Laptops have often been thought of as simply small, portable computers that can be taken anywhere you go (within reason!). There are four different types of laptop varieties currently available however, and it is important to know the differences between them, as prices, features, and performance can vary greatly between these laptop genres:

Ultra-light Laptops – Known as subnotebooks or ultra-portables, these laptops usually weigh no more than 4 pounds, and people who travel frequently usually love these types of laptops. Because these laptops weigh very little, they are easy to lug around in a backpack or laptop briefcase…but they are also very small. Typing on Ultralight Laptops, especially if you have large hands, is downright difficult and uncomfortable…make sure you bring along an external keyboard that you can hook up to your ultralight once you arrive at your destination. Ultra-light laptops usually lack a CD ROM drive as well, so make sure you have the proper attachments before leaving home. Battery life on Ultralight laptops is usually excellent, however!

Notebooks – This type of laptop usually weighs between 4-6 pounds, with screen sizes from 12-15″. As the laptop grows in size, battery life usually goes down as there are usually more devices and a larger screen to power. The Notebook is considered a ‘regular’ laptop and usually has a large opening on the side where you can plug in different devices like a CD-ROM drive, floppy drive, or wireless PCMCIA cards.

Standards – These laptops are the most commonly purchased types of laptops…they offer a full range of built-in features, including wireless connectivity, SSD drives, network interfaces, multiple USB 3.1 ports, nice-sized screens (usually 14″), and a keyboard that is easy to type on. You won’t need to pack along a lot of extra attachments for the standard laptops which is nice. Also, the best deals, discounts, and prices can usually be found on standard laptops from all of the major laptop manufacturers.

Extra Large/Gaming – These bests are best suited as a ‘desktop replacement’. They are usually much faster, louder, and have 17″ screens in most cases. The battery life is only about 1-2 hours as these laptops burn through the power. Their faster processor speeds, larger screens, larger keyboards, and heavier size make them perfect ‘home/gaming machines’. Expect extra large laptops to weigh more than 8 pounds. These specialty laptops are also some of the priciest, and will almost always have all options built-in…no need to pack around an external keyboard or CD-ROM drive with these laptops…just make sure you bring a couple of extra batteries though!

Make sure you purchase the laptop that will work for your needs, whatever they may be…buying a laptop that is too heavy if you are a frequent traveler will leave you exhausted from hauling it around. Buying an Ultralight laptop if you are a gamer will leave you disappointed. Make sure you evaluate your needs before purchasing your next laptop, and you’ll be smiling instead of grimacing in frustration!

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