Netbook or laptop? Evaluate
your needs before you buy.
How about one of each?
Road warriors Costco offers hot computers for the jet set
PHOTOS BY FRANCE FREEMAN
Pat Volchok gives a
at Costco products and
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NETBOOKS AND LAPTOPS are born to be wild,
allowing you the freedom to head out on the highway,
lookin’ for adventure and whatever comes your way.
But how do you choose the best one for your
needs? I sat down with Costco’s computer gurus to
hear about the latest features, talk prices and get tips
about what works best, whether it’s on the road or
around the house as a second computer. Here’s what I
learned, which may help you make the right decision
when buying your own road-taming computer.
Laptops: The power beasts
Laptops integrate most of the typical components
of a stationary desktop model, with a large display,
full-size keyboard, touchpad and speakers—plus
the added pleasure of effortless mobility. In essence,
they are the briefcases of the 21st century.
Small and light enough to sit on a person’s lap
(as in lap plus top), laptops offer screens ranging
from 13. 3 to 18. 4 inches (measured diagonally), and
the devices weigh from slightly less than 4 to more
than 10 pounds.
62 ;e Costco Connection JULY 2010
Storage space and speed
Most laptops sold at Costco come with at least 4
gigabytes (GB) of random-access memory (RAM).
This is important: The more RAM, the more applications you can run efficiently at once.
Another key feature is the hard drive. Laptop
hard drives store as much as 1 terabyte (TB) of
data. The larger the drive, the more songs, movies,
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software, games, videos, etc. you can keep on your
You’ll also find the latest powerful, desktop-level processors in laptops. These include dual- or
quad-core processors and the latest processors from
Intel, the Core series.
So, who needs a laptop? If you’re into serious
photo and video editing while traveling, you need a
laptop. If you’re a student whose whole life is in the
computer, you are wise to own one. If you make big
presentations at clients’ offices or if you’re working
on your master’s degree while traveling for work, a
laptop is money well spent.
You’ll typically pay more for a laptop than a netbook, though there is some crossover in prices. On
the market, laptops range in price from just under
$500 for an entry-level model to more than $2,000.
Netbooks: Computing gone light
On the other hand, for those lighter, less complicated times in your life when all you want is some
social networking and staying connected via e-mail,
You Tube, Facebook, instant messaging (IM) and/or
blog postings; shopping the Web; or using Web-based applications such as Evernote (a handy program that lets you save notes and ideas), a netbook
is right up your alley.
Its charm lies in its petite frame (be aware that
screen sizes and keyboards are smaller than other
computers), trouble-free nature, long battery
life and affordability. Part planner and part personal