Mini computers and netbooks are making inroads in the world of mobile computing. They are larger and more powerful than smart phones. Yet, the majority of these computers weigh less than a bag of flour. The lower cost makes these computers attractive to many potential users who don't need a power horse. If you want a first or second computer that is lightweight and nimble, there's a mini notebook in your future.
Mini notebooks have pared down the components that desktops and laptops have into smaller packages. Your screen choices range from 8 inches to 12 inches for this category. The average screen size, and the most popular, is around 10 inches.
Despite their smaller dimensions, most mini notebooks have at least two USB ports, along with headphone and microphone jacks. Some come equipped with a Smart card or SD card slot, HMDI connectors, Bluetooth and local area network connections. Internal hard drives range from 60 gigabytes up to more than 200 gigabytes, according to Consumer Search. Often you can choose the hard drive size before purchase. Few of the minis on the market have media drives since this would increase the size and weight. The manufacturers and third party vendors supply a variety of USB DVD drives. You will need to purchase one in order to install software that you can't download.
Like standard laptops, minis use rechargeable lithium batteries. Most have three- or six-cell batteries. Engadget reports that the average battery life for mini notebooks is around two hours. However, PC World reports that at least one Toshiba mini notebook model runs for more than nine hours on a six-cell battery. Although minis use less power than laptops and desktops, your battery life depends on your use. Graphic-intensive software, including games and movies, can result in frequent and faster battery draining.
Netbooks often use the Windows XP, Ubuntu or Linux operating systems. Running Vista or Windows 7 will require much more memory than you usually find in a mini. Few have more than 2 gigabytes of RAM, with most basic netbooks on the market configured with 1 gigabyte. The processor speed and type vary by manufacturer. Intel, Atom and AMD processors are popular choices, offering users a range of power levels.
Don't expect to replace or upgrade many of your mini notebook's components. According to Tom's Hardware, this is one of the lesser-known drawbacks of these machines. You may be able to increase your RAM, battery or hard drive. However, you'll be stuck with whatever else the manufacturer installed for the life of your computer.
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