Let's Put the Ounces in Perspective
The weight of handheld gadgets like tablets and smartphones is one of their more important specs. Who wants to lug around a tablet that weighs more than a hardback copy of War and Peace? Reducing a product's weight by even a few ounces is important enough that Barnes and Noble got caught last year shaving 7.4 percent off the scale reading for its Nook e-reader. But even when a company is honest about a gadget's weight, getting a sense of how the tech will feel in your hands based on a mere number can be difficult. Is a 9-ounce e-reader lighter or heavier than most books? Does a 2-pound notebook weigh more or less than a school notebook?
To find out, we parked phones, tablets, and e-readers, along with some common handheld objects, on the PCWorld Labs scale. Our results may surprise you. Let's start with the iPhone 4S.
Apple iPhone 4S and an Apple
Well, this is certainly appropriate. The 4S, the newest iPhone model, added a few grams in comparison to its predecessor, and now it weighs the same amount as a typical apple: 4.9 ounces.
Samsung Epic Touch 4G and a Roll of Pennies
Droid Razr and Two Extra Large Eggs
The lightest object on our list, the Droid Razr, weighs 4.5 ounces--the same as two extra-large eggs. The cholesterol level of the Razr remains untested, however.
Kindle (2011) and a Hockey Puck
The new generation of Kindle e-readers lost the keyboard along with significant amounts of their predecessors' weight and price. The newest 6-ounce base-model Kindle retails for just $79 (with ads), and it matches the weight of a standard hockey puck. Bonus: With the Kindle, you can keep your front teeth.
Nook Simple Touch and a Cup of Sugar
The next time a neighbor asks you for a cup of sugar (or the next time you bake holiday cookies), keep the weight in mind. It's 7.5 ounces, the same amount that a Nook Simple Touch e-reader weighs. However, the Nook Simple Touch has far fewer calories.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Two Big Bacon Classic Burgers
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab comes in a few different sizes now. The largest of them, the 10.1, is still significantly lighter than the similar-size iPad 2. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 tips the scales at 1 pound, 3.9 ounces--the same weight as a pair of Big Bacon Classic Burger from Wendy’s.
iPad 2 and a Woman’s Javelin
If you who refuse to trust Apple products any farther than you can throw them, you'll be interested to know that the iPad 2 might carry a pretty good distance. Apple’s updated slate weighs in at 1 pound, 5.2 ounces, which happens to be the same weight of a regulation women’s javelin. Nevertheless, for maximum tablet flight, we recommend that you use a discus-style release.
Kindle Fire and a Football
If you’ve read our review of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, you know that we have a number of reservations about the device. For one thing, we found the Fire surprisingly heavy. At 14.6 ounces, it weighs as much as a regulation football--though, thankfully, it isn’t quite as easy to fumble.
Macbook Air (11-Inch) and a Cast-Iron Tea Pot
At 2 pounds, 6 ounces, the 11-inch version of Apple’s Macbook Air is one of the lightest laptops on the market. But if you're looking for something that weighs the same in your hand (while taking a much smaller bite out of your budget), try a cast-iron tea pot. I'd put the Macbook Air down first.
Asus Zenbook UX31E and a Human Brain
If you want to look like a smart Ultrabook shopper, try the Asus Zenbook UX31E. Aside from being one of the best laptops on the market, the Zenbook UX31E weighs the same as the average human brain: 2 pounds 13.8 ounces.