extra-large laptop – and that’s quite a bit, when you think about lugging it around all day. The other negative factor is the cost of this type of laptop. It offers a price tag that’s every bit as hefty as its weight and size.
The purchase of a laptop comes down to personal preference, and there are enough styles in the laptop community to please just about everyone. For those who can’t decide and just want “a laptop,” then it’s probably better to stick to the standard model.