Portable computing devices – first it was the laptop, followed by the smart phone. Now the latest addition to the party is a subclass of laptop popularly termed the “netbook”. When it comes to keeping your office in the palm of your hand, your options are expanding. But how do you determine which device is right for you?
- Laptops –computers that can be carried
- The Good: Laptops can handle your complex computing tasks involving document editing and multimedia manipulation.
- The Bad: Full-sized laptops are the least convenient and most expensive portable solution. Requiring its own carry case means one more bag to tag.
- Best Solution If: You simply have to do it all; you are looking to edit video or image files while on the move.
- Smart Phones –portable internet and email… and oh yes, it’s a phone too
- The Good: Smart phones are ideal for simple document viewing and editing, basic email and some internet tasks such as checking stock quotes. They are very portable.
- The Bad: Small screen size on almost all smart phones makes cumbersome work of more complex tasks like document editing, composing long emails and involved multimedia manipulation. Phones lack the processing power of laptops. Phones often come with confusing non-standard or touch-screen keyboards and don’t forget that phone services are not available everywhere.
- Best Solution If: You have to keep up with email, Facebook and Twitter wherever you go; you love everything trendy.
- Netbooks –internet-ready computer, the size of a paperback
- The Good: Netbooks have QWERTY keyboards and screens no smaller than 7”. This allows for easier completion of complex document editing, all email and internet tasks, and some streaming of video. Most are more than capable of running the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Typically netbooks come loaded with Windows XP, though there are some that come with a version of the open source operating system Linux. Verizon currently has kiosks in store to allow users to try out their new HP netbooks with Cellular connection.
- All come with built in wireless cards, some with cell phone cards. Netbooks usually weigh less than 3 pounds and are comparably priced to smart phones.
- The Bad: The lack of processing power limits your ability to do the most complex multimedia tasks like editing audio, video or large photo files. The screen and keyboard is smaller than on a laptop. Battery life is typically in the range of 3 hours – some netbooks support larger batteries for a fee – though these still fall short of smart phone battery life.
- Best Solution If: You’re taking a short business trip. Perfect for popping off detailed emails and documents for that upcoming presentation.
Staying connected is increasingly important. Hopefully this information helps you decide which portable computing option is ideal for your situation. If you’re headed to the beach though, do yourself a favor and leave the office at home!