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Lightweight notebooks, also called ‘sub-notebooks,’ are becoming popular amongst mobile professionals and students. A smaller adaptation of regular laptops, these notebooks are much easier to carry around. Their light weight and small screen size help users gear up for a truly mobile lifestyle.

Essentially, lightweight notebooks can be classified into ultraportables and thin-and-light notebooks. Ultraportable notebooks have a screen size of 25.7 cm (10.1 inches) or 29.5 cm (11.6 inches), compared to thin-and-light notebooks’ 33.8 cm (13.3 inches) or 35.6 cm (14 inches). Weight is below 2 kg, and could be as little as 1 kg.

Lenovo, for instance, has come up with ultra-light notebooks under its ThinkPad X series. Ideal for ‘always-on-the-go’ profestionals, these notebooks weigh as little as 1.12 kg and have up to 12-hour battery life. Price starts from Rs 58,400.

Sony’s YB series notebooks have a 29.5cm display and weigh 1.46 kg. ASUS U36JC weighs 1.4 kg.

Ideal users
A light-weight notebook is a great choice for many, but it may not be the solution for everyone. It usually caters to that segment which is always ‘on the go’ and is in requirement of a wireless portable device. Designed with the needs of the traveler in mind, these notebooks are the perfect choice for businessmen, college students and others who travel frequently. These groups of people specifically look for long battery life, light weight and comfortable size of the notebook, which are neatly met by lightweight notebooks. Also, while not costing a fortune, they give you the benefit of a conventional laptop.

Depending on the specific needs of different users, the basic criteria for selection is as follows:

Students. If you are a student, you need a notebook that can be carried from class to class. So buy one that is small, low-power and affordable (costing Rs 16,000 to Rs 25,000).

Businessmen. Business travellers require a robust computing experience, a sturdy, rugged system to safeguard data, and access to security and management tools to satisfy the requirements of their IT departments. The cost of the notebook is not the prime concern for them.

Frequent travelers. For frequent travellers, the weight, battery life and cost of the notebook are important. Go for a notebook that has a long battery life and can simultaneously assist you in travelling light and safe.

Performance vis-à-vis regular laptop
A lightweight notebook is a balance between battery backup, mobility and performance. Because of smaller screen size, the battery consumption is lower and hence battery backup is longer (usually, six to seven hours) than a regular laptop. Some notebooks can have a battery life of up to ten hours.

Lightweight notebooks used to be costly earlier due to the fact that all key parts had to determine two major issues: size and thermal heat. Balancing both attracted higher costs. These issues were resolved by adopting a new low-voltage CPU which had lower power consumption and allowed manufacturers to design the notebook lighter with longer battery backup life.

There is no compromise on the performance. Acer’s 35.6cm Aspire timelineX 4820T is ultra-thin with less than 2.5cm thickness at the slimmest point and comes with an optical drive and Dolby certified speakers to give complete multimedia experience.

However, on a 25.7cm or 29.5cm notebook, optical disk drive is not available because of the small form factor. Also, it may not accommodate USB thumb drives.

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Acer Aspire TimelineX (AS4820TG)

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Features
• CPU: Intel Core i5-480M processor (3 MB L3 cache, 2.63GHz)
• ATI 1GB dedicated graphics
• Hard Drive: 500 GB
• Memory: 3GB DDR3 RAM-1066 Mhz
• Display: 35.6cm (14-inch) HD
• Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium
• Battery Life: 8 Hours
• Others: DVD Writer, 1.3-megapixel webcam, three USB ports, Dolby Stereo speakers

Price: Rs 44,499


Apple MacBook Air MC503LL/A

Features
• CPU: 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 6MB shared L2 cache, 1066MHz system bus
• Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256 MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
• Storage: 128 GB of ἀash storage
• Memory: 2 GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard (4GB maximum)
• Display: 33.8cm (13.3-inch) diagonal, LED-backlit glossy widescreen, 1440×900 resolution
• Dimensions: 32.5×22.7x(0.3-1.7) cm3
• Weight: 1.32 kg
• Others: Optional external USB MacBook Air SuperDrive (sold separately), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) wireless technology, FaceTime camera, Mini DisplayPort output port with support for DVI, VGA, dual-link DVI and HDMI (requires adaptors, sold separately)

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Price: Starts at Rs 79,900

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