Laptop or Desktop? 5 Things to Help You Decide

| November 2, 2012

desktop vs. laptopUpdating your home computer and not sure what to buy? The choice between a laptop and a desktop PC isn’t as easy of a question to answer as laptop computers continue to become more advanced. The decision will come down to what features you want and how you plan to use it. Read these tips and, when in search for a new computer, don’t forget to start your search for a computer store at DexKnows.


Where you plan to use the computer plays a large part in what to get. If you work from a home office or plan to use the computer in one specific place, then you may want to lean toward a desktop computer. A desktop can be run for long hours with less concern about overheating, and you don’t have to worry about transporting it easily when you plan to install it on a permanent basis.

On the other hand, if you are on the go, a laptop is your contender. You can store everything on your laptop and other portable devices, especially as storage capacities on laptops increase, and head off to class, the coffee shop, vacation or wherever else you may be headed.


How much speed matters will depend on what your primary use will be. For surfing the Web, reading and sending emails and other routine tasks like typing or looking at photos, either a laptop or a desktop will do the job nicely. The difference in speed leans toward the desktop if you want a computer on which to play games or do more extensive graphic design work. Laptops are catching up in technology but are still behind in power compared to desktop PCs. While there are gaming laptops out there, they tend to be more expensive than regular laptops.

Specifications and updatability

When buying a computer, some of the key specifications are memory RAM, the graphics card, CPU and hard drive. Higher RAM lets you run more programs at once, and the strength of the graphics card influences how well your computer can handle tasks like watching movies and playing games. The CPU is basically what impacts the performance of the computer, while a bigger hard drive lets you store more programs and files.

Laptops are advancing to the point where many have the same CPU as a desktop PC. Where they may be lagging are RAM and hard drive. You can upgrade RAM and the hard drive or get an external hard drive for more storage space, but other features either aren’t as easy to update or can’t be updated. This is where desktop PCs continue to come out on top.

Screen size

Screen size is largely a personal choice depending on what you plan to do and, if using a laptop, how portable you need to be. Laptop screens vary from 10 inches for netbooks to 16 inches for desktop replacement laptops. The bigger screen lets you see more items at once while a smaller screen is all you need to type or surf the Web. A 14.1-inch screen may be a good compromise point.

Desktop PCs usually come with external screens, which offers more flexibility and a choice of upgrading to a larger screen. Screens may go as high as 24 or 27 inches. This, however, is also an option with most laptops because you can hook the laptop up to the larger screen and use it.


Price is often the breaking point. Consumers can buy a desktop PC with comparable features for less than a laptop computer. Repairs on desktops also tend to be cheaper and not all parts on a laptop computer can be easily fixed. If price is a major determining factor, you may want to venture down the desktop aisle of a the store first.

These are just some general tips on buying a computer. What you want will largely be determined by your own lifestyle and needs. Weigh each factor and research what’s offered on any computer you are looking to buy. Don’t forget to start your search for a local computer store on DexKnows.

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Category: Computers, Tech

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Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.