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Laptops are similar to personal computers except that they comprise an integrated unit. Instead of a separate monitor, the lid contains a screen. The keyboard is built into the base. Usually they make use of a touchpad instead of a mouse. The term notebook computer is often used instead of laptop computer.

The main feature of a laptop is its portability. This is possible, not only because of the reduced size and weight, but also through the use of a built-in battery which is able to power the computer for a few hours without being connected to a mains power supply. Laptops are also designed around low power and smaller devices. For example, laptops use small 2 1/2" hard drives as opposed to the 3 1/2" drives of desktops. In addition, these drives have special components built-in to protect them against movement.

Capacity and speed: These are the same as for personal computers.

Cost: Because of the more expensive components and the smaller market for laptops, these are usually quite a bit more expensive than personal computers. Increased volumes and improvements in manufacturing techniques will bring the price of laptops down in the future.

Typical users: Although the users could be any of those mentioned under personal computers, cost tends to limit the users to those who need portability or who can afford the cost. You would find them most commonly used by people such as managers and journalists. It is quite common to see a laptop and the desk of senior members of staff and personal computers on the desk of staff. This is not always a matter of status but often due to the fact that managers tend to take work home with them.