The laptop vs. desktop PCs battle seems perpetual. Even though many households and professionals actually own (and can afford) both, laptops and desktop PCs are still duking it out in the computing arena. In fact, the fight is only heating up, with laptops getting more and more powerful due to the recent advances.
This laptop vs. desktop battle is even more apparent in the weeks leading up to the fall semester. Back-to-school season means that parents and students are in the market for a new device and wondering if it is a desktop PC or a laptop that is ideal for their needs.
Both come with their list of advantages – as well as disadvantages – and one is not really better than the other. It is more about every user’s specific needs and preferences. If you are torn, we are here to help. Let us take you through all the factors to consider to make an informed and wise decision.
A desktop PC is a static, stationary computer that will stay on a desk in an office or bedroom. It usually consists of various parts: a tower, monitor, keyboard and a mouse.
PCs are generally more customizable than laptops as well. You can put together top-of-the-line parts for every aspect of the PC when you choose a desktop computer, whereas your choices are more limited with a laptop.
A laptop, also called a notebook, is a portable, all-in-one device with USB inputs on the sides for optimal peripherals. Laptops have a built-in screen, a built-in keyboard, a trackpad that acts as a mouse and can vary in size.
Their size generally limits laptops but many modern batteries are big enough to provide twelve or more hours of power before recharging.
The Argument for a Laptop
A laptop is the best option for students going to school outside of the home every day and who need a computer for classes.
While laptops are more delicate than desktop PCs, you can now find rugged laptops that will take a fall or two without being destroyed.
Laptops are best used for light work: reading, word processing, streaming videos or social media. If you or your child wants to have the freedom to roam while using a computer, a fully charged laptop should last an entire day for working or learning.
The Argument for a Desktop PC
If you want a computer with a lot of versatility, a desktop is for you. Desktops can store huge files and run games with high-quality graphics easily. Desktops can also be changed to fit your needs.
You can add more storage, RAM and a better graphics card to improve your computing experience. Desktop PCs also do not run on a battery, so you can use them for longer without stopping to plug in and recharge.
You cannot easily transport a desktop computer to a school and set it up at your student’s desk at school would be a nightmare.
Desktop PCs are great for a home-schooled or distance learning scenario. A desktop computer can be used during the school day for learning and word processing and during off-hours for gaming and entertainment.
There are also all-in-one PCs which are stylish devices where their components are built behind the screen. This means they are easier to move and set up, as you don’t need to connect as many wires and take up less space on the desk. However, they are also more expensive and not so easy to upgrade as a regular desktop PC would.
The Best Buy
If a desktop PC and laptop have the exact specifications, the general rule is the laptop will be more expensive. Top-of-the-line laptops generally have higher price points than desktop PCs and they also have all the limitations listed above. High-end laptops are still an excellent investment because they can be used for gaming and streaming in addition to schoolwork.
A top-of-the-line desktop can be used more often by a distance learning student, with a lower upfront cost for parents. Eventually, upgrading the PC can be time-consuming and expensive, but the initial out-of-pocket costs do not have to be high.
In the end, buying a computer is not hard as long as you understand your needs. If you need to go to school every day and have a computer at your desk, a laptop is sufficient. However, if you are studying at home and also want to play games, stream and edit YouTube videos, a desktop is your best bet.
Let us know in the comment section whether you are planning on buying a laptop or notebook.