While it may seem like a difficult choice, the statistics paint a different picture: in 2017, sales of laptops went up by 30%, whereas there was a drop of 3% in desktop sales. Users are becoming increasingly mobile.

That doesn't mean that a desktop is without its advantages. It's far from an old-fashioned way to get things done. Let's not forget how comfortable it is to use and navigate.

In this article, let's have a look at everything you need to know before choosing one or the other.

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The Advantages of a Desktop Computer

A desktop computer provides stability, comfort, and ergonomy. A laptop is far from capable of doing this. A desktop can be used whilst seated at a desk, and your workstation is better for your posture, your wrists, and your eyes.

Which are the best gaming PCs?
Desktops are more adaptable and generally better for playing games. (Source: superanton)

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The main benefit of a desktop is just how adaptable it can be. Once you've got a monitor, tower, keyboard, and mouse, you have a lot of options when it comes to storage. You can choose whichever hard disk you want and install it. A desktop can always be state-of-the-art because you can:

  • Replace your current screen with a touchscreen.
  • Replace the components in the tower with newer parts.
  • Update your motherboard and graphics card without hiring an IT technician.
  • Add memory or storage.
  • Change your processor.

Did you know that a desktop's consumption is 250kWh as opposed to a laptop's consumption of 50kWh?

They're hungry, that's for sure! According to your needs, you can choose from a number of different types of desktop computers:

  • Mini PCs. These are good for casual users who just want to surf the net and don't want a big tower cluttering up the room.
  • Traditional Desktops. These include a large number of peripheral devices.
  • All-in-one Desktops. These computers can save you a lot of space because the screen is often a touchscreen, and they come with Bluetooth keyboards.

The biggest advantage: they're usually cheaper than laptops (by around 30%).

The biggest disadvantage: a desktop isn't portable and can be tricky to move around.

If you would like to know how much your new computer is going to set you back, check out our price guide to computers.

Why Should You Choose a Laptop?

When you choose a laptop, it's because you need to move it around. Let's not forget that you can still play games on them. You can get gaming laptops with AMD processorsNvidia graphics cards, etc.

You do, however, have to choose a laptop based on some very specific criteria as opting, for one thing, may cost you in another area. If you want a powerful graphics card, you might get less integrated functionality (unless you're willing to pay much more). You need to choose the computer based on the edge it provides you over the other. The benefits of a laptop can be a good reason to choose a laptop over a desktop, such as:

  • Quickly processing images
  • Powerful graphics cards
  • Good general performance such as playing HD video.

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Which are the best laptops for freelancers?
The wrong laptop can make your work an absolute pain. (Source: Pixabay)

You can also save a lot of money by opting for a laptop, given that it'll consume less energy than a desktop. It's also much lighter than a desktop. Ultralight laptops can weigh as little as 540g which is about the same weight as a book with 124 pages.

That's pretty cool, isn't it?

Of course, this is only a benefit if you have to constantly move your laptop. Larger and heavier laptops will tend to be more powerful and have great functionality. Only opt for really light laptops if it's absolutely essential.

Did you know that the firm Energy Star noticed that a laptop consumes between 50% and 80% less energy than a desktop?

There are also budget laptops with basic functions. When it comes to laptops, here are some of the best:

  • MacBook Pro
  • Surface Pro
  • Lenovo Thinkpad
  • Chromebook
  • Acer Predator
  • Lenovo Yoga
  • Asus Transformer

You can also get 2-in-1 laptops that act as both laptops or as stand-alone tablets.

The biggest advantage: ease-of-use and portability.

The biggest disadvantage: harder to upgrade, and the prices can vary massively for the same specs.

By taking IT courses, you can find out what you need in a computer - a make an informed decision on desktop vs. laptop!

For more details about computers, check out Superprof's IT guide.

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Choosing Between a Desktop and a Laptop

If you're looking for a guide on choosing a computer, look no further!

How do you keep your data secure?
The last thing you want is somebody gaining access to your computer. (Source: blickpixel)

Mac or PC? Choosing a Brand

When choosing computers, you need to know about each brand's strengths and weaknesses and the market itself. You need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which processor is the best for my needs?
  • Which brands offer the best connectivity?
  • What is my budget going to be?

Choosing a new computer can be stressful because there's often a new operating system (OS) and new functions. However, some models and brands are more accessible than others.

For example, Acer offers good value for money when it comes to entry-level computers, whereas an Apple MacBook is top in terms of technology. However, like all Apple products, this quality comes at a price that might go beyond some people's budgets.

What do I need it for?

For example, it is easier to use an external card reader or a DVD writer with a desktop rather than a laptop because not all laptops are guaranteed to come with USB ports anymore. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I need my computer? Work or home?
  • What kind of tasks will I be doing? Professional or personal tasks?
  • Will I be using a lot of data? Do I need hard disks or storage space?
  • Will I need to take it with me? Am I going to be moving around a lot?
  • How fast will it need to be?

RAM is an important aspect of computers. Generally speaking, you need at least 4Gb for advanced processes. However, there are also other criteria to consider. If you're going to be using a lot of programs at the same time, you'll need a lot of RAM to deal with it.

Different Functions of PCs

You should also think about what kind of things you'll be using it for:

  • Basic functions like word processing
  • Photo or video editing programs
  • For games, you'll need a powerful computer with an Intel Core processor
  • Professional usability and multitasking.

Buying a computer is a decision you'll need to think about carefully. You need to choose based on your wants and needs.

Comfort and Weight: Essential Criteria for PCs

There are other criteria that you need to take into account when buying a PC:

  • Physical comfort
  • Visual comfort

Whether you're getting a desktop or a laptop, you need to think about the size of the screen. Some desktops come with a built-in screen, which will save you a lot of space. There are different types of screens:

  • LCD
  • Full HD
  • Apple Retina or Pro Retina

For your visual comfort, think about specific functions like backlighting and antiglare so that your eyes won't get tired. If you're going to spend a lot of time looking at the screen because you do your work on your computer, you really don't want to be straining your eyes for extended periods of time.

You also need to consider your posture. You shouldn't spend a lot of time sitting with your laptop on your lap as it's terrible for your back.

Mac or Windows computerApple or Microsoft OS, the 21st-century questions!

The Deciding Factor for Computers: Prices

You can spend anywhere between $348 and $4182 on a computer! It would be silly to spend more than your budget and end up with a computer that isn't suited to your needs. That said, opting for cheaper models won't necessarily get you what you want in terms of quality, either.

Compare several models to get a better idea.

My computer is my life. I use it for work, photos, browsing the internet, and synchronizing with my phone. That's why I use a laptop as my main computer. This doesn't mean I don't have a desktop at home because it can be useful for a number of tasks as well as a workstation.

How Much Do Desktops and Laptops Cost?

You need to know that you can get some very affordable computers. However, there are a number of drawbacks. Entry-level computers will age quickly, and you'll find that, in a couple of years, they probably won't be powerful enough to run the latest software or games.

You can also get second-hand reconditioned computers. The second-hand computer market is growing, too. In many cases, these are just computers whose hard disks have been completely wiped and reset to their factory condition. As a result, they are often significantly cheaper than buying a brand new computer.

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How much do good computers cost?
Buying a good computer can be a serious investment. (Source: geralt)

Each type of computer has its advantages and disadvantages. The best computer is the one that does exactly what you need it to at a price you can afford.

So what are you thinking of getting?

Laptop vs. Desktop: Which Is Best For Students

In college, laptops or desktops are as crucial as your textbooks. It used to be a luxury considering its high price and the general lack of technology in the past, but now, a laptop is all you need.

Today, the academic reliance on computer technology has increased exponentially and will continue to grow in the coming years.

And even though laptops and desktops have almost the same functionality, choosing one over the other depends on your field of study and frequency of use.

Hence, while, as a student, you must buy a computer, you need to ascertain which one you should spend your money on – a laptop or desktop.

Why Do You Need A Laptop Or Desktop For College?

If you find yourself at this titular crossroad but keep asking yourself, "Should I buy a laptop or a desktop?" the answer may be a bit technical.

In order to decide which one would be more suitable for you, it is essential to determine why you need one in the first place. We know you need it for college or school, but you have to be specific.

Here are some common reasons why you might need a laptop or desktop:

  • The trend of online courses has been growing over the past few years, especially because of the pandemic. Therefore, if your school is still shut, having a decent PC is necessary
  • Most colleges function completely on online portals; this includes submissions, grading, and course work. Hence, to keep up with your professors and classmates, you need to have a computer
  • Almost all tasks, assignments, and research work you have to do throughout your degree will require online resources. Furthermore, some of them might be basic writing tasks, but others can even be software or graphic design-related, requiring a heavy-duty PC
  • If you are studying in college far from your home, you need to stay in touch with your family. A computer can help you do that and much more
  • Some students are fond of taking pictures. They might need a PC to back up their data or even to edit those pictures and videos. Editing software also require a well-equipped, top-of-the-line PC

Laptop For College

Once the reason for buying a computer is apparent, it becomes much easier to decide the more suitable option.

People usually opt for laptops to cater to flexibility and freedom as you can conveniently carry them around, which benefits students.  

Students are working collectively on their laptops
The benefits of a laptop, such as the portability, are why students opt for computer notebooks over desktops. As a student, being able to sit in the park, under the sun, having lunch with your friends while sending emails is a big plus (Source: Unsplash)

Some more benefits of a laptop include being able to take notes on it in class. There is no longer a need to carry a bag full of heavy notebooks when everything you need is on your laptop.

Even though any PC would work for college students, laptops make more sense for most of them as the freedom to move it around offers a convenient luxury.

What's more, students can even go on a trip with their assignment due. As long as they have their laptop, they can find a quiet corner and meet their deadline.

You can add more to the luxury by choosing a laptop with a lightweight frame with a screen size under 17-inches and a full-size keyboard—these types of laptops are also easy to open, close, and fit in the bag well.

Another thing that you might need to consider is the laptop's internal battery. It should provide you enough backup until you come back to a power source.

Moreover, if you need a laptop for basic writing tasks, you can buy one with a lower configuration. On the other hand, you might want to choose one with better specs if you require graphic designing capabilities.

And lastly, if you're buying a laptop for college, it should be durable enough to last for the duration of your degree, preferably through four years of undergrad.

Desktop For College

Most media students and gamers in college opt for a desktop as it allows them to have a big-screen experience and better specifications than a laptop in the same amount of money.

A student is playing a video game on their desktop PC
When comparing laptop vs. desktop for gamers, they usually choose the latter because it allows them to have an unrivaled, quality gaming experience compared to bare-minimum specification laptop (Source: Unsplash)

Desktop is also often considered more comfortable to work on for longer hours as the screen height, keyboard, and mouse placements are adjustable.  

Moreover, a desktop is entirely upgradeable, so you can improve functionality with just a bit more investment when it's nearing obsoletion.

In contrast, if the laptop becomes outdated, you would most likely need to buy a new one. This feature makes the desktop more economical and hence suitable for college students.

According to this logic, the desktop also helps you keep up with the latest technology. Hence, a desktop will be the best fit for you as a college student if staying up to date is your priority.

Lastly, if you get a big monitor, your desktop can even double as a TV. And while it is also possible to watch shows and movies on your laptop, a bigger screen is the better option if you have people over.

And since you will have your homework and entertainment on one platform, it will also teach you to multitask and manage your work.

Should I Get Desktop Or Laptop For College: The Verdict

Desktops and laptops both serve the same primary purpose to college students. However, for most pupils, the mobility of laptops is a significant enough factor in swaying their decision.

On the other hand, the media or software students editing videos and programming software would usually opt for desktops.

A desktop monitor shows a coding task being run
Many college students have the same questions, "Should I get a desktop or laptop for college?" however, evidence has proven that most programmers and graphic designers opt for desktop s because they allow multitasking and upgradability (Source: Unsplash)

This is because students can customize the desktops as per their needs. While in laptops they don't have as much choice.

Since e-gaming has become a credible sport and career option, some students may also opt for desktops.

They are ideal for gaming and watching movies as they have a larger screen size, storage, and the power isn't limited to the battery.

The benefits of a laptop or desktop are subjective to each student's priority. So what you consider an advantage or a disadvantage relies on what you need the PC for.

Hence, it is entirely user-specific and depends on preferences. So, before deciding which computer to buy, it's better to run your priorities through specific criteria.

Here are a few things you need to consider while buying a laptop or PC:

  • Size: The size of PC matters a lot. If you buy a desktop but don't have space to accommodate it, it might not be any good for you
  • Portability: A lot of people opt for laptops over desktops due to their portability. According to HP, in 2008, the sale of laptops exceeded desktop because of their portability. That was the first year when the popularity of laptops went up, and since then, it has only gone higher
A student is explaining a task, and other students are working on their laptops
Many students have one question before buying a PC, "Should I buy a laptop or a desktop?" This entirely depends on the personal choice of the student. Albeit, a laptop is easier to carry, maintain and use out of the box (Source: Unsplash)
  • Cost: As a student, you might want to make a more economical choice. Since a desktop costs way less than a laptop with the same configuration, opting for a desktop might be more suitable
  • Internal storage: There is room for more than one HDD or SSD in desktops, while this choice is limited in laptops. So you can add more internal storage if you need more on a desktop, while the only option in laptops is to replace the drive completely
  • External storage: Desktop and laptops can both be connected to external storage; however, there are fewer ports in laptops
  • Screen size: If a bigger screen is your priority, buying a desktop would serve you well. You can buy as big a monitor you like, and from whichever brand you like
  • Power usage: Laptops run on battery, so they use a lot less power than a desktop PC. Moreover, if the power shuts down for some reason, you may lose all your work on a desktop while you won't face any such issue with a laptop
  • Upgrading: Desktops are entirely upgradable, while the laptops only have selective options. If you like to keep up with technology, a desktop might be your solace
  • Gaming: The gaming performance of a high-end desktop dwarfs the capabilities of a high-end laptop. You can play on it for long hours without worrying about the system overheating
  • Repair: It is much less costly and easier to get a desktop repaired than a laptop, as you can conveniently find its parts on any hardware store at lower prices.

In conclusion, you can do a laptop vs. desktop analysis all you want, but the only thing that can assist you in making the right decisions is analyzing your own requirements and needs.

And once you've bought a laptop or PC, you can take up a computer course to become an expert. Superprof can help you find the best computer teacher in your area.

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