(redirected from Laptops)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.


, laptop computer
a personal computer that is small and light enough to be operated on the user's lap



A portable computer with an LCD screen that weighs from two to 10 pounds (see chart below). It uses batteries for mobile use and AC power for charging and desktop use. High-end laptops provide nearly all the speed and capabilities of desktop computers. Following are their major features:

Keyboard layout is often sacrificed. Home, End, PageUp and PageDn keys may not be dedicated, requiring that you hold down the Fn key at the same time. Often unavoidable on very small laptops, these keys are cumbersome if used a lot. Most importantly, keyboards feel different. Two rules. Rule 1: spend time testing the keyboard. Rule 2: spend time testing the keyboard. See Fn key.

Screen Resolution - Internal/External
Today, laptops use high-quality LCD screens, and the built-in display system can also feed an external monitor or data projector. Unlike a desktop computer, you cannot replace the display subsystem, so be sure the laptop has the resolution required by the external monitor if you want to connect one.

Expansion and Desktop Use
Modern laptops have several USB ports and an external monitor port, making them very flexible for expansion. However, if you plan on a lot of switching between the internal and external monitors and keyboards, a docking station may be a convenient option. See docking station.

Built-in Pointing Device
Either a touchpad or pointing stick is built into the laptop. Try it. There are differences. A regular mouse can always be plugged in.

Battery life is critical. The standard battery can usually be replaced with an extended life battery, but that adds more weight.

Watching movies requires a fast graphics processor and good speakers. Machines differ. Test drive before you buy.

Five pounds can be very heavy if you have to lug it around all day. To reduce weight, subnotebooks use external CD/DVD drives. Also, check the external power supply (see power adapter). This plastic brick adds more weight in your travel bag and is never included in the advertised weight. Following is a rough guide to portable computers by weight. See subnotebook, Ultrabook and netbook.

                      Weight Range                   Excluding External                      Power SupplyCategory               (pounds)

 Laptop (generic)        3 - 10

 Notebook                4 - 6

   Ultrabook             2 - 4
   Netbook/Mini Laptop   2 - 3

 Pocket/Smartphone       5-10 ounces

One of the First
In 1983, Tandy's Radio Shack division launched the Model 100 Micro Executive Workstation. It weighed only four pounds and included a built-in word processor, name and address list and modem. The Model 100 was inspiration for the huge portable market that followed. (Image courtesy of Tandy Corporation.)

A Decade of Difference
With a CPU 60 times faster, 100 times more memory and 200 times more disk space, the 2003 model bears little resemblance to the 1993 unit. Although significant, the differences are nowhere near as dramatic in the subsequent decade.

Never Enough Power!
The only problem with portables is that the batteries never last long enough. This lithium ion battery from Hi-Capacity ( can add up to seven more hours of run time.
References in periodicals archive ?
Consumers are looking forward a great cut on prices on Laptops from huge electronics giants as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Target.
Such standards, which should be put in writing and communicated to employees regularly, should address the type of information that's stored on laptops.
To date, this campus has outfitted 500 laptops with IT security programs.
And Fullinwider said that as a result of the security breaches, he hopes to have a policy ready by next month requiring all laptops and BlackBerrys to encrypt information.
The Lightspeed software, however, allows Scrivano to control what programs are allowed on the equipment; ensure the laptops or computers don't pick up any virus or spyware, which keeps them running smoothly; and run all traffic through a content filter that Scrivano sets up so he can stop inappropriate uses.
Finding the right laptop for law school can be overwhelming, especially since there are so many options.
Most of those laptops and their users, however, are going it alone, so to speak.
With more than one million Centrino laptops being shipped in the first year they were launched, the systems were popular, yet lacked the flexibility that LindowsOS Laptop Edition offers.
The XO laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of one laptop per child.
Launching at the ISTE 2012 Conference, which is being held in San Diego June 24-27, the customizable new laptop tracking software, a $29.
Regardless of why the school next door got laptops, you're likely to be next.