Laptop vs Desktop Computer: Which is Best?

You want a new computer but which is best, a laptop or a desktop? Laptops are gaining in popularity, and you’ll notice that any store with a computer or electronics department will probably be showcasing the new laptops more than desktops. But, can a laptop do what a desktop can do? And, will it fit you?

The second question is one only you can answer, but perhaps my answer to the first question may help you decide.

My first two computers were desktops, with the standard CPU (Central Processing Unit) tower, monitor, and keyboard. The first one was purchased in 2004 and served me well for 6 years. The second one only lasted 1 year, but was probably just a lemon. When the 2nd desktop failed, I thought about a laptop.

I’d noticed when they first came out in the 1990’s, that they were limited in capability, very expensive, and some had fatal flaws, like having the batteries catch fire! Also, they often weighed too much for their small size and often got too hot to keep on one’s lap.

Now, I have one rule of thumb that I usually follow regarding technology that I learned some time ago, but cannot remember the source. It was, “Never jump in and buy technologically new items when they first come out!”.

Something new that uses new technology will have the most bugs, fewest features, and the highest cost, when it first comes out. Later versions produced when the manufacturers are far more familiar with the technology, will often be more reliable, easier to use, have more features, and be less expensive. Calculators in 1970 could cost $100 and just do basic math. Now, for $15, you can get a calculator that can almost do back flips for you while calculating complex trigonometry and calculus problems! I found that, with laptop computers, it is the same story.

The computer I have now, is a laptop. Purchased in 2011. Like  a desktop, it has a good capacity hard drive of 640 gigabytes which is far more than I need, 4 gigabytes of RAM (Random Access Memory), or DDR3 as it’s now called. It is every bit as fast as a desktop. It has a built-in CD/DVD read/write drive, and multiple USB ports. Now, this is a larger laptop, but still very easily portable. I have since purchased a smaller laptop that I take on trips.

The advantages of the laptop are many.

1. It is all-in-one and can do what a desktop can do! Monitor, keyboard, and CPU are all in one piece. As well as the webcam and CD/DVD drive. This means that there are much fewer cords and wires needed for plugging in a separate monitor and keyboard. Only a printer needs plugging in. Fewer wires and cords means less of a mess.

Also, laptops today can do all a desktop can do. They have the main drive capacity, the RAM capacity, the USB and ethernet ports for plugging in peripherals such as printers and scanners, WiFi capability, the same perks and operating systems. You no longer need to have a desktop as your main computer.

2. Much lighter and easier access for plugging in peripheral items. If you have, or had, a desktop, you know that any time you needed to plug-in or unplug something, and the CPU tower’s front USB ports were already used up, or the tower had no USB ports in the front, you had to get down on hands and knees and move the heavy tower to reach the ports and other plug-in areas in the back, or, if the tower was on your desk, you had much less room on your desk, and you still had to move the heavy tower.

With my laptop, this is no problem! All the ports and plug-in areas are right on the laptop itself, and the laptop only weighs a few pounds and is very easy to move around!

3. Much, much easier portability! It’s lightness and small size make it very easy to take this computer anywhere, and, if I needed to ship it anywhere for repairs, it is much easier to do, and probably less expensive, than shipping a desktop’s CPU tower, which I’ve done. And if I want to take the laptop to my friend’s place to show him the pictures from my last trip? Easy as pie!

Yeah, you could do this with a desktop. If you don’t mind unplugging the monitor, printer, keyboard, and, if your friend doesn’t have  a monitor or keyboard, you have to lug these along with the heavy CPU to your friend’s place, too! And you’d have to set them up there, also! No one takes a desktop with them to someone else’s house. And, Ok, you can always use a flash drive or portable drive, too, but if you have lots of other things on the computer you want to show your friends and family, a laptop is the easiest and best way to go!

4. Smaller laptops can be easily added to and are great trip companions! I also have a smaller laptop and, the one disadvantage of the smaller laptops and netbooks is that they have no room for a CD/DVD drive. However, an external CD/DVD reader/writer can be easily had for low-cost and, with a laptop carrying case, one can easily take everything to meet their computer needs on the road in one small lightweight and ready to go package! The only thing they might need is a printer, but, in most cases, this can probably wait until they get back home!

5. Makes WiFi capability much more effective and versatile! With the combination of WiFi and the portability of the laptop, desktops simply cannot compete! Ever see someone at a Starbuck’s with a desktop? I myself don’t use WiFi as I haven’t a need for it right now, but I can see where it is a real boon to so many, and the laptop easily fills the bill here!

So, I, who once felt I’d never need a laptop, have fallen in love with my two laptops and have vowed never to go back to a desktop. Who would have known!

If you like what you’ve read, please comment and let others know of this site!

Happy computing and thanks for reading! 🙂

P.S. – If you want to see what it would be like to try to port a desktop PC everywhere, just click on this link:

http://improveverywhere.com/2008/02/25/mobile-desktop/

I think the portability issue above is well illustrated here. 🙂

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