Computers 101 – Laptops

The last post in this series discussed peripherals that you can use with your computer to add extra functions. Today, we’re going to talk about the components that make up a laptop computer. Many of the components we’ve previously discussed carry over, so we won’t spend a lot of time here.

What is a Laptop?

Laptop Computer

A laptop is a portable computer that has a keyboard, touchpad, monitor, and battery built in so it can be used on-the-go. Modern laptops are as powerful as a desktop computer and can run the same software and perform the same tasks.

How are Laptops and Desktops different?

Laptops and desktops are very similar in their function but laptops are portable and desktops are not. Historically, a laptop is more expensive than a desktop but in recent years, the price of laptops has dropped dramatically. Laptops are similar to an all-in-one computer in that all of the components (screen, keyboard, speakers, etc.) are contained within a single case. Laptops have the ability to function with no other peripherals connected to them. However, you can connect various peripherals to your computer like an external mouse, a larger display, or even a speaker system.

Main Laptop Components


Laptops have a battery built into them so they can be used while they are not plugged into an outlet. This allows you to use the Laptop on the go or in a variety of situations. You do need to recharge the battery using an AC charger.


Power Adapter

Laptops use a special power cable called an AC adapter to charge the internal battery and provide power to the various components. Different laptops use different chargers so it’s not a “one size fits all” type of component. However, you can buy aftermarket universal AC chargers that include several different adapters that are compatible with most of the major laptop manufacturers.


Laptops have the same types of ports that you would find on a desktop computer, but in fewer numbers. A desktop computer might have 8 USB Ports, but a laptop might only have 3. This is to save space and keep the cost down


We discussed touchpads in a previous lesson, but in summary, the touchpad is a touch-sensitive pad on your computer that lets you control the pointer by moving your “drawing” on the pad with your finger.


Stay tuned for our next lesson: Tablets and Other Mobile Devices


Thanks for joining us through these lessons. Our philosophy is that technology shouldn’t be difficult. Our goal is to help you understand technology better and educational guides like these are one way that we can help educate on the different forms of technology. If you have a suggestion for a topic for a future guide, please Contact Us.


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