In the past few years, the notebook computer has gone from being an executive toy to the most popular type of computer sold today. For anyone looking to buy a new computer, a notebook is now a good alternative to a desktop machine. They can perform almost every computing task required of them and there are a wide range of models to choose from. Some models have slower performance and fewer features than others, so it pays to spend a bit of time reviewing all the available options.
Since the early days of personal computers, manufacturers have tried to make them smaller and more portable. Early models were as large as a briefcase and almost impossible to carry. A modern notebook computer is the size of a large book and weighs just a few pounds. It may not be as powerful as a desktop computer but it is more than capable of running common applications, such as word processors and spreadsheets. There are even inexpensive models called netbooks that bridge the gap between notebooks and mobile phones.
A notebook computer provides most of the features of a desktop computer in a form that is compact, lightweight, and easy to carry. Mobile phones and personal digital assistants are fine for simple tasks, like email and messaging, but a notebook is a better choice for many other tasks. Notebooks are very popular with people who need to work in many different places during their day. Students use them to take notes during lectures and business people use them for working at job sites. They can also provide entertainment and make a long trip seem less boring.
There is a notebook computer to suit the requirements of everyone from students to executives. The standard notebook has a fifteen inch display which is adequate for tasks such as email, web browsing, and writing letters. Business notebooks are designed for greater reliability, security, and a longer battery life. Thin notebooks and netbooks are designed for greater portability and have a smaller display and battery to keep their weight down. At the other end of the scale are the heavy multimedia laptops with large widescreen displays.
The performance of a notebook computer depends mostly on its price. A dual-core processor is typically used in the expensive models, while cheaper models have a single core processor. The expensive models also have more memory and storage capacity than the cheaper models. Some models have no internal storage at all, forcing users to rely on memory cards and USB thumbdrives. Connectivity is an important feature, with virtually all models having support for either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, as well as Ethernet.
The keyboard on a notebook computer is smaller than a desktop keyboard. It is important to try out the keyboard for a while before buying to make sure that it is comfortable to use. An optical drive is a useful feature but many smaller notebooks do not have one. The more expensive notebooks have a metal alloy shell instead of a plastic one. A metal shell provides greater protection and also makes less noise when the notebook is being used.
Every notebook computer can benefit from a few accessories. A padded carry case helps protect it from the impacts and vibration that are unavoidable when traveling. With so much media stored on CD and DVD these days, an external optical drive is an essential accessory for notebooks that do not have an internal drive. A notebook mouse provides greater control over the cursor than a trackpad does, and a docking station allows a desktop keyboard and monitor to be used with it as well.