A laptop computer, sometimes called a notebook computer by manufacturers, is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer generally smaller than a briefcase that can easily be transported and conveniently used in temporary spaces such as on airplanes, in libraries, temporary offices, and at meetings. A laptop typically weighs less than 5 pounds and is 3 inches or less in thickness. Among the best-known makers of laptop computers are IBM, Apple, Compaq, Dell, and Toshiba.
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Laptop computers generally cost more than desktop computers with the same capabilities because they are more difficult to design and manufacture. A laptop can effectively be turned into a desktop computer with a docking station, a hardware frame that supplies connections for peripheral input/output devices such as a printer or larger monitor. The less capable port replicator allows you to connect a laptop to a number of peripherals through a single plug.
Laptops usually come with displays that use thin-screen technology. The thin film transistor or active matrix screen is brighter and views better at different angles than the STN or dual-scan screen. Laptops use several different approaches for integrating a mouse into the keyboard, including the touch pad, the trackball, and the pointing stick. A serial port also allows a regular mouse to be attached. The PC Card is insertable hardware for adding a modem or network interface card to a laptop. CD-ROM and digital versatile disc drives may be built-in or attachable.