Desktop vs laptop: Which is best?

by PaulGoodman67

This article looks at the relative merits of desktop and laptop computers, looking at the advantages of each.

Back in the days when I used to teach absolute beginners the basics of using a computer, surfing the internet and sending and receiving email, one of the questions that students often used to ask me was: I am considering buying a computer, should I buy a desktop or laptop?

Of course, there is no definitive answer to this question as it very much depends on how you plan to use your computer and what your lifestyle is. The only way to decide therefore is to do a direct desktop vs laptop comparison, carefully considering the relative advantages and disadvantages of each form of computer.

Advantages of a desktop

You get better value with a PC. All in all, if you bought a laptop and desktop and spent the same amount of money, the desktop would generally be better in terms of specifications and features. Why? In general terms, it’s because laptops require all their components to be compact enough to fit into a small space. Compact components are either not as good as larger versions of the same thing, or they are just as good but cost more money to make.

Public domain image via pixabayEasier to fix and upgrade. Desktops are generally put together with the expectation that people will want to chop and change their components, either to fix parts that are broken, or to upgrade them. Many components just simply slot into the motherboard. Procedures such as installing a new disc or hard drive is actually relatively straightforward, even for an amateur, but it if you pay someone else to do it, it is still relatively inexpensive. Laptop repair can be very expensive, however.

Longer lifespan. Because the components are easy to interchange and replace, you can keep a desktop going for a long time (although it will eventually become archaic). When something goes wrong on a laptop, however, the costs of repair can be prohibitive, as they can be more labor intensive and complicated to take apart and re-assemble, plus the parts are often more expensive.

Easier to use. Generally speaking, having a large monitor screen, a mouse rather than a mouse pad, and a large, full keyboard make desktops easier to use than laptops.

Advantages of a laptop

They are portable. This is the key advantage of a laptop and all the other advantages of a laptop pretty much flow from the fact that you can carry them around. You can use them both in different localities and also when you are on the move, such as on a train or in a plane.

Public domain image via PixabayYou don’t need your laptop to be permanently set up. For thosewho don’t use their computer regularly, or they only have a limited amount ofspace and they don’t wish to have a desktop set up all the time, a laptop can be great as you can stash it away when you are not using it.

Laptops can be used in any room of your house with wi-fi. The advent of wi-fi has added another advantage for laptops, as now if you have wi-fi internet installed, you are able to access the internet in any room of the house, or even outside in some cases (You also have the option of taking your laptop out with you to a café with wi-fi too!) With a desktop, however, you are stuck at the same desk in the same place whenever you want to use your computer.

Updated: 03/24/2013, PaulGoodman67
 
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WriterArtist on 05/19/2013

For me, between a desktop and laptop, laptops gain preference because they are portable. The ease of carrying them and the fact that they are light outweighs the drawbacks.

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