One can argue that mobile devices surpassed laptops in portable computing. Regardless, the fact remains that phones, tablets, and laptops are part of our daily lives. Modern society’s social and economic relations depend on these portable technologies. However, these devices are also fragile and often get broken in many ways. This means tech repair will likely be part of your devices’ lifetime. It also means that having a basic understanding of their parts can help you when you do need repairs.
While mobile devices and laptops are two different categories, they share similar hardware. Read on to know the five general elements of your devices. It allows you to know better about the hardware before bringing them to tech repair.
The motherboard is likely the most important component of a computer. It houses the CPU and GPU. It’s where every other component connects to.
The motherboard lets all these components communicate and work together. The ports outside also connect straight to the motherboard. For both laptops and mobile devices, the motherboard is the last component you want to have water damage.
In laptops, some components like the CPU and GPU come soldered onto the motherboard. Only certain parts like the RAM and HDD are replaceable. It’s because there’s less space for sockets and slots, unlike on a desktop.
Since smartphones and tablets are much smaller, the same compromise applies. Mobile devices come with what’s called a “system on a chip” (SoC).
This one chip integrates all the components like the CPU, GPU, modems, and other parts that make a phone or a tablet work. Tech repair is often trickier for smartphones because of this integration.
The motherboard or SoC also houses memory and storage. Laptops’ memory and storage are larger and are user-replaceable. Mobile devices have smaller built-in RAM and internal storage.
A computer can have a range of other output devices like printers and projectors. For laptops, smartphones, and tablets, the most important built-in output device is the display.
Laptop displays can range from 10-inch “netbooks” to large 17 or 18-inch screens. As for resolution, most laptops come with low-res 1366 x 768 screens. Higher resolutions come at full HD or 1920 x 1080 pixels while high-end models can go up to 4k.
Laptops and mobile devices rely on almost the same display types—LCD or LED. LCDs are more common and use a backlight that shines through some filters to create a picture.
Higher-end models often use LED screens. Instead of a backlight that’s always on, an LED display can control individual pixels. It gives the display deeper blacks and more vibrant colors.
For a phone, tablet, and some laptops, the display also doubles as an input device if they have touchscreen capabilities. Modern touchscreens use capacitive technology that measures input with a conductive layer.
3. Input Devices/Sensors
Input devices allow you to interact with your laptop, phone, or tablet. With mobile devices, the main input device is the touchscreen display. With laptops, you’ll have more options, making it a more flexible choice.
Laptops have physical keyboards, touchpads, and can also connect a mouse. Modern tablets can also connect external keyboards and pointing devices like the Apple Pencil for the iPad.
Sensors are also input devices. Smartphones and tablets have a plethora of these built-in.
All smartphones have a main and front-facing camera. Newer models even have over two main cameras.
Biometric sensors like fingerprint scanners are also standard for smartphones. These make smartphones more secure than regular laptops that don’t have biometrics. Also, phones or tablets have over five sensors that accord it with “smartness”.
These devices also have an accelerometer that detects orientation and movement. A gyroscope also measures orientation. A digital compass helps with geolocation.
An ambient light sensor measures surrounding light and adjusts the screen’s brightness accordingly. Finally, a proximity sensor detects if the phone is near your face. During a call, it turns off the display when you bring the phone to your ear.
Laptops, smartphones, and tablets all have an internal battery. Since laptops are more power-hungry, they have larger batteries than mobile devices.
Laptops and mobile devices usually use lithium-ion technology. These can either be removable or non-removable.
Battery capacity, measured in milliamp-hour (mAh), tells you how much charge a battery can hold. Both laptops and mobile devices’ capacities can range between 2,000 to 6,000 mAh.
Smartphones today have more charging options at their disposal. There’s fast charging which can charge a device in an hour. Wireless charging is also becoming more common.
5. Operating System (OS)
The operating system or OS is the software component that starts and runs the computer. Without this, your laptop, phone, or tablet is useless. Since laptops and mobile devices use different architectures, their OS’s are very different.
Most laptops use Microsoft Windows while Apple notebooks use Mac OS. For smartphones and tablets, there’s iOS and Android. Because of their difference, a computer program will be incompatible with a mobile OS.
Computer operating systems are much older, being around for around 30 years. Mobile operating systems are a newer concept, being only over a decade old. Regardless, mobile operating systems are mostly Android-based.
Operating systems are prone to their own class of errors and damages. However, faulty or broken hardware can cause all sorts of OS malfunctions.
Know Your Device Better Before Tech Repair
Laptops, phones, and tablets help us in our everyday activities. Despite their sophistication, they’re prone to all sorts of damages. Knowing the basic components of your devices can help in case you need tech repair.
In general, laptops and mobile devices both have a motherboard. It’s a sensitive and important component that connects or holds all other parts.
They all have a display through which you interact and use the features. Smartphones and tablets in particular have a range of sensors that make them “smart”.
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