To Buy or Not to Buy -- Mini Laptops

When I was in high school, I wanted my own computer. If this seems odd to you, please bear in mind that not everyone grew up in the techno-happening world that we now live in! In fact, it was during my youth and high school days that the internet was shaping into what it now is, so social media was nowhere near what a current high school student would know.

For me way back in those before-times, I couldn’t swing the $1000 I estimated for a computer price. It wasn’t until I got a scholarship that I was able to afford the computer that would help me through my college days, and I remember that computer—which was probably the cheapest desktop the store had—was about $750. And this, to me, was a deal!

As time passed though, I grew a bit tired of having to sit at my desk all the time to tend to my computer life, so like many other people, I decided to try a laptop. I liked the process so well that even though I tend to go through a laptop every year or so (hey, I drop things!), I still stick with one as my primary computer.

But as the years have continued to pass, I’ve found myself considering a new option, and that’s a mini laptop. I love the fun-sized concept and the bright colors that I can get with one, but before making a purchase like this, my grown-up mind tells me that it’s best to do my research rather than cave into my childish “I like—I want!” mentality. You’re welcome to join me as I consider the pros and cons of mini laptops to decide if buying one is worth the cost!

Pros.

The most intriguing element of a mini laptop is found in its name: it’s mini. Just as a laptop was an intriguing concept because I could carry it around my living space, this mini takes that prospect and elevates it due to its smaller size. Simply put, a mini laptop can fit more places than a regular laptop would, so in regard to comfort in carrying it from place to place, this option feels sound.

This concept is really beneficial for those of us who feel a bit awkward carrying around a larger bag that’s for nothing other than a laptop. I mean, yes, you could carry around your mini in a bag as well, but with a smaller size, you could feasibly pass off the bag as a standard purse rather than a more beach-tote kind of thing.

Another great thing about this extra smallness is that you can more easily carry it with you in tighter or more regulated areas. You can sit in a business meaning or classroom with this computer in front of you and take up less of your general area of space, which is something that the people sitting next to you might appreciate. It’s less room you have to demand for your computer, meaning less room you’re insisting your desk-neighbors can’t have. For you and the people sitting next to you then, this is a great option!

Remember as well that, overall, mini laptops can be purchased at a lower price than a regular laptop. This cost difference could be a larger gap or a smaller one, depending on what regular laptop you were going to buy and what mini you decide on—remember that computer prices can vary based on brand, hardware, and status (like if it’s refurbished)—but even if you’re only saving $50-$100, this is a save worth mentioning. Essentially, you could put the extra money on your vacation fund, then carry along this smaller laptop for the trip with more ease than a regular laptop would have provided you.

Cons.

Ironically, one of the cons for buying a mini laptop is the same as one of the pros: they’re smaller. While this quality allows them to be carried from place to place in a more comfortable manner, note that mini laptop screens can be considerably smaller than a regular laptop’s (AnneMorgan, 2015). No doubt, this makes finding ways to carry them easier for the on-the-go worker, but let’s be honest. Some screens are just plain small, which can make it so the person using the mini laptop has to strain to see what’s on the screen. If you have vision problems, this fault is something to fully think over since it does you no good to buy a computer for its ease of transport only to find that once you’ve comfortably gotten it where it needs to go, you can’t even see what’s on the screen.

Also, certain programs can require certain screen sizes, so you might find that a program you need for school or work won’t show correctly on smaller screens, which is definitely something to consider.

Additionally, this smaller size makes for some technological problems. For instance, mini laptops often run slower than regular laptops, have a lower amount of storage possibilities, and overall have less impressive hardware (Martin, 2009). Even if you don’t understand the lingo well enough to know if the RAM is good or bad on the mini laptop, you still might notice if you have to wait extra seconds for Microsoft Word to open or a website to load. Even though mini laptops are convenient for carriage then, they do come with some inconvenient qualities in this regard.

Mini laptops also don’t come with a CD drive, which may or may not be something that sways you in whether or not to buy one. In this day and age, you could argue that the need for CD drives has gone the way of the dodo since you can use a flash drive for storing your information, stream movies online, listen to music on an mp3 player, and play games on your Steam account (assuming it’s a game that your smaller laptop will run).

If you’re an old-school person like me though, that CD drive is something that proves pretty miss-worthy. I like being able to burn pictures I’ve taken to discs and pop in my Elvis Presley CD for a listen. Luckily for those who are stuck in the past this way, external CD drives are available that you can plug into your computer. Granted, they look awful and out of place once you hook them into the laptop, and said laptops certainly are not as convenient with the awkward extension hanging from them. Still, if you find you just can’t turn loose of CD drives, but really want that mini laptop, temporarily dealing with the eyesore awkwardness is a fix that allows you to keep the best of both worlds.

One final thought in regard to cons is something that is the case for any kind of laptop. Basically, it’s a burden we stepped into when we stepped away from more stationary desktops, and that disadvantage revolves around battery life.

It’s great to be able to pull out your laptop and work on that school or work project while you wait for your car to be repaired, which is kind of why portable computers are so enticing. Remember, though, that these portable options can only last so long without being charged, so for longer periods away from your power cord or a power supply, you might find that you just don’t have the juice to keep your computer going. A long road trip, for instance, might have you running out of battery life before you finish your latest project, but remember that for the most part, there are options for recharging your battery nearby. For that road trip, for instance, you can buy a power inverter that allows you to charge your computer right in your car. As well, that mechanic’s shop will probably have outlets for plug-in prospects, and so will many of the locations where you plan to use your computer.

Overall

I’d say the best way to decide if a mini laptop is right for you is to decide what you’re going to be using it for. Someone who’s really into gaming, as an example, might find that minis just can’t afford them the right requirements for games to run correctly.

For me, though, I typically use Word and the internet on my computer, and so long as I’m willing to allow for that extra handful of seconds for the computer to work, I think investing in a mini would be a good option. As much as I’ve hauled my not-mini one around and with the ability to plug in an external CD drive, added in with the lower cost, a mini laptop seems a like a sensible thing to put on my to-buy list.

References

AnnMorgan. (2014, March 30). A Mini Laptop vs a Regular Laptop. HubPages . Retrieved from https://hubpages.com/technology/minilaptop

Martin, L. (2009, August 1). Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Mini Laptops. EzineArticles . Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Advantages-and-Disadvant...

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