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Chapter 1. Savvy Consumer Guide to Buyin... > Desktop or Notebook? - Pg. 3

Savvy Consumer Guide to Buying a Computer 3 Desktop or Notebook? The decision of whether you should buy a notebook computer boils down to one main question: Is it worth double the money to be able to carry your computer on a plane or to your favorite cafe? That's at least how much extra a notebook computer costs over a comparably equipped desktop model. Here are some other drawbacks to notebook computers: · · · · · · · The keyboard's dinky and if you spill something on it, you risk ruining the entire system. The screen is dinky (and if you want a bigger screen, it's going to cost big bucks). The CD-ROM drive is as fragile as a crystal wine glass. The speakers and microphone are lousy. The mouse is not included (although you can connect a mouse). It's tough to upgrade (on most notebooks, adding a hard drive or memory is a pain). They're hot (at least mine is). The Pentium 4 processor, which puts out a lot of heat, is right under the heel of my hand. That's what I get for not trying the system before buying it. · They're really easy to steal (not that I've ever stolen one). So, why would anyone even consider buying a notebook? Here are several good reasons: · Because you have to. (If you need to work on the road, you don't have a choice.) · Because you want to. (You can work and play anywhere.) · You have lots of money and you want to look cool. You might even have enough money to buy a docking station so you can connect your notebook computer to a real monitor, keyboard, and speakers. (A docking station is a unit that contains receptacles for full-screen monitor, a printer, a keyboard, a mouse, additional drives, and other devices. You slide the notebook computer into the docking station to connect it to all the devices that are plugged into the docking station.) Techno Talk Laptop computers got their name by being small enough to sit on your lap. Notebooks are small enough to fit in a briefcase (if you don't need to stick anything else in the briefcase) and weigh in at less than six pounds. Subnotebooks are even smaller and lighter. In this book, I use "laptop" and "notebook" inter- changeably. · Your desk is already too cluttered. · It's easy to add stuff. (Although adding a hard drive or memory is tough, PC card slots make it easy to add a modem, network card, or other peripherals.) So, what have you decided? Notebook or desktop? Once you've made that decision, you've nar- rowed the field quite a bit. You're ready to move on to some real issues.