My how things have changed. When the first portable computers were introduced in the 1980s, they weighed more than 20 lbs. and were far larger than any briefcase. Today a laptop that weighs 7 pounds is thought to be tipping the scales and relatively inconvenient.

Still, “heavier” models do serve a purpose. Before you buy a laptop based on its slim, stylish casing, you’ll want to assess whether you need the processing power that comes with a bit of extra weight. For instance, if you routinely run graphics-intensive applications, such as video conferencing or trial exhibition programs, you’ll want a speedier processor of at least 1.6GHz. If so, the good news is that mobile processors have allowed desktop replacement laptops to drop some weight in recent months from 7 pounds or more to as little as 5 pounds.