Computer technology is changing rapidly, particularly for portable laptops. With everything going on with technology, it's easy to get lost in a sea of features and options, but help is on the way. The first thing you need to think of when choosing a laptop is what you'll be using it for. If you plan to use your laptop mainly for travel, you're probably looking for an ultraportable laptop. This is the smallest type of laptop. They're generally not as powerful as the larger models, but the travel easy and are very convenient. However, before you buy, there are a few things you should consider.
While a smaller size is much easier to travel with, it also comes with some disadvantages. In general, the smaller the laptop, the easier it's going to break if it is dropped or smashed into something. However, this is less of a problem if you get an extended warranty. I have a larger laptop, but I carry it around a lot. I've had my laptop less than a year and can tell you that the extended warranty has been well worth the money. I also recommend that you see and feel a laptop before you buy it to determine how sturdy it is, especially if you're prone to dropping, banging, or stepping on things. If you can't visit a store and see the model, try to find a friend with a similar machine, or at the least, check online reviews for comments.
Another factor that can be a challenge with decreasing size is the usability of the keyboard and touchpad (or other mouse alternatives). Key can be small and very smushed on some ultracompacts, and it is best to find one that fits your hand size and other preferences. If you're going to be using it home as well as on the road, consider getting an external keyboard. They're much easier to type on than itty bitty keyboards, but you always have the option of not toting them along when you don't have the space. There are also portable wireless mice made just for people who like to travel, but don't like touchpads.
Another consideration when buying an ultracompact laptop is attaching accessories like printers and scanners. Many of these computers are so small they cannot fit the normal port to attach this equipment and will require an adapter. While not hard to use, they are one more thing to carry and remember, so you should be sure to check out what kind of adapters may be needed before making your purchase.
When choosing an ultracompact laptop, you need to realize that the weight on the product listing probably isn't the weight you're going to be carrying. I've already mentioned that you may need to bring adapters, but you also have the power cable and ac adapter (you may want to buy an extra more portable one). While many new systems have them included, some ultracompacts are made without an optical drive, so if you need one, that adds even more weight. I also already mentioned that you may want to have an external keyboard and mouse, which again will add to the carrying weight. Also, smaller computers tend to have smaller, lighter batteries, which don't last as long, so you may need to get a heavier battery or carry an extra. As you can see, this weight tends to add up, so when you're looking at systems, you may want to go for the slightly larger model if it will require less extra weight to be carried with it. This also means that, once you have everything packed up, small weight differences make very little difference in your total carrying weight. If you like a particular model, but it's half a pound heavier, remember that the difference between 10 and 10.5 pounds really isn't that big. Also, remember to get a case that can fit everything you need not just the computer.
As with all computers, there's a lot to think about and consider when buying an ultracompact laptop. Be sure to look at all your options to make the best choice for you.