Looking for highly portable small business laptops? Whether you need high-powered computing or plain affordability, these Linux laptops and Chromebooks deliver the goods.
5 Fabulous Lightweight Linux Laptops
You say you want a lightweight laptop with long battery life, a bright screen, and plenty of computing power? Good news: you can have it all. In this roundup we take a look at three high-end Linux laptops and two go-anywhere Chromebooks.
Linux laptops and Chromebooks are related, but different. Linux is a mature general-purpose operating system (OS) that supports a giant range of hardware—everything from factory automation, little netbooks, laptops and PCs to mainframes, supercomputers, and thousands of software applications.
Chromebooks run on Google's Chrome OS, which is based on Linux, but with different design goals. Instead of a full-grown operating system that does everything, it's slimmed-down for lower-powered portable devices. Chrome OS is optimized for Web applications, and it also supports offline apps, which you can download from the Chrome Web Store. Chrome OS can run some Android apps, though it's still experimental.
Your specific needs will determine which laptop makes sense for you. Chromebooks cost less and come in smaller sizes, but they don't have thousands of mature software applications like Linux does. Chromebooks offer long battery life, and they're optimized as Web thin clients, which makes it easy to use them as go-anywhere computers.
Linux laptops are more powerful and better for complex tasks. The best one for you is the one that does what you want: if you can find Chrome apps that meet your needs, then a Chromebook is perfect for you. If you need a full office suite, professional video, audio, graphics, or heavy-duty spreadsheet crunching, then you need a Linux computer.
Linux fans may wonder at ZaReason's absence in this roundup. The company's retooling its laptop line, so check its website in a few weeks to see what's new.