Buying a new computer for the home or small office is an important decision. With rapid advances in technology, laptop computers have started to find their way into more home and small businesses as a legitimate desktop replacement.
Here are a few things to consider to help you decide which is best for you.
What exactly do you use your computer for? Answering this question will go a long way to helping you choose between a laptop and a desktop. Do you use software that requires beefy processor or graphics power?
Laptops have made some serious inroads to power output. However, when it comes to raw grunt, desktops are still top dogs. Peripherals also need to be taken into consideration. This is specially true if your home or small business requires you to have a number of extra devices plugged into your computer at the same time. Some laptops reduce cost by only providing the absolute bare basics in terms of peripheral connections. So it’s important to check the specs carefully.
When it comes to portability, laptops win by their very design. This is because laptops are small, light, easily stored and transported. They are the only real alternative to anyone who needs to take their office with them.
With Wi-Fi just a tap away on your smartphone, a laptop has full access to the internet and your cloud storage, wherever you have an internet connection on your phone. Desktops are pretty much stationary devices nailed to your desk.
Screen size is another make-or-break deal for some people. Multiple monitors and screen real estate are both important considerations. While laptops are now sporting high-resolution screens you won’t find many above 17-inch in size. Desktop monitors can come in sizes up to 32-inch with 4K resolutions that are surprisingly affordable.
One option you have with a laptop is to attach it to an external monitor. Here’s some information on how to connect an external display to a laptop. If you do need multiple monitors, just make sure you have the graphics power to run them.
Service and Upgrades
Service and upgrades are two important areas that can fly under the radar. Replacing parts in a desktop computer is cheap, easy, and service usually occurs on your premises.
While some laptops are able to have basic parts upgraded, the cost is considerably more expensive and service can require you to send the laptop away, leaving you without a working machine for weeks at a time. The cost of being without a computer can be considerable for some small businesses.
If you have to spend long periods of time in front of your computer, comfort is going to have an impact on your quality of work. Laptop keyboards come in different shapes and sizes but one of the trade-offs to portability is comfort.
A full sized keyboard and mouse, along with a large monitor with an ergonomically set up chair and desk are far more comfortable to work for longer stretches of time. Laptops used in the office can be set up to make the most of external peripherals like keyboards and monitors, but out on the road you’re stuck with what you’ve got.
Cost is always a major factor in making any purchase for your home or small business. Purchasing a laptop used to cost several times more than a desktop. Thankfully prices have dropped considerably to the point where basic laptops can be found for just a few hundred dollars.
If you know where to find them, there are a lot of cheap desktops for sale. Desktops are still usually cheaper upfront and the cost of their extended warranties and service is also cheaper. There are also some great deals on laptops out there. Cheap laptops can certainly seem attractive, but the initial cost can quickly rise if you don’t carefully study your requirements before purchase.
Computers are now integral parts of homes and businesses large and small. While there is now considerable overlap in terms of power and price, laptops and desktops both still have their place in the home and small office. Choosing which is right for you will come down to weighing up which factors are the most important and cost-effective for you.