Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… How to Decide Whether a Laptop or Desktop is Right For You
Last Updated on September 3, 2020 by Bobby Niswonger
Computers are a near ubiquitous part of all our lives in the modern era. Technology is one of the defining characteristics of western society. Computers allow us to do things that were impossible for previous generations.
Yet the question still lingers. Which is the best type of computer for you, a laptop or desktop? This question is deeper than it first appears. Let’s dig a little deeper ourselves and analyze the most important factors you should weigh when making this decision for yourself.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Computer: Laptop Or Desktop
A lot of things could be important to you specifically when deciding which type of computer to purchase. Many of these things will be personal and only apply to you and a small handful of other individuals that are similar to you. The following seven factors will apply universally to anyone that wants a computer.
Of course, in the Laptop or Desktop debate, this is the single factor that always reigns supreme. If you need a computer that is fully functional and easy to transport with you, a laptop is the only choice that can fulfill both of these needs.
Now, this is not to say there are not any drawbacks to the ultra portability of a quality laptop. You will be sacrificing things in other areas to have that aspect taken care of in your search for a new computer.
On a given budget, you will get more power per dollar spent when you look at desktop computers. Since there is less need for compact and low weight parts, the manufacturers are less limited when they design the parts for a desktop. If the total amount of computational power is the deciding factor for you, then The desktop comes out on top.
Almost all desktops will have a dedicated graphics card, and if your does not, it will be easy to add one to it. Laptops are not built this way. The vast majority have something called integrated graphics. This is far less powerful than a discrete card. If you need your computer for graphically intensive tasks, you would be best with a desktop computer. One of the best ways to make sure you have a good graphics card and all the hardware you need is to get a custom build.
Not having a video card might not be such a big deal for laptops if it were not for this issue. Laptops are either entirely incapable of being upgraded or have a very limited ability to do so. The chances are you won’t be able to add one after the fact if you bought a laptop and did not have a dedicated graphics card. Desktops are much easier to operate. After you get your computer, you can keep it up to date by upgrading one part at a time instead of dropping hundreds on another all new computer in a few years.
When you compare apples to apples, it is going to be less expensive for the computer parts of your purchase to go with a desktop computer. Two equally powerful computers compared to each other in terms of cost will have the desktop version be less expensive if the two computers being compared are a laptop and a desktop.
The price of a laptop does include all the components you need to use a computer. Remember, a laptop has a monitor built into it as well as a mouse and a keyboard. These are things you would have otherwise had to spend money on in addition to the computer itself. A computer without any way to interact with it isn’t much good now, is it?
The above point is marked with a significant caveat. When you buy a laptop, it comes with everything you need to get started and have a fully functioning computer. If you have not owned a desktop before, then the computer is just the start of your shopping spree. You will need essential peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, and a computer monitor before you can even begin to use your computer. It is worth keeping in mind when you are making price comparisons. The total you spend on the laptop will be all you need to spend to have a workable computer. When you buy a desktop, you are going to have to spend some more money before you can start to use it.
The Decision Point: Desktop or Laptop?
Should you find yourself in a bind and unable to make the decision, try out the following exercise. List how you will need to use the computer, followed by how you would like to use the computer. When you have finished your list write down your own pros and cons list for both a laptop or desktop. Once you are done with the exercise, sit down and compare the lists. One of them should match up better with your desires than the other. Whichever is the best fit for you will give you the most value for your purchase. If you are still unable to decide after doing this exercise, why don’t you just go ahead and buy one of both? You obviously would get plenty of use out of both of them. You can always call for help deciding if you want a desktop or laptop.
Technician at Computer PRO Unltd, father of one, gamer.