Laptop vs. Desktop

I am often asked whether I would recommend a laptop or desktop computer to an individual and so the focus of this article will be to answer this question for all my readers and also to give you some information on the technology that is currently available for both styles of machine.

First off, just in case any of you are in any doubt about the above: a desktop computer is probably the style of machine you have at home consisting of a box that stores the workings of the PC, a large monitor, keyboard, a mouse etc.In contrast, a laptop is a small machine with all these separate components stored in a single case usually weighing a couple of kilograms including a powerful battery in order for it to be easily portable.

Whereas the PC is usually confined to remaining in one room, with a laptop you are easily able to take the machine onto the train, to college or to work.Obviously therefore there has to be some disadvantages to having a laptop then, or surely everybody would have one?

The price of the machine, in my opinion would have to be the main disadvantage.Not only the price to buy initially but also to upgrade the machine and keep in working order.To use an example, an entry level Desktop PC currently would cost around £600 to buy – A similar specification for a laptop, would cost around £1,300, just over double the cost.

Another cost related issue is that to upgrade or repair a laptop is often much more expensive than with a desktop for a number of reasons:

The components used are often model specific as opposed to being interchangeable like on a desktop.Very much like buying a rare collectors car and then looking for replacement parts.

The production costs of making components so small are often much higher than making components that have a much lower restriction on space such as those on a desktop machine.

Because of the increased space restrictions, laptops often have the majority of their components more or less all on the same main board.For that reason, if the graphics card were to fail then the whole board would need replacing.To make another analogy, it’s very much like buying one of these combined fax machine, printer and photocopier in one box – If the printing mechanism for it breaks down then you have lost all three sections of the machine in one fell swoop.

Finally, since a laptop will probably be carried around, unlike a Desktop PC which will be kept in a single room, it is more probable that it will get damaged, stolen or misplaced.

One other major downside would be the actual user interface of the laptop over a conventional desktop PC; for example, the screens are much smaller and of lower resolution than their desktop counterparts and I personally would prefer to use my computer with a full size QUERTY keyboard and a separate mouse rather than the small integrated keyboard and trackball that laptops include.

If cost isn’t an object, then Laptops are rapidly approaching the kind of speeds that were recently only obtainable by Desktops.Fast graphics cards and processors are becoming widely available due to improved methods of heat dispersal which prevents such a small box from overheating from the temperatures given off by the computer chips.

To summarise, ultimately your choice should be a question of need when considering whether to buy a laptop over a desktop computer.If you don’t need your computer to be portable then opt for a desktop machine for a much cheaper price whereas if you often need your computer when working away or have very limited space for a PC at home then despite the costs, a laptop the best solution.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.