What to Look For in a Laptop


This post was most recently updated on September 8th, 2022

Laptops have a variety of features. They include an alphanumeric keyboard for entering text, data, and commands, as well as a trackpad and a touch screen. Some laptops have separate buttons for mouse and keyboard input, while others have a touch-sensitive screen with buttons on each side. Most laptops have a headphone jack and a USB port. They also often have an integrated microphone and video-conferencing capabilities.

A laptop’s portability is important, and the size and weight should be comfortable for carrying. The hinges and clasps should feel sturdy, and the keyboard and mouse should be easy to operate. Body and lid materials should also feel sturdy. In addition, keyboards should have adequate spacing for comfortable typing, and mouse buttons and trackpads should have solid clicks and scrolling.

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The processor is an important component of a laptop, working with the system memory. It is important because it determines how complex software is, how many programs can be opened at once, and how fast the computer can handle these programs. Most laptops are equipped with an Intel or AMD processor. Some laptops also feature ultra-low-voltage versions of these processors. However, this usually means a decrease in processing speed. Dedicated graphics cards are also available for higher performance.

Many major brands do not actually design laptops, instead choosing to source them from Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs). In 2006, there were seven major ODMs, including Quanta Computer, which held 30% of the world’s market. These ODMs make a wide variety of laptop models. Depending on the brand, a model can be identical between the major brand and the low-profile ODM in-house brand.

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Laptops are often more powerful than desktop PCs, but are also more compact and lightweight. As a result, they are more portable. Laptops can also be stored in a desk drawer when not in use. They are also more energy efficient. They typically use between 20 and 120 W, while desktops can use up to 800 W. This is an important feature for homes and large businesses that run hundreds of computers.

Laptop hard drives are typically 2.5-inch drives. However, some models can accept smaller 1.8-inch HDDs. A few laptops also support Microdrives. SSDs can also be used, but they are not as common as a traditional hard drive. Solid-state drives use no mechanical parts and are faster and more power-efficient. Moreover, SSDs are smaller and more compact than HDDs. Initially, SSDs were more expensive than HDDs, but prices have converged with larger capacity drives.

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Full-size laptops are often equipped with an optical disc drive. These disc drives were first referred to as CD-ROM drives, but later they were replaced with DVD drives, Blu-ray drives, and CD-R drives. However, these drives remain relatively common as external peripherals.

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John Mclane