Easy ChoiceMar 25, 2002 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in PC LaptopsThe Bottom Line Get the smallest, lightest laptop you can that fits your budget, and includes the features you really need. Remember, infrequently used items can be external.
Hewlett Packard HP Pavilion 14.1" dv4t Notebook i7-3632QM - 2.2 GHz; 750GB HD; 16GB RAM; Windows 8 Pro 64; black lic... (C2U62AV1828226)
I think the decision to replace a clunky desktop a sleek laptop (yes, I'm VERY biased) is in my opinion, a no-brainer. I can't think of anything that a desktop could do that a laptop can't, while the same is not true in revers. I'll tell you a little about my laptop experience, then about why I'll never go back.
I bought my first laptop in 1993, an Apple PowerBook 145B. This was black and white (no grayscale here), had no ability to support an external monitor, and was VERY slow, running at 25MHz on its 68030 (roughly equal to a 386sx) processor. Maximum RAM was 8MB, and the 80MB hard drive was already tiny. However, that machine, with its old-tech NiCad battery and internal 2400 baud modem could do something that no desktop ever built could do: it could do email from anywhere on the planet with an available phone line. Before email, laptops only made sense for people who had to create content on the road, but email changed all of the rules. My wife uses that PowerBook now, and for email (put an intenal 14.4 modem from another PowerBook in it), and it does email and word processing just as well today as it did 9-years-ago.
Here is what you give up with a laptop, expandability, large screen, large keyboard and external mouse. Everything else is largely the same, so long as you don't scrimp ont he laptop specs. My desktop computer (which I almost never use) is equipped as follows, Pentium III processor at 750 MHz, 192MB RAM, 10GB hard drive, DVD Rom drive, CDRW drive, Zip Drive, 56K modem, 10/100 ethernet card and an reasonably high-end video and sound card from about two years ago (Voodoo 3 AGP, Aureal Vortex).
In comparison, the laptop I bought two years ago was configured as follows, Pentium III 450MHz, 6GB drive, 192MB RAM, DVD Rom and 56K modem. I have external zip and CDRW drives that can run from the USB port, and a 10/100 ethernet PCMCIA card. While the laptop has a video chipset that would be considered garbage by desktop standards (Trident Ciber 2595, 2.5MB), it does just fine for anything other than high-end games, including smooth DVD movie playback. Unless you are a gamer, this is all the laptop anyone could need function-wise, and it is already two years out of date. I really can't think of anything on it that would need upgrading except perhaps the hard drive, which is accomplished easily enough, wtih 15GB drives now costing around $200.
My current laptop, a Toshiba Portege 3490CT, weighs less than 3.5lbs, has a 700MHz Pentium III, 192MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive, all in a case less than one inch thick. The 8MB S3 Savage IX video chipset may not be cuting edge, but Diablo II ran beautifully. Of course, such a machine is inconvenient if you frequently burn CDs or watch movies.
So my advice is to buy the smallest and lightest laptop you can get with the features you want. This is tricky, as you must look at your actual useage. I carry my laptop to work and school every day, so weight is very important. I only watch movies on it or burn CDs occasionally, so having these drives external is not a problem. For MY USE, the lightweight machine with nothing built-in was the perfect answer.
For the user looking for a more full-featured machine, I would very strongly recommend Toshiba's Portege 4000, which can be ordered with a built-in DVD-CDRW drive. I had the pleasure to use such a machine for the last two weeks (while Toshiba sorts out a service problem with my 3490), and for an extra pount in weight, the convenience of the multi-function drive is very worthwhile. I'm not sure that I would use it enough to justify the higher price and weight, but this machine really only compromises in the size of its screen (12.1"), which for me is no trouble at all (my laptop has an 11.3" screen, which is also just fine).
Good luck, and I'll leave you with one piece of wisdom I've gathered in my 9 years of laptop computing. I've known plenty of desktop users who've wished their computers were portable, but have yet to meet a single laptop user who wished his or her computer was bulkier.
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