Understanding Todays Notebook Laptop Computer Offerings

Buying a new computer can be confusing. There are so many form factors and device types that it can be hard to keep them all straight. If you’re confused or overwhelmed, it’s OK: you’re not alone.
Understanding what a notebook or laptop computer is (and isn’t) is an important first step in the buying journey.

What Is a Notebook Laptop Computer?

A notebook laptop computer is any computer that is small enough to be held on your lap and that folds up flat, kind of like a physical notebook. To be considered a notebook or laptop, a device needs to have a screen, a keyboard, and a pointing device or trackpad.
While there are some unusual designs out there that buck the trend, nearly all laptops have a screen that’s on a hinge connected to the device body. The body, which sits flat on your desk or your lap, contains the keyboard, trackpad, and most of the internal components.
Most of the time, the terms notebook and laptop mean exactly the same thing. They simply refer to portable all-in-one computers, distinguished from larger machines that aren’t meant to be portable and usually aren’t all-in-one.
On the consumer front, the only real computer alternative to a laptop is a desktop. Desktops take up more space and aren’t very portable. Most require an external monitor to use at all. However, desktops do tend to be more powerful and are sometimes more affordable than laptops.
The tablet is another device type that can do many of the same things as a laptop. However, tablets don’t come with built-in keyboards and trackpads. Tablets always have touchscreens. Some laptops do, too, but many rely on the keyboard and mouse or trackpad instead.

Types of Notebooks

If you decide a notebook computer is right for you, the next step is to decide which type of notebook you need. Below are some of the most common types.


The ultrabook ditched the physical CD/DVD drive for a slimmer design and a longer-lasting battery. These days, you can hardly find a notebook with an internal disc drive, so the term ultrabook is becoming less common.
Most basic laptops today are slim, lack a disc drive, and have decent battery life. They meet all the criteria to be called an ultrabook. But because these features have become standard, you won’t see this term as often.

2-in-1 Notebook or Convertible Notebook Laptop

Conventional laptops open to something like 120 degrees or so, and that’s it. Push the screen back any farther, and you risk breaking the device. 2-in-1 or convertible notebooks are different. They are designed with a wraparound hinge and can be used in multiple ways.
You can use it like a normal laptop with a keyboard and trackpad. You can also fold the screen all the way back, flat against the back of the base to switch it into touch-based tablet mode.
Many 2-in-1s also work in tented or “reverse laptop” mode. That’s where you use the body of the device to prop up the tablet-mode screen.
2-in-1s are attractive and interesting, but some of them don’t perform particularly well as a laptop and are still too bulky to make a good tablet. Do your research before committing to this category, or go with highly praised models like the HP Envy x360 13 or the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

Gaming Laptop

Most laptops trade performance for size and battery life. But who says you can’t have it all? If you want to do serious PC gaming on the go, choose a gaming laptop. Performance is incredible, but gaming laptops tend to be bulky and have terrible battery life.


Most notebooks are PCs that run Windows. If you want a lighter-weight experience, Chromebook is a nice alternative. Chromebooks run ChromeOS, which is mostly cloud-based. If you’re not a heavy computer user and you like Android and Google’s other products, you may enjoy the Chromebook experience.


MacBooks are powerful, attractive and expensive. Popular among the creative crowd and those already invested in the Apple ecosystem, they are great notebooks. For the average user, though, the price premium may not be worth it.

Should You Get a Notebook, Laptop Computer or Something Else?

Most casual users will enjoy the process of working on a laptop or notebook computer. But it’s not the best choice for everyone. If you’re never typing long documents and rarely rely on a physical keyboard, a tablet might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you don’t need mobility and prefer more power to your computing, a desktop would serve you better.
But for many average and casual users, a notebook computer is the perfect sweet spot between portability and performance.

Trust Upsie for Your Extended Warranty Needs

If you’re about to buy a new notebook laptop computer, consider protecting your investment, whichever kind you go with. An extended laptop warranty from Upsie protects you from defects, failure and even accidental damage beyond what your manufacturer warranty will cover.
Choose from two or three years of extended coverage, including accident protection. The warranty price is affordable and transparent, based on the cost of the device you’re protecting.
If you need to make a claim, you pay a small $25 deductible, and Upsie covers the repair or replacement of your device. It’s that simple. So don’t wait — get your Upsie warranty today.

Learn More About Laptop Warranties:

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.