If you need computing capability when you travel or to use in lectures or meetings, you may find a notebook computer to be an appropriate choice. The guidelines mentioned in previous section also apply to the purchase of a notebook computer. The following are additional considerations unique to notebook computers, including netbooks and Tablet PCs.
1. Determine which computer fits your mobile computing needs-
Before you buy a laptop, you need to determine whether a traditional notebook computer, netbook or tablet PC will meet your needs. If you spend most of your time working on spreadsheets, writing and/or editing documents, e-mail, or using the Internet, then a traditional notebook computer will suffice If the primary use will be to access the Internet while traveling and not worry so much with processing power or HDD capacity, consider a netbook. If you find yourself in need of computer in class or that you spend more time in meetings than in your office, then the Tablet PC may be the answer. Before you invest money in Tablet PC, however, determine which programs you plan to use on it. You should not buy a Tablet PC simply because it is an interesting type of computer.
2. Purchase a notebook computer with sufficiently large screen-
Active-matrix screens display high-quality color that is viewable from all angles. Less expensive, passive-matrix screens sometimes are difficult to see in low-light conditions and cannot be viewed from an angle.
Notebook computers typically include a 12.1-inch, 13.3-inch, 14.1-inch, 15.4-inch, or 17-inch display. Netbooks have screens as small as 7 inches. For most users, a 14.4-inch display is satisfactory. If you intend to use the notebook computer as a desktop computer replacement, however, you may opt for a -15.4-inch or 17-inch display. The WSXGA+ standard (1680 x 1050) is popular with 17-inch displays, so if you intend to watch HD movies on the computer, take this into consideration. Dell offers a notebook computer with a 20.1-inch display that looks like a briefcase when closed. Some laptops with these larger display weigh more than 10 pounds, however, so if you travel a lot and portability is essential, you might want a lighter with a smaller display. The lightest notebook computers, which weigh less than 3 pounds, are equipped with a 12.1-inch display.
Regardless of size, the resolution of the display should be at least 1021 x 768 pixels. To compare the screen size on various notebook computers, including netbooks and PC tables, visit the company Web sites. Tablet PCs use a digitizer below a standard 10.4-inch motion-sensitive LCD display to make the writing experience on the screen feel like writing on paper. To ensure you experience the maximum benefits from the Clear Type technology, make sure the LCD display has resolution of 800 x 600 in landscape mode and a 600 x 800 in portrait mode.
3. Experiment with different keyboards, pointing devices, and digital pens-
Notebook computer keyboards, especially netbook keyboards, are far less standardized than those for desktop computers. Some portable computers, for example, have large wrist rests, while others have not, and keyboard layouts on laptops vary often. Notebook computers also use a range of pointing devices, including touchpads, pointing sticks, trackballs, and, in the case of Tablet PCs, digital pens.
Before you buy a laptop, try different types of keyboards and pointing devices to determine which is easier for you to use. Regardless of the device you select, you also may want to purchase a standard mouse to use when you are working at a desk or other large surface. Others gestures with the digital pen replicate some of the commonly used key on keyboard.
4. Make sure the laptop that you buy an optical disc-
Most mobile computers include an optical disc drive. Although DVD/Blu-ray Disc drives are slightly more expensive, they allow you to play CDs, DVDs, and Blue-ray Discs using your notebook computer and hear the sound through earbuds. If you decide to purchase a netbook, it might not include an optical disc drive. Instead, you might need to purchase an external optical disc drive.
5. If necessary, upgrade the processor, memory, and disk storage at the time of purchase-
As with a desktop computer, upgrading a notebook computer’s memory and disk storage usually is less expensive at the time of initial purchase. Some disk storage in custom designed for notebook computer manufacturers, meaning an upgrade might not be available in the future. If you’re buying a lightweight notebook computers or Tablet PCs, should include at least one Intel Core 2 Quad processor, 2 GB of RAM and 250 GB of storage space. If you buy a netbook, should have an Intel Atom processor, at least 1 GB of RAM and 120 GB of storage space.
6. The availability of built-in ports and slots and a USB hub on a notebook computer is important-
A notebook computer does not have much room to add adapter cards. If you know the purpose for which you plan to use the notebook computer, then you can determine the ports you will need. Netbooks typically have fewer ports than traditional notebook computers and Tablet PCs. Most notebook computers include common ports, such as a video port, audio port, network port, FireWire port, and multiple USB ports. If you plan to connect the notebook computer to a television, however, then you will need a PC to TV port. To optimize television viewing, you may want to consider DisplayPort, DVI, or HDMI ports. If you want to connect to networks at school or in various offices via a network cable, make sure the notebook computer you purchase has a network port. If the notebook computer does not contain a network port, you will have to purchase external network card that slides into an expansion slot in your computer, as well as a network cable. You also may want to consider adding a card reader.
7. If you plan to use your notebook computer for note-taking at school or in meetings, consider a convertible Tablet PC-
Some computer manufacturers have develop convertible Tablet PCs that allow the screen to rotate 180 degrees on a central hinge and then fold down to cover the keyboard. You then can use a digital pen to enter text or drawings in to the computer by writing on the screen. Some notebook computers have wide screens for better viewing and editing, and some even have screen on top of the unit in addition to the regular screen. If you spend much of your time attending lectures or meetings, then the slate Tablet PC is ideal. With a slate Tablet PC, users can attach a removable keyboard.
8. If you purchase a Tablet PC, determine whether you require multi-touch technology-
Newer operating systems now support hardware with multi-touch technology. If you choose an operating system that supports this technology, the Tablet PC also must support this technology.
9. Purchase a notebook computer with an integrated Web cam-
If you will be using a notebook computer to connect to the Internet and chat with friends online, consider purchasing one with an integrated Webcam.
10. Check with your wireless carrier to see if it offers netbooks for sale-
Most wireless carriers now offer wireless data plans allowing you to connect to the Internet from almost anywhere with a cell phone signal. Some wireless carriers now are selling netbooks with built-in capability to connect wirelessly to the Internet using a wireless data plan.
11. Purchase a notebook computer with a built-in wireless network connection-
A wireless network connection can be useful when you travel or as part of a home network. Increasingly more airports, hotels, schools, and cafes have wireless networks that allow you to connect to the Internet. Many users today are setting up wireless home networks, your notebook computer can access the Internet, as well as other computers in the house, from any location to share files and hardware, such as a printer, and browse the Web. Most home wireless networks allow connections from distance of 150 to 800 feet.
12. Purchase a well-padded and well-designed carrying case-
An amply padded carrying case will protect your notebook computer from the bumps it will receive while traveling. A well-designed carrying case will have room for accessories such as spare optical discs, pens, and paperwork. Although a netbook may be small enough to fit in handbag, make sure that the bag has sufficient padding to protect the computer.
13. If you plan to connect your notebook computer to a video projector, make sure the notebook computer is compatible with the video projector-
You should check, for example, to be sure that your notebook computer will allow you to display an image on the computer screen and projection device at the same time. Also, ensure that the notebook computer has the ports required to connect to the video projector. You also may consider purchasing a notebook computer with a built-in webcam for video conferencing purposes.