Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Don’t sacrifice substance for style when buying a portable computer

Don’t sacrifice substance for style when buying a portable computer

Slimline Ultrabooks and hybrid 2-in-1 tablets look great and are light on your shoulder, but make sure they still meet all your needs when you’re working on the road.

These days there’s more choice than ever if you’re looking for a portable computer and it’s easy to get swept up in the latest trends. If you’re looking for a productivity tool then you shouldn’t shop with an eye for fashion, instead you should look for the most practical device to meet your specific needs.

That said, there’s no shame in looking for a slender design if your previous notebooks have weighed you down. Just be sure to consider what you’re sacrificing in return. Think long and hard about exactly what you’ll need to do with your computer and what can wait until you get back to your desk.

If you’re on the road then your primary concern should be battery life, especially if you’ll need to get through an entire day on a single charge. You’ll need to trade battery life against weight and processing power. Many slimline devices shed weight by opting for a smaller battery. Meanwhile more powerful processors demand more juice, as do large, bright screens with high resolutions.

If you spend most of your time typing then you definitely want to assess the keyboard, preferably with some hands on time in a store rather than simply looking at photos online. Small computers tend to feature small, cramped keyboards which can slow you down – especially if some of the keys are in unusual locations. You should also consider the size and placement of the trackpad.

Thin devices don’t leave much room for “travel” in the keys, referring to how far they sink down when you press them. It might not sound like a big deal, but keys without much travel don’t tend to feel good under your fingertips. It’s even worse when typing on an onscreen virtual keyboard, where you’re bashing away at a slab of glass which doesn’t have any give.

At the other end of the spectrum, watch out for keyboards which have too much flex. Press down on the ‘h’ key and see if the entire keyboard sinks in the middle like a sponge. The keyboard cases which come with hybrid devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro can have a bit of bounce in them.

After the keyboard you’ll want to think about connectors, as they’re often shed in the pursuit of a slender design. Chances are your portable device won’t come with an optical drive, which probably won’t bother you, but you could also lose the Ethernet port, SD card slot, VGA port and full-sized HDMI port. You might also find yourself needing to make do with fewer USB ports.

These sacrifices might not be deal-breakers if you’re prepared to carry around a few dongles in your travel bag, but think about it upfront rather than discovering the hard way that your new computer is lacking a few features that you need on the road.

Share

Recent News

A question as old as computing itself is should I get a Mac or a PC? Apple even turned that question into a successful series of “Get a Mac” advertisements for many years, comparing Macs versus PCs using actors John Hodgman as PC and Justin Long as Mac. There are many pros and cons for… More 

The launch of the Apple iPhone 11 was, not surprisingly, mostly about the iPhone 11. Well, to be strict, it was about the iPhone 11, which is the entry level model, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, iPhones weren’t the only topics of Apple’s heavy-handed hype at its recent launch… More 

At the IFA trade show in Berlin, I had the opportunity to go hands-on with Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold. Not for quite long enough to write a full review, given I had 45 minutes, but enough time to run through its major features, as well as to spot some of its less than stellar compromises…. More 

We’ve seen a steady increase in the capabilities of Wi-Fi over the past decade, along with a dizzying array of acronyms to go with it. If you’re au fait with the difference between, say, 802.11b and 802.11n, that’s fine — but very few folks actually are. That’s also coincided with an immense growth in the… More