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gadgets: Laptops

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Laptops, sometimes called notebooks, are a type of personal computer that is designed for use on the go. A laptop shares virtually all of the functions and components of a desktop computer. However, with a compact, clamshell design and rechargeable battery laptops are significantly more portable than their bulky, mains-powered rivals.



People need laptops for different reasons, some people want something ultraportable to use when they are away from their desktop computer and others want something that is as powerful as a desktop computer.

Cheap laptops

As their name suggests, the main selling point of this breed of laptop is their price. Indeed, many of these devices cost less than £500! While this sort of laptop is not fit for a desktop replacement, they are more than capable of completing everyday tasks such as surfing the internet and word-processing. While cheap laptops are bulkier and sometimes less aesthetically pleasing than other types of laptops, like ultraportable ones, they are still incredibly portable.


With screens between 7 and 10 inches, a netbook is mini laptop. These devices are both relatively cheap and highly portable, as they can easily fit into your bag. While netbooks can be great for taking notes in lectures or keeping yourself occupied on the commute to work, they do tend to have relatively low specifications which can make it difficult to do graphic-intensive tasks on them.

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Ultraportable laptops

As their name implies, this type of laptop focuses on portability. These laptops are super thin and very light making them the ultimate portable laptop. However, in order to be so portable, most ultraportable laptops have sealed units; this means that it can be difficult to upgrade components. Due to the sophisticated technology that these devices use, ultraportable laptops do tend to be quite expensive, especially when compared with other laptops. While ultraportable laptops are great devices, it is worth noting that they are not usually an individual’s main computer, but rather a complementary device to use on the go.

Desktop replacement laptops

Desktop replacement laptops are the closest that you will get to a desktop computer. Indeed, equipped with top end processors, large screens and generous memory and storage, these are incredibly power laptops! However, while a desktop replacement laptop is certainly more portable than a desktop computer, it is worth bearing in mind that they are by far the least portable type of laptop.

Multimedia laptops

There are a range of laptops that are especially geared towards those who want a device on which they can play games, watch films and perform other graphic-intensive tasks. With a generous amount of RAM, a separate graphics card and powerful processors, these laptops are incredibly speedy, so lag is never a problem! In addition, multimedia laptops boast high resolution displays and excellent sound quality. However, beware that these sorts of laptops do not always have great battery life, nor are they as portable as other types of laptop.

Choosing the best laptop

In order to choose the best laptop for you, you need to think carefully about what sort of tasks you will need the device to perform. If you plan on using the device for day-to-day internet browsing and word-processing, you may be OK with a budget laptop. However, if you want a laptop to play games and watch films on, a multimedia laptop with a dedicated graphics card may be better suited to your needs.

While laptops are definitely more portable than a desktop PC, some laptops are more portable than others. If you plan on taking your laptop to lectures every day, you may want to consider getting a netbook or an ultraportable laptop as these devices are lighter and more compact than other types of laptop.

Are there any specific features that you need? Be it a camera, a disk drive or a large on-board memory, make a list of any particular features that you would like your laptop to have so that you can compare it against laptop specifications.