Types of Computers
Computers come in many different forms, shapes and sizes. Those we are all familiar with and use more or less on a daily basis can be divided into the following categories or types:
- Personal computer (PC). Also referred to as microcomputers, PCs encompass all computers that are intended for the commercial market. However, after the introduction of the types mentioned below, the term personal computer or PC came to be understood as a synonym for desktop computers. But only for those that are running Microsoft Windows. Mac - Apple’s desktop computer - is referred to as Mac.
No matter if running Windows, OS X, Linux or any other operating system, all PCs are designed to be used as stationary computers, that is at a single place. In comparison to their mobile counterparts, PCs offer more power and usability, and lower cost. The majority consist of a computer monitor, mouse, keyboard and case (also referred to as base unit and system unit) but there are also all-in-one versions with the system unit and monitor as a single component.
Laptop (notebook). It is a portable personal computer with computer monitor, system unit, keyboard, pointing stick/touchpad and rechargeable battery in a single unit. The majority of the latest models also include various useful features and are much lighter, thinner and practical than the early versions from the 1970s and 1980s.
Netbook. It can be described as a miniature version of a laptop. It has basically the same configuration and features as its larger “brother” with the difference that it is much lighter and smaller in size. At least that was the concept when introduced in 2007. Each year, it has been growing bigger and bigger, more and more resembling regular laptops. The main advantage of netbook is its small size and lightweight as well as relatively low cost. However, in the recent years it lost popularity to even smaller, lighter and more portable tablets.
Tablet. The latest in the family of personal computers was introduced in 2010 when Apple launched iPad. As mentioned above, it is even a smaller, lighter and more portable than netbook because keyboard and mouse are replaced by touchscreen. However, there are also models with physical keyboard that offer the convenience of the tablet and functionality of the laptop/netbook.
Other. Devices that can be categorised as a type of personal computer also include personal digital assistants (PDAs), palmtop computers, smartbooks, smartphones, game consoles and programmable calculators.