Laptops vs. Desktops



If you are looking at buying a new computer and think you want to buy a laptop I would like to urge you to read this and see if you still feel the same way after you finish this article. I don’t want you to think that I am against laptops, they can be very useful and convenient. However if you just go out and buy a laptop without considering if you really need one you might be disappointed with what you bought.
Let’s start with the benefits of a laptop. A laptop is portable, meaning if you constantly do your work on the go or travel a lot that can be a huge benefit. Laptops also take a lot less space than a normal desktop and have fewer wires to worry about. Laptops also usually are a little more economic on power consumption so if you are trying to cut your utility bills or save the environment a laptop can be a smarter buy. Another cool thing about a laptop is that you don’t need to worry about what else you may need or need to replace to have a complete setup. No worrying if your monitor or keyboard etc. will be compatible.
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages to having a laptop over a desktop. Portability is one of the greatest benefits of owning a laptop; it is also one of its biggest disadvantages. Since the laptop is easy to pick up move around and carry with you it is a lot easier to drop or damage the laptop due to moving it from one location to another. Another thing I see people do with laptops way too much is that since they can move it around easily, they will leave the laptop or use it in many a precarious place where the slightest nudge could send it smashing to the floor. Also since the laptop is easier to move around it is easier to steal and is a prime target for would-be thieves. Using a laptop at home usually means that the entire computer unit is right there in front of you where you are typing on the keyboard. This means if you happen to have a drink or other liquid sitting around that you accidentally spill it is more likely that you will incur a fairly hefty repair bill from the damage whereas if you were using a desktop you would likely only possibly hurt your keyboard while your computer tower would likely be tucked away somewhere else safe. This also brings me to the next point, if a piece of hardware fails on a laptop it is generally more expensive to repair than a desktop. Everything except memory and hard drives pretty much are custom made for your laptop, which means that if a part goes out you have to buy that part specifically for your laptop. This means that pricing can vary greatly depending on how many units of your model the manufacturer sold, who the manufacturer is, to how well they designed that particular model. Another thing to consider is performance. While laptops are breaking ground to perform more closely with their desktop counterparts they are still lacking in that department. Laptops generally sacrifice a decent amount of performance to be more energy efficient so that they can run longer using a battery. Another reason performance is throttled down is to keep heat inside the case down since you are unable to get as much airflow across the electronic components inside. Speaking of airflow inside the case of a laptop; heat is also very hard on them and so another thing to be aware of is that the life expectancy of a laptop is not as long as a desktop. If you like to play a lot of games, a laptop may not be the best choice for you either depending on the types of games you like to play. If you like puzzle, flash or other low resource intensive games you should be fine. If you like to play Mine-craft, first person shooters or other resource intensive games however, not only is it hard and expensive to get a laptop that can handle those games but it also puts a lot of stress on the electronics. It is also very expensive to buy a laptop that is designed to be able to run those types of games. Graphics cards in laptops are most often integrated into the motherboard on a laptop which means if you find a new game that your laptop is struggling with you cannot upgrade the card. If the graphics card goes out completely, then that means you are going to have to replace the whole motherboard. A lot of high end gaming laptops also have a lot of design issues that cause problems down the road. Since manufacturers are pushing the envelope to pack as much graphic and computing performance into a small package we tend to see a lot more issues with the gaming laptops.
I know that my list against laptops is long but I do think that they can be awesome, at the time of writing this I currently have 2 laptops I use for different things. I just want to make sure that if you are looking to buy a laptop that you are doing so for the right reasons. They can be great for having to work on the go or if you are a student that benefits from being able to bring your computer to class and other study sessions. It however is widely misconceived that a laptop is going to do the same thing that a desktop will.
This has nothing really to do between laptops and desktops but a side note about buying computers. I did not include all in one units into this and I will briefly state why. I am not a fan of all in one units. They have a lot of the disadvantages of a laptop and little if none of the advantages of a desktop. An all in one is pretty much a laptop with a larger screen and an external keyboard and mouse. They have the heat, performance and repair cost issues that a laptop has. A lot of people think that they are desktops with a screen. This is not true, they use laptop motherboards and components. In my opinion the only reason you should consider buying an all in one is if you have very limited space and you need a larger screen. Also with touch screens becoming more and more common tech these days you may want to think twice before you look at buying a touch screen laptop. They are cool and if you have a use for one and they certainly can be handy. Screen replacements however, are one of the most common physical repairs we perform on laptops. An LCD with a touch screen costs anywhere from 100-200 more dollars than a normal LCD screen just for the part itself.