Information on Laptops

By Christine Argier

Laptops have come a long way in the last few decades.
i infinity laptop in the screen of a laptop image by Christophe Fouquin from

Laptops are small personal computers designed to be portable and give you quick access to files outside of the home or workplace. The market for laptops has been steadily growing in popularity since their introduction in 1981. They come in a variety of models and a range of sizes, memory capacities and processor speeds. Most modern laptops contain built-in Wi-Fi adapters that you connect to the Internet wirelessly in many businesses, hotels and restaurants. The appeal of laptop computers continues to rise as the technology improves.


Laptop computers typically have a display, touchpad, keyboard and internal hardware combined into one machine. They contain the same internal hardware components of their larger desktop counterparts but are built on a smaller scale to require less power and conform with portability needs. Smaller laptops offer removable CD and DVD drives that can be connected only when necessary. While laptops have a built-in keyboard and touchpad that acts as the device to control the pointer on the display, some people choose to purchase and use a regular external wireless USB keyboard and mouse. A docking station is a large piece of equipment that expands the ports available and allows connecting multiple input and output devices, expansion slots and external drives.


Owning a laptop provides the benefits of portability, low power consumption and size. Many people with limited home or office space purchase laptops because they are much smaller than desktop computers. Battery-charged laptops can run on battery power alone, which offers great flexibility and allows their use on airplanes, in business meetings or in the classroom.


Because laptop manufacturers must fit the same components into a much smaller space, laptops are more expensive than equivalent desktop computers. Laptops are also much more difficult to upgrade than desktop PCs and, because of their portability, are more likely to be stolen. Owners also run the risk of accidentally dropping their laptop and damaging its internal or external components. The name "laptop" is also sort of a misnomer; typical laptops get too hot to put on your lap and can even cause sterility in males.


The first widely available portable computer was on the market in 1981. Larger and heavier than today's streamlined designs, it nevertheless had a great impact on the manufacture of personal computers. Laptop technology improved throughout the 1990s and resulted in a steady increase in the popularity of laptop computers for both professional and personal use.

Airport Security

Many laptop owners take their computers with them when traveling. The Transportation Security Administration has specific rules in place for laptops at airport security checkpoints. As of Aug. 16, 2008, TSA allows laptops to remain in approved laptop bags when going through security X-ray machines. TSA specifies that laptop bags must not compromise the ability of the X-ray machine to screen the laptop and there may not be any additional items in the bag.