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Selecting a Mini Laptop computer – A Guidelines

Choosing a Mini Laptop – A Checklist

Mini Laptops are perfect for students, travelers and just about anyone who wants a light, portable laptop. Once you have determined that a mini laptop, also known as a netbook, suits your needs you will need to decide which model is right for you. While they all share some common characteristics; screen size between 8.9 and 10.2 inches, light weight and small form factor, there are some differences.

Screen Size: Most mini laptops have a screen that is either 8.9 or 10.2 inches.

Pro: The benefit of a larger screen is that it increases readability.

Con: The increased screen size increases the weight of the laptop and potentially decreases battery life. It also increases the overall size of the laptop.

Hard Drive (Storage): Mini laptops are available with either a solid state drive that uses memory chips or a traditional hard drive with platters and a read/write head.

Pro: Solid State Drives are typically faster because there is no read/write head to move and less likely to fail, again due to the lack of moving parts.

Con: Solid State Drives for laptops are currently available in sizes ranging from 8GB to 64GB. This is small in comparison to the standard 160GB hard drive.

If you choose a mini laptop with a solid state drive you can use an external usb drive for additional storage and backup.

Operating System: Windows XP or Linux

Pro: The benefit of Linux is that it requires significantly less space on the hard drive and is faster.

Con: Programs designed for Windows, which are most programs in the consumer market, do not run on Linux.

While programs such as OpenOffice, a free Office suite similar to Microsoft Office, have Linux versions, unless you are a technical user who likes to tweak things to make them work it’s best to purchase a mini laptop with Microsoft XP installed.

Battery: 4 cell or 6 cell

Pro: 6 cell batteries typically have a longer battery life than 4 cell batteries.

Con: 6 cell batteries weigh slightly more and are more expensive.

Unless you are going to keep your laptop plugged in all the time or your budget simply can’t stretch any further, select a mini laptop with a 6 cell battery.

Once you have found a laptop with your desired screen size, hard drive, operating system and battery it’s important to determine if you would prefer a mini laptop with the newer Wireless N and if integrated Bluetooth is important to you. Keep in mind that Wireless N is backward compatible with Wireless B/G. If your desired laptop does not include integrated Bluetooth be aware that low cost Bluetooth adapters are widely available. The last decision is color. Some models of mini laptops are available in various colors such as black, blue, pink, green, red and more.

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