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.

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, your workstation is better for your posture, your wrists, and your eyes.

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

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 laptops 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 computer:

  • 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 processors, Nvidia 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 its benefits such as:

  • Quickly processing images
  • Powerful graphics cards
  • Good general performance such as playing HD video.
Which are the best laptops for freelancers?
The wrong laptop can make your work an absolute pain. (Source: JESHOOTScom)

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 way 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 a laptops or as a stand-alone tablet.

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.

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 brands 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 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 harddisks 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 computer, Apple or Microsoft OS, the 21st century questions!

The Deciding Factor for Computers: Prices

You can spend anywhere between £250 and £3,000 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 synchronising 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?

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A student by trade, Daniel spends most of his time working on that essay that's due in a couple of days' time. When he's not working, he can be found working on his salsa steps, or in bed.