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Things We Hate About Laptops (And How to Fix Them)

From short battery life to screens with too much glare, here's how to address the things we hate about laptops.


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thingswehate_glare_sh.jpgGlossy screens seem to make colors pop more, whether you’re watching DVDs or editing photos. But there’s a reason why notebooks equipped with this type of display are also called glare screens; they can kick back distracting reflections.

Quick Fixes

This might sound obvious to some, but you can often minimize glare just by moving your display slightly forward or back. “You can tilt the screen a few degrees and the viewing angle will still be good enough,” advised John Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch. “You’re going to solve that issue without having to spend a nickel.” You can also bump up the brightness to counter glare from ambient light.

Easy Upgrades

Invest in one of 3M’s Privacy Filters ($46.89 to $80.74, based on notebook screen size; www.shop3m.com). This accessory not only keeps wandering eyes from peeking at your data—passersby see only a dark screen—but it also reduces reflections. Another solution is Nushield AG ($15 to $20; www.nushield.com), an anti-reflective film that minimizes glare and prevents scratches.

Shopping Advice

Since most consumer notebooks come with glossy screens, your best bet is to go beyond the specs and make your purchasing decision based on the activities you perform most often, and how those will look on your new notebook. “When you go into Best Buy, don’t just look at the pretty picture or movie that they’re showing,” said Jacobs. “Pull up Web pages. If you do a lot of photo editing or play Call of Duty 12 hours a day, pull up those apps and use them if you can for a good 10 or 15 minutes.”

Those who prefer a matte (or non-glare) screen have plenty of options, especially if you’re in the market for a business notebook from the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo, or Toshiba. Apple recently introduced an antiglare widescreen display option for its 15-inch MacBook Pro, which costs an extra $50. Find yourself working outdoors? Opt for a premium notebook with an outdoor-viewable screen, such as the Toshiba Portégé R600 (starting at $2,099; www.toshibadirect.com).

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