1 of 3
What is a Laptop Computer?
A laptop is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer that can be easily carried and used in a variety of locations. Many laptops are designed to have all of the functionality of a desktop computer, which means they can generally run the same software and open the same types of files. However, some laptops, such as netbooks, sacrifice some functionality in order to be even more portable.
Watch the video to learn about the basic parts of a laptop computer.
How is a Laptop Different From a Desktop?
Since laptops are designed for portability, there are some important differences between them and desktop computers. A laptop has an all-in-one design, with a built-in monitor, keyboard, touchpad (which replaces the mouse), and speakers. That means it is fully functional even when there are no peripherals attached to it. A laptop is quicker to set up, and there are fewer cables to get in the way.
You also have the option of connecting a regular mouse, a larger monitor, and other peripherals. This basically turns your laptop into a desktop computer, with one main difference: You can easily disconnect the peripherals and take the laptop with you wherever you go.
Here are the main differences that you can expect with a laptop:
A touchpad on a laptop
An AC adapter plugged into a laptop
- Touchpad: A touchpad (also called a trackpad) is a touch-sensitive pad that lets you control the pointer by making a "drawing" motion with your finger. Many touchpads now include multi-touch gestures, which allow you to perform specific tasks by making gestures with more than one finger. For example, a pinch gesture is often used to zoom in or out.
- Battery: Every laptop has a battery, which allows you to use the laptop when it's not plugged in. Whenever you plug the laptop in, the battery recharges. Another benefit of having a battery is that it can provide backup power to the laptop if the power goes out.
- AC Adapter: A laptop usually has a specialized power cable called an AC adapter, which is designed to be used with that particular kind of laptop. Some of these cables use magnetic MagSafe connectors that will safely pull out if someone trips over the power cable. This helps to prevent damage to the cable and the laptop.
- Ports: Most laptops have the same types of ports that desktop computers have (such as USB), although they usually have fewer ports to save space. However, some ports may be different, and you may need an adapter in order to use them. For example, the monitor port is often a Mini DisplayPort, which is a smaller version of the normal DisplayPort.
Since some ports have a similar appearance, you may need to consult your manual to determine what types of ports your laptop has.