Given a scenario, use appropriate laptop features: CompTIA A+ 220-901 sub-objective 3.3

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Detailed (and official) description of CompTIA A+ sub-objective 3.3:

3.3 Given a scenario, use appropriate laptop features.

> Special function keys
– Dual displays
– Wireless (on/off)
– Cellular (on/off)
– Volume settings
– Screen brightness
– Bluetooth (on/off)
– Keyboard backlight
– Touch pad (on/off)
– Screen orientation
– Media options (fast forward/rewind)
– GPS (on/off)
– Airplane mode
> Docking station
> Physical laptop lock and cable lock
> Rotating / removable screens

Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! Just like the last couple of sub-objectives 3.3 addresses laptop features but here with more of a practical approach to the subject.

Special function key

On a laptop or notebook it is fairly common to see the top row of keys used as dual purpose utility keys allowing the user to perform a variety of actions without cluttering the workspace with rows of infrequently used keys. The answer was to dedicate the top row (mainly) of keys and give them an unrelated but specific functionality. Here is the Function key (fn).

photo of keybord with the Function key Highlighted
Function key highlighted

The key combination makes it harder to perform unintended actions. Bonus question: Which primary keyboard feature is activated by the fn key? The keyboard shown also has multilingual capabilities that are active when the Fn key is pressed.

Now for the most actions, different manufacturers assign the functions by their own layout. Functionally they operate like this: You press and hold the “ fn” key then the desired option key.

Dual displays

The first function we will look at is the FN+f4 .This will extend the laptop monitor to a second connected monitor. This is useful for presentations that use either an overhead projector or separate large monitor. Here is a windows configuration screen showing two monitors.

Screenshot of a windows configuration screen showing two monitors
Windows configuration screen showing two monitors.

Wireless (on/off)

The wireless key is not universally part of the fn key arrangement. Actually you will find your logo that will be amber or off when disabled. This switch, touch pad or button will turd blue (in most cases) when a connection is established.

Cellular (on/off)

If your laptop has cellular capability it will have a control button or area to enable/disable service. For example you may want to save some metered cellular data by switching to 802.11series connections when they are available.

Volume settings

The volume up/down buttons will be available as a function related action or as a separate control. Some models use touch sensitive surfaces to control volume level.

Screen brightness

Screen brightness is usually controlled with a Fn switch to help with screen visibility in changing lighting situations.

Bluetooth (on/off)

The ability to turn Bluetooth on and off Is usually controlled by a Fn switch or a separate button. Bluetooth uses a lot of power so if you are on battery and are not using Bluetooth its best to switch it off.

Keyboard backlight

Some keyboards are backlit for use in low ambient light situations. While this is very helpful one should assess the power use vs benefit when on battery.

Touch pad (on/off)

Many individuals have trouble using a laptop keyboard and touchpad at the same time. Their palms or other parts of the hand make contact with the touchpad. This will cause the cursor to jump to a different location. You can toggle the touchpad on and off to rectify this situation.

Screen orientation

Most laptop screens today are in landscape mode, which means that the display is wider than it is tall. This is highly suited for multimedia entertainment that uses 16 pixels across for every 9 pixels vertical.

Media options (fast forward/rewind)

photo of Multi function keys
Multi function keys.

As we mentioned above, laptops are being used as multimedia platforms. The ability to retain the functionality of the PC or home theatre media experience. Fn keys have been dedicated to that. Here f9 is play pause, f10 is stop. F11 is fast backwards and f12 fast fwd.

GPS (on/off)

GPS mode should have its own switch. The availability of GPS functions helps when you are trying to find a specific location, but keep in mind that what you are tracking can track you. Recommend off unless in use.

Airplane mode

This is another setting that should have its own switch or even a menu setting. Crucially important to any communication the Airplane mode disables all communication to and from the device when activated.

Docking station

A docking station is an extremely handy way to make all necessary connections through a single device. Generally the docking station is set up with a keyboard, mouse monitor and network connection. The laptop is connected to the station through a proprietary connection and the machine is ready to go.

Physical laptop lock and cable lock

All laptops are fitted with a small reinforced attachment point that can be used to help prevent the laptop from walking away. Sometimes called a Kensington connector after one of the prominent manufacturers of security cables. The other end of this cable is mounted to something secure and not easily removed.

Photo of a cable lock on a laptop
Cable lock on laptop.


Rotating / removable screens

When adding flexibility to a laptop it’s hard to bear a removable screen. Take the screen and you have just cut the weight in half without compromising performance. Another way to handle the cumbersome nature of the laptop is to have the scream swivel around an lay flat face up, giving you the look and feel of a tablet with the power of a laptop.

Photo of Laptop with removable screen
Laptop with removable screen

Back to the main 901 ExamNotes page

Well, that’s it for 220-901 3.3. Enjoy your studies and good luck on the test!


2 thoughts on “Given a scenario, use appropriate laptop features CompTIA Aplus 220-901 sub-objective 3.2

  1. For scree orientation you said that landscape means that the screen is “longer than it is wide,” but landscape is widescreen. If I’m not mistaken you meant to put “wider than it is long.”

    1. Thanks for pointing this out, you are helping improve these posts for everyone! To be very specific and clear, and we should and want to, we changed it to “wider than it is tall”.

      Thanks again!

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