Monday, September 3, 2012

Which Portable Computer Suits Your Needs - Notebook, Netbook, Ultrabook, & Tablet

With back to school going on some schools require that students have a laptop. What does this mean for parents? This means you are about to invest in some sort of portable computer and should know the difference among classes of laptops. Some laptops are geared for just web surfing, fine tuned for hard core gaming, or touch screen capable and no thicker than a pad of paper. Among them all is the perfect one to fit your budget and your family's needs.

The term laptop has become some what of a generic term for simply meaning a "portable computer".  The word does not specifically mean a computer to set on your lap, as there have been cases that doing so has caused second degree burns to legs and laps due to the heat thrown from the bottom of one of these portable computers. There are many different classes of laptops and I'm going to break down each type for you to allow you to better understand what exactly each type was made to do. From there you'll be able to make a  more informed educated decision on which device is best suited for your family's needs and also which device fits into your family's budget.

Notebook - aka the full-sized laptop have a full size keyboard and are at least 11 inches across. They are built with the ability of doing everything a desktop computer can do. Run on battery or AC power, and can be a little bulky and heavy at times depending on what features and drives they come with. 

Netbook - This class of portable computers is smaller and lighter than it's predecessor. Its main function is simple computing task such as email, web surfing, word processing, and light photo editing. Netbooks do not have half the features of other classes of laptops. Netbook's processing power is much slower, size is no larger than 12" across, and there is no CD or DVD drive installed. Eliminating this drive makes the netbook extremely light. If you are looking to do more high end computing and do not wish to sacrifice features over price then a netbook might not be for you. Netbooks are the lowest priced portable computer on the market. 

Ultrabook - Ultrabook is a trademarked word by Intel to represent a set of features for these ultra thin and powerful laptops. Some of the main features that represent an Ultrabook are Rapid Start, Intel Smart Response, and Intel Smart Connect. Rapid Start allows these less than 1" thick high power laptops to initialize the OS to a full state from either power up or a sleep state within five seconds. Ultrabooks can also be kept in a hibernate/sleep state for up to 30 days before having to be charged. This attribute is thanks to a low power aspect, which is also why most ultrabooks have a battery use life of up to 7 hours.  Ultrabooks are all the rage today! Even though a laptop may look ultra thin it sometimes will not bear the term Ultrabook in the name. This is because these light weight power house computers must fit certain specifications before being allowed to be called an Ultrabook. Ultrabook technology has also allowed for them to be hard core gamer computers, something past "books" have not had the capacity to do. The latest trend with ultrabooks is not coming with a pre-installed ethernet port, Internet connections on these machines runs wirelessly. There are expansion slots if you wish to install an ethernet wired card you have the ability to do, but these cards are not standard and must be purchsed seperately. If you are looking for thin, light, powerful then the Ultrabook is for you! Ultrabooks are in the high-end price range for portable computers

Tablet - A tablet is a very thin, portable, light weight device that has a touch screen. Tablets can be rotated in any direction allowing the screen to rotate with it. Screens range in size from 7" - 10". These tiny little machines run off of different operating system as those mentioned above. OS can be Apple iOS or Android. Windows has recently launched their own tablet OS and I look forward to the day I can play around with it! Tablets run apps or applications. There is an app out there for every thing you can think of from alarm clocks, games, educational games, to even a virtual instrument you can play. Tablets are very popular right now. They do not have the ability to be expanded, have any type of CD or DVD drive, or any type of external expansion slots or ports. You need to charge them and their internal batteries are not removable. Most tablets now feature and front a rear camera. Pictures can be quickly edited and shared on social media sites with just a few taps of the screen. Tablets have become amazing tools to use for special needs children with the vast amount of apps out. Tablets  have also become common place in doctor's offices and hospitals. These little gadgets are starting to show up in police cars, rather than having the larger laptops installed within the cruisers. Tablets are the future of everything, portable, light, and can be powerful. Apple and Android have different OS features, so make sure you research which system is best suited for you. Both OS' operate in totally different ways as well. Tablets have a price range from $200 on up depending on the manufacturer and model of the tablet. 

So there you have it! The difference between all the portable computer devices that are on the market right about now. Perhaps this information will allow you to make a more educated decision on what to buy, both for yourself or your children's use!

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