The first laptops were used primarily by business people who needed to access and enter data when they were away from the office. The use of laptops was limited due to expense, weight, and limited capabilities compared to less expensive desktops.

The most significant feature of a laptop is its compact size. The design of the laptop places the keyboard, screen, and internal components into a small, portable case. As a result, laptops can be used to take notes in school, present information in a business meeting, or access the Internet in a coffee shop. A rechargeable battery allows the laptop to function when it is disconnected from an external power source. The compact design, convenience, and evolving technology of laptops have made them popular.

Some common uses for laptops are: