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Laptops or notebooks are widely used in a variety of settings, including work, education, and personal multimedia.
These portable personal computers combine the components and inputs of a desktop computer, including display, speakers, keyboard and pointing device (such as a touchpad or a trackpad). Most laptops have an integrated webcam and a microphone. Laptops can be powered either from a rechargeable battery, or by mains electricity via an AC adapter.
The market of laptops and notebooks has undergone huge changes in the past years, and the choice of these devices became just overwhelming. Laptops became smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more powerful. Today's models encompass everything from featherweight, business-savvy ultraportables to lap-crushing gaming laptops.
Some laptops double as tablets, with hinges that bend and fold, while other touch-enabled PCs are actually slate tablets that come with hardware keyboards for notebook-style use. There's a great variety to choose among and buy laptops fitting every person's needs.
Laptop is a diverse category of devices and other more specific terms, such as rugged notebook or convertible, refer to specialist types of laptops, which have been optimized for specific uses. Hardware specifications change significantly between different types, makes and models of laptops. To buy a notebook, it is very important to figure out which features you need and what you will use it for to purchase the laptop you really need.
- Traditional laptop. It has a form of clamshell, with a screen on one of its inner sides and a keyboard on the opposite. It can be easily folded with the screen and keyboard inaccessible while closed. These laptops have the screen size of 13 to 17 inches and run a full-featured operating system. Traditional laptops are the most common form of laptops, although Chromebooks, Ultrabooks, convertibles and laplets are becoming more common, with similar performance being achieved in their more portable or affordable forms.
- Subnotebook. A subnotebook, also called ultraportable is designed and marketed with an emphasis on portability (small size, low weight and often longer battery life). Subnotebooks are usually smaller and lighter than standard laptops, weighing between 0.8 and 2 kg, with a battery life, exceeding 10 hours.
- Netbook. This is an inexpensive, light-weight, energy-efficient device, especially suited for wireless communication and Internet access. Netbooks first became commercially available in around 2008. Netbooks are not sold anymore, though machines with their features — small, inexpensive, and low powered are still producted and widely sold, in particular the smaller Chromebook models.
- Convertibles. These convertible-hybrid laptop designs can transform from laptop to tablet and back again, most opting for a folding design that flips the keyboard out of the way. Most convertibles have a touchscreen display alongside the traditional touchpad, to work in a tablet mode.
- Laplet. This is the most recent laptop device category. It is a mix of the words laptop and tablet and it is a crossover of these device types. Although being typically considered as a tablet, laplets share certain similarities to laptops, and may be considered as its alternative form. Laplets are designed to be used not only as a media consumption device, but also as a valid desktop or laptop replacement due to their ability to run desktop applications, connect multiple peripheral devices, such as a mouse, keyboard and a number of external displays.
- Desktop replacement. This is a class of large device, which is not intended primarily for mobile use. They are bulkier and not as portable as other laptops, and are used as compact and transportable alternatives to a desktop computer. Desktop replacements are larger and typically heavier than other classes of laptops.
- Rugged laptop. It is designed to be able to operate in harsh usage conditions such as strong vibrations, extreme temperatures, and wet or dusty environments. Rugged laptops are bulkier, heavier, and much more expensive than regular laptops, and thus are seldom seen in regular consumer use.
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