Laptop Features – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 1.3

The size and portability of a laptop computer requires a number of unique features and settings. In this video, you’ll learn about dual displays, wireless controls, screen and keyboard brightness settings, and more.

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If you’re used to typing on a full-sized desktop keyboard and then you shift over to a laptop, you’ll notice there’s a lot of keys missing. We don’t have a lot of room on a laptop to be able to put the full set of keys that you might have on a desktop computer.

And so one thing that you’ll notice on this laptop is not only do we have a small area for typing, and then some of the specialized keys like Page Up and Page Down have been moved to the right side– and there’s our arrow keys at the bottom– but you’ll notice there are these blue keys that are also embedded onto the keyboard as well. These are laptop function keys, or Fn keys. You’ll notice there’s a blue Fn button here at the bottom. And by holding down the Fn key, or function key, and then clicking one of these blue buttons, you’ll be able to perform an additional set of features.

One very common function key that you would find on many different laptops is one that allows you to control dual displays. Dual displays are referring to both the internal display that’s on the inside of your laptop and then an external display that you can connect to using an HDMI connection or a VGA connection that’s on your laptop.

By using this function key, you can then move between different configurations for video. You might use just the display that’s on the inside of your laptop. You can hit the function display key again and duplicate what you’re seeing on your screen. Maybe you use the function key again and extend this across as if you have two separate displays. And then finally, turn off your laptop display and only project on the external display.

On this laptop, the function key that controls that display is the F4 button. So you would hold down the Function key and then hit the F4. And you can see the blue characters there are referring to the internal LCD display on the laptop and an external display.

Your laptop might also choose which display to use based on whether your screen is open or whether you close it. This is the refrigerator door effect. When you close your laptop screen, you may still be able to use the laptop. But all of your video may output to the external monitor connection. There’s sometimes a physical switch on older laptops. But most of them these days have an internal magnetic switch. So there’s nothing external on the laptop display itself.

The functionality of closing that screen may cause your entire computer to go into a suspend mode. So you have the ability to change whether your computer stays on or whether it turns off, usually in the BIOS or a utility that comes with your laptop.

Because these laptops are moving from one place to another, there may be times when you want to use a wireless network and other times where you should not be using a wireless network. Some laptops have a function that allows you to enable or disable this wireless functionality. This might be a physical switch on the side of the laptop like this one here. Or it may be a function key that we would use to be able to enable or disable wireless connectivity.

This may be an all or nothing switch that turns on and off 802.11 Bluetooth and cellular connectivity all at the same time. Or you may have the ability to specify which one of those wireless networks you would like to enable or disable.

Another common function key is to be able to control audio. On this laptop, there’s a function key for page up and page down that is also a volume up and volume down. And you’ll notice there’s a function key on the End button that will mute and unmute the audio. This laptop also includes separate buttons for those functions. So you can decrease or increase the audio or mute it, all from these individual, specific buttons on the laptop itself.

Most laptops allow you to control how bright your screen might be. So you can control the backlight using function keys. In this case, this laptop has the up and down arrow keys that are also used to increase or decrease that brightness. Of course, you have to keep in mind that if you’re going to increase the brightness, you’re going to be using a bit more power. So if you want to decrease the power, you may be able to conserve a little bit of battery time.

You not only have backlights on your LCD display, many laptops also have backlights on their keyboards. This allows you to see those keys even when you’re in a dark area. You might be able to control the intensity or brightness of that backlight. You might be able to control the duration as well, so when you press a button, how long that particular backlight will stay on. Or you can disable it completely so that it’s not using that light when you don’t need it.

If you’re using your laptop keyboard and you notice that you’re inadvertently hitting that touchpad and moving the mouse around the screen, there may be a function key that will allow you to disable the touchpad completely. And that way, you’ll never be able to accidentally press a key or move the mouse while you’re using your keyboard.

Our modern laptops allow us to use our laptops in different orientations. So we might have it in a landscape mode or a portrait mode, depending on what we’re doing with a particular application. There may be a function key that allows us to switch the orientation. Or there may be a hotkey that’s on the laptop itself that allows us to change what the orientation might be. So we can simply press a button, and it will change from portrait to landscape.

Some laptops might include a number of different media options on the keyboard itself. These are specialized keys that allow us to control the audio and the video that might be playing on our laptop. We can play, stop, rewind, fast forward. There might be mute buttons or volume buttons that we can choose, all by pressing those specialized keys instead of hunting around the screen with your mouse to try to find exactly what section of the screen you should be clicking on.

By using these specialized buttons, we’re able to play, stop, fast forward. We have volume buttons or mute buttons available, all by pressing these specialized keys instead of trying to figure out exactly what function keys or keystrokes would be required.

More and more of our mobile devices are including global positioning system, or GPS, capabilities in the device itself. This also is going to use those antennas to listen in to GPS signals. So if you enable or disable airplane mode, you may be enabling or disabling the GPS functionality as well.

When you’re traveling with your laptop, you may not need all the functionality of a system that you’re using when you’re inside of your office. But when you come back to your office, you may want to plug into a docking station. This allows you to use an external keyboard and mouse, maybe extend the interfaces on your laptop so they’re always plugged in to printers and other devices that are in your office. You might even have room to have expansion cards plugged into a PCI Express bus that greatly extend the capabilities of your laptop system.

Smaller versions of these docking stations may be called port replicators that are simply replicating those interfaces and ports on the back of your laptop so that you don’t have to keep plugging and unplugging different cables when you leave or come back to the office. These port replicators are usually smaller than these larger docking stations, because they usually don’t have those PCI Express interface card options.

Our laptops are very portable. And that’s ideal if we’re planning to travel with this device. Unfortunately, it’s also ideal if somebody wants to walk away with this laptop when you’re not looking. Because of that, you might want to consider using a physical laptop lock.

If you look closely at your laptop, you’ll probably find a small slot that has metal reinforcement. That’s what you use to plug in one of these physical laptop locks. And that will connect it to your laptop. You would then connect the rest of that cable to some other solid object that’s in the area. That way, you could briefly walk away from your laptop and not worry about somebody taking that when you’re not watching.

You can see that these cables are very small and easy to travel with. This one has numbers set for the lock instead of using a key. And there’s a loop on the end so you can connect it to something solid and make sure that nobody’s taking this laptop when you’re not watching.

An increasing number of our laptops are becoming much more flexible in how we use them. Very often, our laptops have a keyboard and a tablet screen. We can twist them around. We can turn them in different ways.

We can have a presentation from a screen just by spinning the screen around but keeping the keyboard close to us. This allows you to show a presentation on the screen by simply turning the screen around towards the people that need to see that presentation. And you might even have a stylus available so you can draw on the screen as you’re using the presentation mode. Or you might be able to disconnect the screen from the keyboard completely. And then you’re in a tablet mode, and you can use your stylus.