Laptop Expansion Ports - Buyers Guide
Buying guide to laptop expansion ports.
- 3+ USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, 1 Firewire
- Media Card Reader
- HDMI Output
the deal with laptop expansion?
ports in a nutshell are all the various connections on your laptop
computer case that allow you to plug in various external components
such as a mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers, network connection,
wireless card, etc.
Laptop expansion ports
don't change all too often but there are in fact things to consider
when purchasing a laptop computer like amount or type of ports, etc.
too complicated here but it is great to be informed of what
exactly is out there in the mobile universe at the given moment for
technology does change often and computer manufacturers are introducing
new features on their laptops all the time.
most likely heard of USB, right? It is in fact one of the most
recognized laptop expansion ports out there. And thanks to USB's
flexibility and speed mobile computers today even have similar
connectivity to full featured desktop systems.
of the newest laptop expansion ports out there which we are going to
detail is called an ExpressCard slot, and another slightly newer
inclusion on laptops is what's called an HDMI high definition video
output. Other than these two refreshes to laptop expansion ports things
haven't changed too much.
Ok, so much for the
introduction let's get down to the details.
Out of all the laptop expansion ports USB is the most widely used and
known. USB ports are used for connecting many types of devices to your
laptop computer such as keyboards or mice, flash memory sticks, digital
cameras, and even monitors these days among many other things. For
devices that do not have their own power, USB ports even provide a
small amount of electricity for various low power demand devices such
as a mouse or flash memory stick for example. When looking at laptops
we recommend 3 or more USB ports and 2 as a minimum.
expansion slot that has replaced the PC-Card/PCMCIA card in new laptop
computers. The ExpressCard slot is much faster than older slots
allowing it to keep pace with today's digital demands. The ExpressCard
slot is the largest expansion slot on the laptop and it is used for
devices such as cellular broadband cards, digital memory card adapters,
and network cards among other things.
inclusion on many newer laptop computers, High-Definition Multimedia
Interface (HDMI) is a compact digital audio/video connector that is
popular in entertainment equipment such as High-Definition LCD or
plasma TV's, and HD-DVD or BlueRay players among other high-tech
devices. With an HDMI port you can pretty much connect your laptop to
any high-end HDTV plasma or LCD with ease.
Firewire/IEEE 1394 port:
Firewire is similar to USB yet very different on a technical level.
Firewire used to in fact be the mainstream laptop expansion ports on
Apple computers because USB at the time was much slower.
Firewire is an
inclusion on pretty much any laptop these days and it is primarily used
for digital camcorders. The speed increase and usage of fast USB 2.0 is
however on many digital camcorders these days but Firewire is still
great to have built-in if ever needed.
Memory Card Reader:
on most new laptops that allows you to pretty much plug in any digital
camera memory card out there including SD, XD, Sony Memory Stick, and
others. Many newer laptops allow you to plug in 8 or more types of
memory cards even.
DVI is a
digital video connector that is on some laptops. It is used primarily
to connect your laptop to a monitor or HD TV among other display
connection used to connect a laptop to any analog monitor or LCD TV.
Unlike newer HDMI or DVI connections VGA is not digital, it has also
been a standard video connector for decades. Because of this you can
find VGA connectors on almost any display device thus making it a nice
addition to any laptop. They are pretty standard for laptops today.
analog video connector that is used primarily to connect your laptop to
a television or some projectors. Since S-Video connectors are found on
all but the oldest television sets it is a nice inclusion to have on a
laptop. Most laptop's these days have an S-Video connector.
you to connect your laptop to a wired computer network or Broadband
high speed Internet connection via a standard Ethernet network cable.
The RJ-45 jack is a standard laptop expansion port on all home user and
Small connector used to connect a laptops internal 56k modem to a
standard phone line.
Cable Lock slot:
slot that allows you to attach a special security cable to your laptop
so it can be secured to an object to prevent an easy theft. Keep in
mind that a cable lock is a deterrent and not a permanent security fix
so do not stray far away from your laptop when using one. Good to have
when at a coffee shop or on college campus nevertheless.
Docking station port:
to connect a laptop into a docking station. A docking station is a
device that you can permanently plug a monitor, printer, Internet
connection etc. into. All you then have to do is plug the laptop into
it and everything is ready to go.
Not all laptops have a docking
station connector and it is more common in business tailored laptops.
Keep in mind that each port is specific to the manufacturer and model
so a docking station for one laptop will not always work for another
unless maybe by the same manufacturer.
some laptops, a media bay allows you to swap in devices such as CD/DVD
drives, extra hard drives, or extra batteries among other things. A
media bay device is normally specific to a laptop model except
sometimes when the laptops are by the same manufacturer.
Misc laptop expansion ports or connectors:
Other laptop expansion ports that you will still find on some laptop
computers include among others a serial port, and parallel printer
ports. These ports are considered legacy ports and they have been
around since the dinosaurs. You can still find them on some business
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