The chances are high that you are reading this article on a laptop computer of some kind. Laptops are incredibly widespread and come in all shapes and sizes. This article sums up some of the most popular variations of this workhorse of the modern age. Laptop manufacturers regularly innovate to realize new standards in laptop design, so this list is undoubtedly incomplete from the time of publishing onwards!
If somebody asked you to think of a laptop, you would undoubtedly immediately think of a notebook. Notebooks are by far the most widely used kind of laptop computer; they balance power with portability. They contain internal storage, an attached screen and keyboard, and ports for input and output. Notebooks range from super cheap entry-level models to high-performance gaming models, but they all share the common features most people associate with laptop computing.
Traditionally, computers contain some internal storage device; this could be a Solid State Drive or a Hard Disk Drive, depending on the computer. Netbooks – sometimes released as Chromebooks – do away with internal storage entirely. Instead, they use the ubiquity of the internet to provide useful computing power at a fraction of the cost and weight of traditional laptops. In addition, all data is cloud-based when you use a netbook. Unfortunately, this means that it is impossible to effectively use these devices when there is no wireless internet signal. Nevertheless, netbooks have become very popular thanks to their cheap price and low weight.
‘Ultrabook’ is a term coined by the successful chip manufacturer Intel to describe an ultra-slim laptop with powerful processing abilities. Although inspired by the MacBook Air, all Ultrabook laptops are designed to run Windows or Linux operating systems. Ultrabook laptops are high-performance, but manufacturers have had to cut out some features to keep them super slim. For example, Ultrabook computers do not typically incorporate internal CD drives or many physical input or output ports. They are also usually relatively expensive. Check out the Lenovo website for news about laptop deals that can make owning a slim, powerful Ultrabook a far more affordable prospect.
Apple was one of the pioneers of laptop computing. In 1991 they released the PowerBook 100 – one of the first practical portable computers to see a public release. In the time since Apple has rebranded their laptop range as the MacBook. Although MacBooks are not very affordable, they have seen great success as portable computers suited to creative applications such as music production and graphic design. In addition, they serve people wanting to run programs like Protools or Photoshop.
Convertible laptops make use of technology developed for tablets. They can essentially be converted from tablets to (almost) complete laptops in a matter of seconds. This feature is helpful in work environments where displaying your work to a group around a table is necessary. However, convertible laptops are not typically very powerful and are not recommended for creative work or gaming.