Which Notebook Computer Has Your Name On It?

By: Titus Hoskins

Granted, the notebook computer may just be the sexiest accessory this side of a Baywatch Extra! But are they worth the extra money? Should yournext PC be a notebook or laptop computer?

What are the pros and cons of owning a notebook computer? More importantly, can they get the job done?

There's no denying it -- notebook computers are sexy!Slim, svelte and lightweight; they always come across aslooking sexy, the ultimate in high fashion accessories.

Maybe sexy isn't the most appropriate word -- we are talking about chips, hard drives and bits of metal.But you have to admit; they do look good on just aboutanybody!

However; don't let the good looks fool you! And don't get blinded by all that sleek metal and flashy designs.

The notebook is one little workhorse whose timemay just have come. Growing in popularity as pricesdecline, it's definitely worth consideringwhen you make your next PC purchase.

All kidding aside, just what are some of the practicalpros and cons of owning a notebook computer? What pointsshould you consider before buying a notebook computer?

Basically, you have to narrow it down to a few simplesteps. Then consider all your options before you make your decision.

First, ask yourself -- what types of tasks, jobs, doyou want the computer to perform? Do you want it for traveling, business, or for use in the home?

Do you want it for simple tasks like email, webbrowsing or to use as a word processor? Do you want it for gaming, web authoring, heavy graphic work, dvd or MP3 downloading?

Next, consider all these options and find the notebookthat best suits your needs. Remember, it's your needsthat have to be fulfilled. Don't let a pushy salespersontalk you into buying something you will never needor use.

At the same time, make sure you buy a notebook that has all the features that will complete all the tasks you throw at it. In other words, make sure it can do the job!

Keep that question in the back of your head as youread the rest of this article. Especially, keep itin mind, as you browse thru all these sleek models andmakes of notebooks. Don't be dazzled by all thatsexiness!

Keep your eyes on the cursor!

Keep asking yourself -- what does my new notebook computer need in order for it to get the job done?

Lets take a closer look at all the options.

First, like anything sexy; notebooks come in allshapes and sizes.

SMALL - How small can they be?

They can be as tiny as well -- the small traditional paper notebooks -- with 10-inch displays. There is even a sub category known as Tablet PCs; these arevery small tablets where you enter the data usinga stylus. Common in certain fields, like healthcare or real estate.

Up a step from there -- are the 'Ultraportables'. You can easily take these anywhere as they fit nicely in a handbag or carry on bag. These are used by fliers and travelers, they are light and small with 12 inchscreens without internal CD or DVD drives. They don't match the performance of other larger notebooks.

LARGE - How large can they be?

They can be as big as 6 or 7 pounds or more. Over an inch thick and come with 15 or 17-inch displaysthese are often referred to as 'Desktop Replacements'

And just as their name states -- these can replace your old desktop computer. For most purposes, these notebooks can perform all the tasks of a regular pc, have large screens, big keyboards, combo drives and very large hard drives.

But you have the handy option of moving these from room to room for wireless networking, or even for traveling.


In between these two groups; we have the businessclass notebooks. These are often referred to as 'Thin-and-lights' -- they offer the best all around convenience of performance, portability and the different features.

Mostly preferred by the business travelers. They have 14-inch screens, CD-RW/DVD drives, wireless networking, because they are so versatile, these 'do-it-all' notebooks or laptops are becoming really popular.

Basic Rundown

That's a basic overview or rundown on the different types of notebooks. But you have to compare and contrast the different features in a little more detail if you want to figure out the best notebookthat's suited for your needs.

Since there are so many types and varieties of notebooks;not to mention so many technical requirements... buying a notebook can sometimes be confusing. And for some people downright worrisome!

Will the notebook you choose get the job done? Will it be able to do the applications, or tasks you wantit to perform?

Ease your Burden -- Make a Checklist!

If you don't want to be disappointed, here's a quick 'CheckList' of the features you want to check beforeyou buy your notebook computer.

* Processor: The heart of your notebook or computer. It does the processing and applications. Most people prefer Intel Pentium Processors; the higher the number the faster it will process! Go with Pentium 4 if you can. Intel Celeron is another choice.

* Speed: This is how fast your computer can process data and perform your tasks. The faster the better! Latest models get up to a blazing 3.6 GHz.

Tip: You might also want to check the rotational speed of your notebook's hard disk as it can affect performance a 5,400rpm notebook disk is much faster than a 4,200rpm model. How fast the disk spins, will also determine the performance level of your notebook.

* Hard Drive: Check if it has a fixed drive; some unitshave drives you can swap. As for size; around 20GB for mostnotebook drives. You'll need only a 20GB or 30GB for mosttasks on your notebook. If you handle large graphics or large amount of files (dvd, M3Ps,etc.) you need more -- 50 to 60GB or higher.

Also, keep in mind, that you also have the externaldrive(s) option for storing and media-burning.

* Memory: How much do you need?

RAM (random-access memory). This is what the computer uses to run applications and data on your operating system. It's generally agreed that you need at least256MB for Windows XP and Mac OS X. You will only need 128MB for other operating systems in Windows or Mac.

* CD-RW Drive: You will need a CD-ROM for installing. And a CD-RW drive for burning your own CDs if that's one of the tasks you want your notebook to do.

Keep in mind another option -- many notebooks can access or use external drives for data storage, cd burning, etc.

* LCD Displays: Most have LCD screens; this is differentfrom your desktop CRT (cathode-ray tube) monitor but mostpeople are famaliar with this type of displays -- it's commonly found in digital cameras and camcorders.

Screen Size: You have to consider what size LCD displayyou want. If you're going to be viewing a lot of pictures or movies on your notebook -- a large 15 or 17 inch would be better suited for your needs.

Usually, LCD screens range in size from 12 inches to 17 inches (diagonal). Viewing is usually set at 1,024x768 resolution. Quality is almost standard in all these notebooks. But check them out at your dealers if picture quality is your main reason for buying a notebook.

Note-- Fujitsu LifeBook P ultraportable series has the smallest displays 10.6 inches. The Apple PowerBook has one of the largest at 17-inches.

* Modems: Most if not all notebooks have 56Kbps-modems and Ethernet connections. As well as connections (ports)for printers, VGA for external monitor and there shouldbe one or more USB ports for keyboards, drives, MP3's and digital cameras.

* Antennaes: Most notebooks have built-in antennas for wireless networking and portability. But check before you buy!

* Portability: Might sound like a strange question to ask about notebooks. Not really, most notebooks arevery portable, easy to carry -- what they were designed for. However; larger notebooks like the 'desktop replacemets' with 17 inch screens and weighing over 7 pounds might not be the best choice for the heavy traveler. For example the new HP Pavilion zd8000 weights a whopping 12 lbs!

* Accessories: Lastly, you should look at some accessories that you might need with your notebook computer. Many come with a Docking station or port replicator -- somewhere to store and access your computer. Check on the functions of each before you buy.

You might consider buying an extra battery; especially if you're buying your laptop mainly for traveling and in the field work.

Laptop bag is another accessory you should definitely consider buying. Again, notebooks might seem lightweight and small but if you have lug it around all day and you're going to wish you had bought that carrying bag.

Now Assess Your Computer Needs?

Finally, we come to the main question that determines whichnotebook is right for you. (If money is no barrier!)


If you want something small to carry on a plane, or if youtravel a lot, then go with an utralight -- often called ultraportables -- these are the lightest and smallest notebooks, about the size of spiral-bound notebook and weighing less than four pounds.

If you're a student and need something light weight butalso a little sturdy with a large hard drive (hold MP3s) you might want to check out the 'thin and light' notebooks.

If you want to replace your main desktop with somethingmore portable -- go with a 'mainstream' or 'desktop replacements'.

If you want something you can use at home, work and traveling around then you need 'thin and light.' If you want an 'all-around' 'all-in-one' 'do-it-all' notebook ...then buy a notebook of this type.

Because it's so flexible, and covers most of your computing needs; this is the one that's becoming the most popular.

That's it - JUDGMENT TIME!

You have considered most of the facts about buying a notebook computer. Now weight your options. Think about the tasks you will be doing with your notebook. Look at the checklist and check out the specs. Is everything covered. Will the one you choose -- have the features to do the job?

Keep that question in your mind. It's the most important.

If you're considered all these points; buying your notebook should be just a little bit easier.

In no time at all, you may be walking around with one of those sleekFree Articles, svelte - dare we say sexy -accessories tucked under your arm.

Titus Hoskins


» More on Laptops