Laptops — Macbooks and Windows – Hillsboro Times Gazette

Last week we wrapped up our journey into making a smart home with a survey of some of the less common smart devices. I hope you have a good handle on the range of available devices and the terms you’ll need to understand to “smarten” your home.

This week I’ll begin to break down the pros and cons of various laptops and laptop replacements (iPads anyone?). I’ve owned and used all of these alternatives over the years and I have my preferences, but it’s based on how I use them. You may have a completely different take on things. So, I’ll do my best to present an honest, unbiased survey in hopes that it will help you make the right decision for you.

I’ll start with some things that are common to most laptops — screen size, aspect ratio, processor and storage as well as some tips as to size, weight and keyboard.

Screen size applies to all these devices and is very much a personal choice. I prefer a smaller screen simply because it reduces the overall size and weight of the laptop. I find 13-inch to be just about perfect for the laptop I use on a daily basis. I have laptops with smaller screens, but they tend to be devices that are for casual use — browsing the Internet, Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, etc. You might prefer a 14-, 15- or even a 17-inch screen so it’s important that you visit a retail store and try them out. A larger screen generally will give you the ability to make the things on the screen larger without necessarily losing a lot of context. But it also means a larger and heavier laptop so if you plan to move your laptop around or take it with you when you leave the house, please take that into consideration. If you find a screen size you like, visit a retail store and try picking the device up and see how you feel about the weight and size.

Now, display size and aspect ratio. Display size is, like keyboards, a personal issue. You might prefer a 14- or 15- or even a 17-inch screen. But remember that the bigger they are the heavier they’ll be. Aspect ratio is the ratio of width to height. You’ll typically see 16:9 and 3:2. I prefer 3:2 because those displays are taller than the equivalent 16:9 displays of the same size, and I want more vertical space on my display so I can see more of the thing I’m viewing.

You should know that 16:9 is the ratio for most current TVs. Your 55-inch HD TV screen, for instance, is probably roughly 48 inches wide and 27 inches tall (16 x 9) so if you plan to watch a lot of streaming videos, you might consider a 16:9 display. A 3:2 display will likely have black bars at the top and bottom of the video so it fits on your screen. But, when it comes to displays where I’m primarily viewing text, a 13-inch 3:2 display is narrower by about half an inch but taller by almost an inch than a 13-inch 16:9 monitor.

All Macbooks are what’s called a “clamshell” (a device with a hinged cover that must be opened to be used). Other laptops can take several different forms. There are “detachables” where the display and keyboard can detach from each other. Without the keyboard, you will see an on-screen keyboard, not unlike what you see on your phone, and you can use the …….


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