The world of laptops is a smorgasbord of sizes, styles, feature sets, and options. But the variety divides fairly neatly into a limited number of basic categories. Heres an overview.
Sometimes referred to as ultraportable or ultrathin, the lightweight laptop is twice the size of a netbook, yet it still feels light and easy to carry. This category offers a perfect balance of performance and portability, especially for frequent flyers. These models are plenty fast for most types of work and have a mid-size screen that's comfortable to work on. Most even have built-in DVD burners, which netbooks do not. This category can be expensive if you order the biggest hard drive or fastest processor available.
13.3 to 14-inch diagonal screen
Less than 4lbs (Ours start at 3.2 lbs)*
Processor types: dual to quad-core*
Up to 6GB DDR3 system memory
Shared video memory
Choice of 250GB or bigger hard drive; some even come with a 128GB solid-state drive
Built-in optical drive
Also called a midsize or mainstream notebook, this category falls into the broad middle in terms of weight, screen size, technology, and price. A few models have top-shelf features such as a 17.3-inch diagonal widescreen or powerful processor. The everyday laptop has enough muscle to do almost any task, but its too heavy and too short on battery life to make a great travel laptop.
15.6-inch, all the way to 18.4-inch diagonal screen
Starting at 5 lbs*
Intel® or AMD Dual-Core processors
2GB to 6GB DDR3 system memory*
Shared or dedicated video memory
Up to 1TB hard drive*
Built-in DVD burner
This portable delivers a full PC experience. It offers a comfortable keyboard, large hard drive, a huge screen and great system memory. The stereo speakers are loud and rich, plus youll find exciting emerging mobile technology such as Intel Wireless Display, which lets you play your laptops picture on your big-screen HDTV without wires. With all these features, a desktop replacement is too large for comfortable travel, and battery life is very short.
17.3-inch diagonal screen
Intel® or AMD dual- to quad-core processor
4GB to 8GB DDR3 system memory
7200-rpm and up to 1TB hard drive
Blu-ray disc burner*
Built for Business
Though this category of laptop doesnt need to handle the demands of gaming or HD movies, it does need a processor that can juggle all the apps of an office suite. It also should have long battery life to hold its charge during extended stretches on the road. Wi-Fi (802.11n) is, of course, essential, but you should also consider wireless WAN so you can stay connected away from hot spots. Robust security features to safeguard sensitive data are also must.
13.3 to 17.3-inch diagonal screen
3GB RAM or more
Intel or AMD dual- to quad-core processor
Data security features
Standard limited warranty
Fingerprint or smart card reader
These media-centric laptops can serve as the center of your digital-entertainment world while also helping you power through schoolwork in style. Thanks to their awesome built-in speakers with sound enhancement technologies and Blu-ray player youll be able to enjoy all of your movies on-the-go. They offer beautiful screens and large hard drives so you can easily store your digital entertainment files. Full of features and yet powerful, theyll help you get things done.
15.6-inch diagonal screen or larger
4GB RAM or more
500GB hard drive or larger
3rd Gen Intel® Core i3 or AMD Phenom II
processor or better
Quality stereo speakers
*Depending on selected models
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