Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
HOW TO PURCHASE A NOTEBOOK COMPUTER
Experiment with different keyboards and
Notebook computer keyboards are far less standardized than
those for desktop computers. Some notebook computers, for
example, have wide wrist rests, while others have none, and
keyboard layouts on notebook computers often vary.
Notebook computers also use a range of pointing devices,
including pointing sticks, touchpads, and trackballs. Before
you purchase a notebook computer, try various types of
keyboard and pointing devices to determine which is easiest for
you to use. Regardless of the pointing device you select, you
also may want to purchase a regular mouse to use when you
are working at a desk or other large surface.
If you plan to use your notebook computer for
note-taking at school or in meetings, consider a
notebook computer that converts to a Tablet PC.
Some computer manufacturers have developed convertible
notebook computers that allow the screen to rotate
180 degrees on a central hinge and then fold down to
cover the keyboard
and become a
Tablet PC (Figure 48).
You then can use a
stylus to enter text or
drawings into the
computer by writing
on the screen. Some
have wide screens
for better viewing
and editing, and
some even have a
screen on top of the
unit in addition to
the regular screen.
Make sure the notebook computer you
purchase has a CD and/or DVD drive.
Most notebook computers come with a CD and/or a DVD
drive. Although DVD drives are slightly more expensive,
they allow you to play CDs and DVD movies using your
notebook computer and a headset.
FIGURE 48 The HP Compaq tc4200
Tablet PC converts to a notebook
If necessary, upgrade the processor, memory,
and disk storage at the time of purchase.
As with a desktop computer, upgrading your notebook
computer’s memory and disk storage usually is less
expensive at the time of initial purchase. Some disk storage is
custom designed for notebook computer manufacturers,
meaning an upgrade might not be available in the future. If
you are purchasing a lightweight notebook computer, then
it should include at least an Intel Core Duo processor,
512 MB RAM, and 80 GB of storage.
Purchase a notebook computer with a built-in
wireless network connection.
A wireless network connection (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi a/b/g,
WiMAX, etc.) can be useful when you travel or as part of a
home network. Increasingly more airports, hotels, and cafes
have wireless networks that allow you to connect to the
Internet. Many users today are setting up wireless home
networks. With a wireless home network, the desktop
computer functions as the server, and your notebook computer
can access the desktop computer from any location in the
house to share files and hardware, such as a printer, and
browse the Web. Most home wireless networks allow
connections from distances of 150 to 800 feet.
The availability of built-in ports and a port
extender on a notebook computer is important.
A notebook computer does not have a lot of room to add
adapter cards. If you know the purpose for which you plan
to use your notebook computer, then you can determine
the ports you will need. Most notebooks come with
common ports, such as a mouse port, IrDA port, serial port,
parallel port, video port, a FireWire port, and multiple USB
ports. If you plan to connect your notebook computer to a
TV, however, then you will need a PCtoTV port. If you want
to connect to networks at school or in various offices via a
network cable, make sure the notebook computer you
purchase has a network port. If your notebook computer does
not come with a network port, then you will have to
purchase an external network card that slides into an expansion
slot in your notebook computer, as well as a network cable.
While newer portable media players connect to a USB port,
older ones require a FireWire port.
If you are going to use your notebook
computer for long periods without access to an
electrical outlet, purchase a second battery.
The trend among notebook computer users today is power
and size over battery life, and notebook computer
manufacturers have picked up on this. Many notebook computer
users today are willing to give up longer battery life for a
larger screen, faster processor, and more storage. In
addition, some manufacturers typically sell the notebook with
the lowest capacity battery. For this reason, you need to be
careful in choosing a notebook computer if you plan to use
it without access to electrical outlets for long periods, such
as an airplane flight. You also might want to purchase a
second battery as a backup. If you anticipate running your
notebook computer on batteries frequently, choose a
computer that uses lithium-ion batteries, which last longer than
nickel cadmium or nickel hydride batteries.