A good hardware product needs to combine form and functionality in a package that solves a real-world problem. The final ingredient, of course, is pricing. Get the mix right, and market success beckons. The marriage of design, features and price is particularly important in business notebooks, because these are devices that are used and transported day in, day out by professionals.
There are a number of notebook usage modes, and as these become more challenging, so do the design trade-offs involved. For instance, how far can the size and weight of a notebook be reduced in pursuit of portability before the screen and keyboard become too small and the battery too underpowered to be of real use to mobile professionals? This is where clever design (modular notebooks with expansion 'slices' for example) and technological advances (low-power displays, more efficient batteries) can really make a difference. Sometimes, though, the cunning packaging of existing technology at a compelling price point is enough to open up new markets: the rise of the small, low-cost, 'netbook' over the past year or so is a classic example.
This guide describes today's main notebook usage modes, and notes the features that are most important in each category. If you're looking to buy a notebook — or a fleet of notebooks — for business, be sure to check out our recommendations before spending your budget.
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