PC Notebooks Product Guide

PC Notebooks

Imagine having the whole world at your fingertips wherever you go. A notebook computer is a portable version of a desktop computer. It has a full-size keyboard and large screen to work with. It uses popular software, connects to the web, and works with all sorts of popular peripherals such as printers, scanners, and projectors. With the convenience of portable notebook computers, you can do just that. By carrying around an extra six or so pounds, you have the ability to access the Internet, send email, create documents, develop graphics, design homes. And more, virtually anywhere you go. Take battery-operated portable computers to the beach, office, park, a friend's house, or a meeting. The versatility and convenience of notebook computers have proved priceless to many professionals. A notebook computer is the perfect companion for people who must travel often and need to access information. Even if you don't travel often, having a notebook to use in different places at home is a nice feature, you can check online for recipes in the kitchen or find out more information on that movie trailer you just saw in the living room. So the idea is to use the notebook as a desktop replacement, since you can get 17" or larger screen sizes you can replace that older desktop with a brand new notebook that offers the same power and virtually same cost as a desktop.

Like familiar desktop computers, notebooks come with an internal processor, memory (RAM), a hard drive (for data storage), a keyboard, a built-in color monitor and a way to go online. Earlier notebooks were called laptops because their size was comfortable to use on your lap. The reason why these portables are called 'notebooks' is because they're about the size of a typical paper notebook (usually 9" x 12" and about an inch and a half thick). An average notebook weighs about 6 to 7 pounds, with the battery. There are some models that are lighter and smaller but will have smaller screens and offer fewer features.

All notebooks come with a flat-panel screen measured diagonally in inches. Most screens measure from 14 inches to about 17 inches. Smaller notebooks typically have screen smaller than 14" to the size of 7", generally 13.3" isn't really much of difference compared to 14" in terms of reading, while 12" would be the minimum screen size if your plan on using the notebook 8 hrs a day. As a rule, all notebooks include a rechargeable battery and an AC adapter. J&R carries notebook PC models from Toshiba, Sony, Hewlett-Packard, and more. These all use a Microsoft Windows operating system. There are notebook-like computers made by Apple Macintosh, but these are called MacBooks and they use a current version of an Apple operating system.

A new class of notebooks is emerging - the Netbook. For almost all purposes, it is like a notebook but it aims to be smaller and lighter than any notebook. Screen sizes are less than 12 inches (diagonal) and average weight is less than 3 pounds. These notebooks use Windows XP Home or Windows System 7 Starter as operating systems and have an Intel Atom processor. They have hard drives, USB connectivity, memory card readers, and 802.11 wireless WiFi capability. They lack an internal DVD drive but you can purchase an optional DVD drive if you wish. Many users download software via web connections. These light powerhouses are emerging as a favorite among travelers and leisure users because they are stylish, small, comfortable and affordable.

There's also a class of notebooks that have touch-sensitive screens or touchscreens. For all purposes they can be used as notebooks. Models add a swivel screen so you can use the touchscreen as a tablet - much like writing on a pad.

Notebooks are available for basic productivity, portability, 2D and 3D graphics, video, and high-end gaming. A completely new function is available on many new models - HDTV connectivity. Since many websites allow video downloads and streaming, notebooks are adding the HDMI port so you can play these videos on your HDTV screen and your home-theater sound system.

As small and light as these notebooks are, they offer many new advantages that you might not ever have imagined. The Notebook is not only a powerful tool for the mobile professional. It offers so much for everyone.

Some Types of Notebooks

Here are some notebook profiles that will cover most type of consumer needs, some of the standard features you'll find in all notebooks available at J&R are DVD Burner, 56k modem, 10/100 or 1000 network card and 802.11X Wireless.


(Word Processing, Internet & Emailing)

  • Screen Size - 14.1", 15.4"
  • CPU - Intel or AMD
  • RAM - 1GB
  • Hard Drive - 80GB
  • Video Card - 64MB shared
  • Vista Home Basic, Home Premium
  • Weight - 5lbs to 6lbs
  • Battery Life - 2 to 3 hrs

Multimedia Home PC

  • Screen Size - 15.4", 17.1" or larger
  • CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo
  • RAM - 2GB
  • Hard Drive - 200GB or more
  • Video Card - 128MB dedicated
  • Vista Home Premium
  • Webcam, TV Tuner, Media Card Reader, HD/Blu-Ray Drive
  • Weight - 6lbs to 9lbs
  • Battery Life - 2 to 3 hrs 15.4", 1 to 2 hrs 17.1"

Power User

(Image/Video Editing, 3D modeling, Heavy Business Applications)

  • Screen Size - 14.1", 15.4", 17.1"
  • CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad
  • RAM - 2GB (or 4GB Graphic Users)
  • Hard Drive - 200GB (add External Hard Drive for Image/Video editing)
  • Video Card - 128MB or 256MB dedicated
  • Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate
  • Webcam, Fingerprint Reader, Media Card Reader
  • Weight - 5lbs to 9lbs
  • Battery Life - 2 to 3 hrs 14.1" 15.4", 1 to 2 hrs 17.1"

Business Traveler

(Lightweight & long battery life)

  • Screen Size - 10.6", 12", 13.3"
  • CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo
  • RAM - 2GB
  • Hard Drive - 120GB or 160GB
  • Video Card - 128MB shared
  • Vista Home Premium, Business
  • WWAN, Webcam, Fingerprint Reader, Media Card Reader, International Service
  • Weight - 2lbs to 4lbs
  • Battery Life - 4 to 7 hrs 10.6", 3 to 4 hrs 12" & 13"


(Word processing, Music, Video, Chatting)

  • Screen Size - 13.3", 14.1"
  • CPU - Intel or AMD
  • RAM - 1GB or 2GB
  • Hard Drive - 160GB or 180GB
  • Video Card - 128MB shared or 128MB dedicated
  • Vista Home Premium, Business
  • Webcam, Media Card Reader
  • Weight - 4lbs to 5lbs
  • Battery Life - 3 to 4 hrs 13", 2 to 3 hrs 14.1"

Desktop Vs. Notebook

When portability and space are an issue, a notebook helps get the job done. If you already have a desktop computer at home and are looking for something to use while on the go, a notebook computer is an ideal solution for you. A notebook takes the four main parts of a desktop computer (tower, monitor, keyboard, and mouse) and combines them into one very compact device.

Your desktop computer can only be used at one location, home or office. A notebook computer may be used at home and the office, and also, all parts in between. If, on the other hand, you don't have a desktop computer and you're buying a computer for the first time, your options may vary. Notebook computers today perform so efficiently that the only difference between it and a desktop is sometimes the size. If you buy a notebook computer, you'll be able to use it at home, work, school, on vacations or weekend getaways. However, if you buy a desktop computer and need to take your computer with you, you can't. Most notebooks computers today are made with ports to help turn your notebook into a desktop,by just plugging in any size monitor and keyboard/mouse. When it comes to upgrading, however, you may find that notebook computers are limited compared with desktops. Whatever video card, sound card, and screen, that comes with the laptop are the same parts the laptop will end with till you get a new one. But for most people the only thing you would need upgrading is the RAM, which is easier to upgrade compared to a desktop. Some of the other parts you can upgrade is the CPU (Central Processing Unit) in most models and hard drive, if you are planning on upgrading the notebook in the future, it's best to bring the notebook to an authorized repair center to upgrade the computer for you.

Portability does come with some compromise. While a desktop might have 7 USB ports, a typical notebook has only 2. Processors and hard drives may not be as large as those you find on desktops. Most of this is done to keep notebooks small, light, and mobile so you can take them anywhere. These also save energy when using notebooks on battery power. For all other intents and purposes, a notebook can perform the same functions as a desktop.

Mouse & Keyboard

Mice are usually separate units that you move freely beside your desktop computer's keyboard. Notebooks come with a built-in pointing device such as a touchpad, which is a small touch-sensitive pad and below that are the left and right mouse buttons you would use like on a normal desktop mouse, lastly you will have the scroll wheel between the two buttons, if the scroll wheel is not there you can usually just slide your finger up and down the right side of the touchpad to get the same effect. A few notebooks still come with a trackpoint that is a little rubber button that you can move freely in any direction with a light push of a finger. This button is usually placed between the G and the H keys on notebook keyboards and you can still find them on some IBM and Lenovo notebooks. The notebook keyboard is roughly the same size as a desktop keyboard but without the number keypad on the right side of a desktop keyboard, the only time you find the number keypad is on 17" notebooks or larger. The biggest concern is making sure the keyboard is comfortable and the location and size of the keys, on some models the left "shift" key might be the same size as a letter key, or the placement of the "delete" key might be too far away to hit.

Connectivity Ports

Notebook computers have most of the standard ports included with a desktop computer, but fewer in quantity. All notebooks have the ability to accept devices like an external keyboard or mouse through the USB port, if you have a favorite PS2 keyboard or mouse you want to keep, get a PS/2 to USB adapter. Some notebooks also come with a PCMCIA card or PC Express slot for additional expansion. In some cases notebooks also come with a FireWire port for faster data transfer capabilities. By using either the FireWire or USB port you can connect any peripheral such as a scanner, digital camera, camcorder, hard drive, MP3/MP4 player, printer and much more to your notebook computer using available ports. If you need to work on a larger monitor at work or at home you can plug an external monitor through a VGA or on some notebook models a DVI port. The benefit of an external monitor, besides having a larger screen to work with, is that you can have a split screen that will display separate information from your laptop screen. For example you can have your email, internet messaging (IM), music program on your notebook screen and on the external monitor the program you'll be mostly using. You will always find ways of connecting to the Internet by either a modem (RJ-11), network jack (RJ-45) or through 802.X Wireless. All these ports are usually located on the back panel or the sides of the unit. Lastly, if you're the type of person who plans to have a lot of devices connected to the notebook (and want a quicker or simpler way of connecting all your devices) you can get a Port Replicator that provides more ports than those found on a typical notebook. You can leave your monitor, keyboard/mouse, USB devices and internet/network access connected to the port replicator and have access to them with just one connection to your notebook. If you just need to connect USB devices a cheaper way would be a USB hub that expands a USB port to handle from 4 up to 16 devices.


Every computer has a CPU, Central Processing Unit. It essentially functions as the "brain" of any computer. The CPU manages and processes all the steps that are required by the program application. There are two leading (and competing) processor manufacturers on the market: Intel and AMD. Intel makes Core solo to Core 2 Extreme Quad series processors. AMD manufactures Athlon to Athlon X2 processors. While there may be arguments over which processor offers better performance, for most home and small office applications, you can get either AMD or Intel, but for better performance in photos, multimedia and games you would be better off with Intel Core 2 Duo or higher processors.

The big issue with processors is how fast they operate. The speed of currently produced processors for notebooks ranges from 1GHz (GHz=Billion cycles per second) to over 2GHz. Processing speed is really dependent on your needs. For accounting or word-processing, speed is not an issue. If you are interested in high-level graphics and multimedia applications, a higher speed processor is highly recommended. The use of a faster processor also adds to the selling price of the notebook.

As new notebooks and technologies develop, new processors emerge. Many use energy more efficiently for longer battery use. The new small class of notebooks - the Netbook - uses an Intel Atom. Specifically designed for Netbooks, Intel Atom delivers exceptional speed and performance with little power drain. Based on an entirely new microarchitecture, the Intel Atom processor was developed specifically for targeted performance and low power while maintaining full Intel Core instruction set compatibility. Intel Atom processors also feature multiple threads for better performance and increased system responsiveness.


The amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) that your computer needs is associated with the number of applications (programs) you have running at the same time. The operating system (Windows or Apple) and each program that you use requires a certain amount of RAM space. The concept of RAM is that it is available when the computer is powered on. It compares to a table top - it contains all the work you're placing and using on the table. The greater quantity of RAM you have available is like having a larger table to work with.

If you plan on having several programs in use at one time and if you create large files, you need more workspace for overall efficiency. Most notebook computers come with either 1GB or more. 1GB RAM is considered sufficient for most portable computer needs, while more RAM (about 2GB) is ideal for notebooks that will run professional multimedia applications, computer programming, gaming. You'll also want at least 1GB (though 2GB is preferable) to run Windows Vista or later versions of Mac OS X operating systems. Lesser-priced models come with 512MB of RAM, and higher-priced models come with up to 2GB of RAM, but as I mentioned before RAM is easily upgraded by either swapping or adding more RAM to the computer and in some notebooks you can upgrade up to 4GB. It depends on your initial budget and need but, for better flexibility, the more RAM the better.


When you don't have access to a wall plug, notebook computers come with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that let you use the notebook for a certain time. Different computer functions and applications drain the battery power faster than other functions. The level of brightness on the notebook screen is another factor on battery life. A fully-charged notebook battery pack will last on average two to three hours while typing a letter, but if you decide to watch a DVD movie expect two hours or less. When surfing the Internet by using the notebooks WiFi expect a shorter battery life by 30 to 45 mins, best way to conserve battery life when you don't need to go online is by shutting off the WiFi through a switch on the sides of the notebook or in the software. Some notebooks give you the option of adding an additional battery pack or replacing the battery that came with the notebook with a larger one (also adding weight), which may give you an additional two hours.

Most notebooks have an energy-saving mode. This will automatically dim the screen and slow down the processing performance. Using this mode can help extend battery use up to 50%.

Video Graphics Memory

Video Graphics memory is memory specifically devoted to images. It allows graphics to be processed more speedily and efficiently. Processing text takes less memory than processing images. If you deal with images and graphics on your notebook computer (perhaps for multimedia presentations, or editing video), make sure you have enough Video Memory. Video memory enhances the ability to view text, photographs, illustrations or even movies on your computer screen. Many entry-level notebooks come with 64 to 128MB of shared memory, what shared memory means is that the video memory is taken from the notebooks' memory, so if you have 1GB RAM and 128MB shared you will be running with 896MB RAM when your working in higher display modes. Some higher-priced models may have 128MB to 256MB dedicated memory and are capable of delivering professional 2D and 3D graphics. Notebook video memory is usually not upgradeable. Some notebook computers include video cards that allow you to connect a VCR, TV or Camcorder to input and output video images.

If you're seeking to play high-performance, 3D games or download and play high-definition video, looks for models that offer 1GB dedicated video memory or more.

Hard Disk Storage

RAM is not to be confused with hard disk storage capacity. If we consider RAM your working space on a desk, then the desk drawers would be the hard drive, where you store programs and data files. Hard disk space is measured in bytes like RAM, but the hard drive has much larger storage capacity. Most notebook hard drive capacities range from 40GB to over 750GB and offer rotational speed from the fastest 7,200rpm to 5,400rpm which is the average speed for a notebook drive, and the slowest 4,200rpm. The faster the disk spins, the better your notebook will perform overall, though a faster disk will also shorten battery life and generate more heat. The internal hard drive is usually replaceable in most notebook computers, if not, there are fairly wide selections of external hard drives that have been designed to attach to one of the available USB or Firewire ports in your notebook. An external drive is extremely valuable when you want to save and store more information than your internal hard drive can carry. If your notebook is your exclusive computer, an external hard drive is crucial to provide backup of your internal drive.

Many external hard drives are portable. Some use so little power that you merely connect them to one of your notebook's avaialable USB ports for connection and charging. You can find portable hard drives with capacities of 1TB or higher. A TB is a terabyte. It is equal to 1,000GB. Many portable drives weigh less than 8 ounces so you can tow them anywhere.

DVD Drives

Virtually all notebooks have a DVD burner. It reads virtually all CD's and DVD's while also having the ability to record (or write) onto CD and DVD. Some manufactures call them SuperMulti DVD or SuperDrive which just means a DVD Burner (Writer/Reader). The reason why this drive is called a Burner is because it can copy data at extremely fast speeds, as if it is burning it into the disc. On some discs, you can only record to once. Others allow multiple recordings. A DVD typically holds 4.7GB information, a dual layer (DL) DVD holds about 8.5GB information and a CD holds up to 700MB information. Most software is packaged on CD, with some more complex applications on DVD. Video output on a DVD is typically 720x480. Though excellent, this resolution is not considered high-definition.

If you have high-definition quality in mind, there are two emerging removable disc formats - Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Each of these are designed as formats for storing and presenting HDTV quality recordings. Each disc holds up to 50GB of information and can offer TV/Video display up to 1920x1080. Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray drives are backward compatible for DVD and CD use. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, however, are not compatible with each other.

Though most notebooks have a built-in DVD multi-format burner, Netbooks do not. If you plan on loading your netbook through DVD or CD, an optional external DVD burner is necessary. Many are relatively small and weigh only a few ounces. Most connect to a USB port.

Internet Access

Notebooks come with a built-in modem and using its built-in RJ11 phone port, you can access the Internet through dial-up. It also has a built-in RJ45 port that allows you to connect with faster, broadband Internet access through DSL or Cable providers. Most notebooks have built-in 802.1x wireless capabilities, which allow wireless connectivity to broadband Internet (use of an optional wireless router may be required).

802.11x Wireless

Virtually all notebooks feature built-in wireless networking. The popular name for this is WiFi. Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that lets you network and connect to other computers without wires. Wi-Fi allows notebook computers and other mobile devices to easily connect to the Internet, as well as to each other and to existing networks. Wi-Fi uses radio waves - just like cellular and cordless phones, TV and radio - to provide reliable high-speed connections between computers, printers, gaming devices, cameras, phones and home entertainment systems.

When outside the home, many areas are WiFi friendly. This means you can access wireless Internet services available at many coffee shops, restaurants, parks, airports, and in some entire cities. In most cases there is no additional charge but there may be some small charges in others for using the service.

This wireless connectivity adheres to a particular set of protocols known as 802.11. Currently they are 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. The differences among these influence speed of data transfer and distance from a WiFi antenna within a wireless network. Most notebooks that have 802.11 built-in are compatible to one or more of these standards.


Notebook LCDs (liquid-crystal displays) range in size from 7" to 20" (measured diagonally), display size is a key factor in the laptop's overall weight and bulkiness. Most of today's LCDs are widescreen that offers 1280 x 800 or higher resolutions in 13" to 15.4" screen size and 1440 x 900 or higher resolution in 17.1" sizes. Notebook LCDs vary widely in brightness, contrast, and sharpness. Almost all notebooks currently available for sale have widescreen aspect ratios.

When it comes to LCDs the specifications reveal little about actual picture quality. Generally you can feel secure at looking for the best resolution, highest brightness and contrast ratings within your budget. For the most part, notebook screens offer superb, sharp, fluid, color images.

Typical LCD screens have a backlight - a white-ish light that allows adjustability for easier viewing in different situations. Its effect on the viewed image is otherwise transparent. A new LCD backlight technology is emerging that uses LED (light emitting diode). LED's are brighter, use less energy, and can adapt to colors promoting improved depth to images. LED backlights that currently found on only a few models such as the Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro. Though backlit LED displays can be brighter, thinner, less power-hungry than most LCD screens, they are also more expensive and are likely to be used only on high-performance notebook models.

Another screen specification worth considering is screen response time, which is rated in milliseconds. 1 millisecond (ms) is 1,000th of 1 second. In order to achieve the color on a pixel in an LCD panel, a current is applied to the crystals at that pixel to change the state of the crystals. Response times refer to the amount of time it takes for the crystals in the panel to move from an on to off state. This feature is particularly crucial when playing fast games or viewing videos. What you're looking for here is the lowest screen response time. At 16ms or more, there might be a slight blurring effect in rapidly changing images. If you're seeking optimal video screen performance, you should seek notebooks with screens that have response ratings below 16ms. The only drawback here is when you use this feature on battery power, it adds to battery drain.

Another recent type of display is the touch-screen or tablet display; windows XP tablet edition and Vista now support this new type of screen. You can use the pen directly on the screen just as you would a mouse to do things like select, drag, and open files; or in place of a keyboard to handwrite notes and communication. The advantage of using a Tablet notebook is the ability to write and then be converted into text. Lets take for example you are working on a spreadsheet, you would select the cell you want to input information by tapping the cell with a special stylus, then on the bottom of the screen you would write inside the Tablet PC Input Panel whatever you wanted and would then be converted to whatever character you needed. Its best to write in block letters to get the characters you want, if you choose to write in script you might get more errors. Tablet function is popular with people who don't normally work at a desk and uses the notebook standing up similar to the way we used PDAs. The one draw back in using tablets is the screen quality is generally duller and most people type faster than they write.

Operating Systems

An operating system is core software that essentially turns the computer on and allows it to run programs and applications. It works as sort of a bridge between you and your computer and runs many things in the background so you don't have to worry about them. It may also provide alerts when you might be doing something out of the ordinary, like accidentally deleting a file.

There are essentially two operating systems found on notebooks. PC notebooks use Windows, an operating system developed by Microsoft. Virtually every notebook comes with a version of Microsoft Windows Vista. MacBooks use another operating system developed by Apple called OSX. The most recent version, at this writing, is Leopard.

While Windows and OSX operating systems offer many similar features, they are not compatible with each other. That means if you have a PC, you could only run devices or programs developed for Windows. If you have a MacBook, it will only run devices or programs geared for OSX.

Another popular operating system is available that, generally, is not included with notebooks. It's called Linux. This is a public domain system, administered by RedHat, that more technically aware users write and share with others. There are literally tens of thousands of Linux applications available and most can be downloaded at no charge from certain websites. While Linux may be run on a PC or Apple system, it is less scrutinized for user friendliness and integrity. Though you have the option of adding Linux to your notebook once you buy one, in almost all instances it is not the core operating system that notebooks come with.


Most notebook computers with 15.4" screens weigh around 5 to 7 pounds, including the rechargeable battery. Models with 17" screens weigh around 8 to 10 pounds. A new generation of notebook computers, subnotebooks, have been designed for busy mobile users seeking to minimize weight and size. All of these weigh less than 4 pounds, including the battery, and have smaller screens (12" or less measured diagonally). A few models with screens less than 10", weigh less than 2 pounds.

What surprises many, carrying the included AC adapter/charger with you can add about 2 pounds to the overall carrying weight.

Additional useful features

There are some frills that make your notebook more enjoyable and productive such as fingerprint reader, web-camera (webcam), TV tuner and media card reader:

The fingerprint reader gives you easy but secure access by using your fingerprint. Fingerprints are very individual-specific. Simply swipe your finger on the sensor without having to type or remember the password all the time. You setup the fingerprint reader by swiping different fingers multiple times on the sensor then you type in the username and password for banking sites, email, and windows login. If your notebook doesn't have one, the fingerprint reader is a great accessory to help protect your privacy. It connects through an available USB port.

The web-camera is a fun feature that most kids and college students prefer to have to stay in contact with family and friends, since most IM services like Windows and Yahoo messenger have video conferencing feature built-in. Setup is a snap. It's also useful for Skype phone calls. This way (if the other person has a webcam too) you can visit audio visually with each phone call. Webcams usually connect through a USB port. Though available on some notebook models, if you don't have one, it is an affordable option worth getting.

Having a TV tuner in the notebook is perfect way to record all your TV shows and watch them later when your commuting or traveling on business. Or take a break and watch your favorite shows live by plugging in the portable antenna when you're not at home. And lastly why bother plugging or carry around a USB cable when you can just remove the memory card from your digital camera and download the photos straight into your notebook with the media card reader.

Service and Warranties

Most notebooks come with 1-year manufacturer's warranty that will cover parts, labor and provide toll-free support. Some parts of the notebook aren't covered for the full year such as the battery because it degrades after daily use and has a general lifespan of 9 months to a year (you may observe a significant degradation of portable operation time within 6 months of frequent use). Manufacturers will cover defects under normal use but not against spills or breakage. Some companies also cover your notebook international when you're traveling overseas, provided you are able to locate and bring to an authorized repair shop. Usually, a toll-free service phone number is provided during initial warranty period.

We strongly advise considering extended warranty options that may cover your notebook for up to three years. One specific extended warranty option will cover costs against screen damage. During regular mobile use, the screen can crack through routine movements. This is often a very expensive repair.

Essential Accessories

Here are some optional add-on accessories worth serious consideration. They help you maintain, carry, use, and care for your notebook to assure long, dependable performance.


When getting your notebook, purchase a comfortable notebook carrying case that has a padded compartment, which your notebook fits securely into. Whether you use it for storage or travel, a case protects your notebook from dust and from those daily bumps and slips of everyday living. Cases vary in shape or size. There are padded sleeves that are designed to protect your notebook in standard luggage or carry cases. Then there are more traditional looking briefcases. For students and business travelers seeking to keep their hands free, there are backpacks specifically designed to carry notebooks and other accessories. It's advisable to look for water-resistant fabric, reinforced corners and specialized compartments designed to hold the AC adapter, PDA, MP3 player, paperwork and so on. This way all of your accessories won't be tumbling out of your bag in a tangled mess.

Second Battery

Whether your notebook has a spot for placing a secondary backup battery or whether it only holds one battery, if you're planning to use it for extended periods without AC wall current, a second battery is advisable. Most notebooks may run an average of up to 3 hours per full battery charge but that depends on various conditions. Extreme weather may reduce battery life. An aged battery may reduce the capacity of the charge.

Emergency power backup

Some manufacturers produce emergency backup power supplies. They are designed to add some time to complete work. They usually come with a set of tips to operate with several different computer models.

USB Pocket Drive

Sometimes referred as thumb drive, this pocket-sized unit comes in varied capacities (generally from 512MB up to 8GB) and connects directly to a USB port. They are excellent for quickly transferring data between computers and for backing up important work you've just worked on.

External Keyboard

Most notebooks have keyboards designed for moderate to heavy use. If you are a heavy user, please remember that replacing the notebook's keyboard (if defective out of warranty) may be expensive and time consuming. Using an external keyboard while using your notebook at home or office will help prolong the functional integrity of your notebook's keyboard. Several models are designed to complement the compact size of your notebook. Some are wired or wireless. It is a practical and economical accessory to help prolong the life of your notebook.

Pocket Hard Drive

As mentioned earlier, these range in size and capacity. They can be used for back-up support or to extend the capacity of your notebook's hard drive.


Extends the number of USB ports on your notebook


Each wireless carrier sells Wireless Wide Area Network cards that permits wireless access to that carrier's wireless web sites, for a nominal charge per month's use.


The notebook computer is more than just a partner to a desktop. It's got a life, power, and identity to enhance your personal productivity and lifestyle where ever you go. Whether you choose ultralight models with small screens or light models with large screens, any notebook has the capabilities to perform as well as most desktops. Netbooks are smaller and lighter than notebooks and can go practically anywhere.

Built-in wireless features offer the experience of accessing the Internet, running software, and exchanging files with many other devices. Battery power means you can use it even when AC power isn't available.

Some notebooks or netbooks offer an HDMI port. It lets you connect your notebook for effortless play on your HDTV screen. Several websites allow download of videos, often at substantial discounts (when compare to discs). If this is something you like to do, consider a notebook with a large hard drive, over 512MB of video memory, and a fast Internet connection.

For the best and most flexible features supporting productivity and entertainment (or both), with extensive wireless communication capabilities, your notebook enhances your world and sense of self in a much larger scope of interaction.

Did you find this guide useful or have something to add?

comments powered by Disqus