A Guide in Choosing between a Laptop and a Desktop

If you are reading this, then you most likely are trying to choose between a laptop and a desktop for your next computer purchase. Well, I am going to share with you the thought process I went through when coming across that decision for myself not too long ago.

The information I am about to share stems from my research, as well as my experience. It is not meant to be an article of authority from a computer genius, just someone who has just been in your shoes recently, with an unbiased opinion.

What it’s going to boil down to is what your specific needs are, as well as your budget. The two have played a role in this decision for many of us over the years. However, the gap is closing on having to make such a specific decision, as the machines themselves are changing drastically as well.

Performance over Portability

It used to be that you would have to give up one, or the other. Not so much anymore, at least not for performance. A laptop’s performance level has improved, while the cost has come down to a much better and realistic price point.

While desktops still enjoy a reputation for better performance and price ratio, that gap is closing. So, while they hold a slight lead for performance, the laptop leaves them in the dust as to portability.

If you don’t plan on ever taking your computer with you, then you might opt for the desktop’s performance track record. However, if you plan on taking it with you, for either work or play, you have some decent options with a laptop’s performance now, without having to sign over your first born child.

Cost of Repair

Repairing any computer can be costly. However, repairing a laptop could end up costing more than a desktop, primarily due to the smaller scale components used within it. This leads to far more tedious labor for both repair and upgrades.

Another factor to consider is that if you are active with your laptop and on the move, chances are higher that you will experience some damage from dropping it, banging into to something, and even spills.


Ergonomics is the study and design of producing products and devices to actually fit the human body, rather than the body fight what isn’t a natural fit. This is meant to significantly reduce and help with the following:

Lower back pains
*  Stiff necks
*  Tired eyes
*  Carpal Tunnel

With the number of people working on computers on the rise, so is the need for ergonomics. It used to be that the desktop won in this category, hands down, due to the ease of application for ergonomics. In fact, keyboards, monitors and chairs are often well equipped with ergonomics.

However, the popularity of laptops has risen significantly with companies wanting more out of their employees, and individuals wanting to work on the run for their own businesses. So, the tools that allow laptops to be ergonomic have started to rise up to the challenge.

Dr. Tamara James at Duke Occupational and Environmental Safety’s Ergonomics Division shares some helpful tips for going ergonomic with a laptop in this video. She talks of using a docking system with external components to help make the use of a laptop more comfortable for the user.

You could also use a device that is designed to prop up the laptop, in order to use the monitor at an appropriate eye level, which should be directly in the center without bending the neck. Depending on the device, you may, or may not need an external keyboard to go with it.

So, no matter if you choose a desktop, or a laptop, you will be able to find relief for some of the ailments that have been associated with their use.


The Internet connectivity of both the desktop and a laptop are about the same, due to basic standards of technology for Cable/DSL and Dial-up modems, as well as wireless or Ethernet networking.

The main difference would be that the laptop user can take advantage of wireless networking in various areas you might want to use it, such as a café or library.


While all technology may be a target for theft, a laptop is far more vulnerable due to its portability and size. So, it’s best to secure it both externally and internally. In case of theft, make sure passwords are secure for the various sites you visit.

In Closing

There are pros and cons to both the desktop computer and the laptop. You will have to weigh them all, do some research on specific computers, and then carefully make the decision based on what features are most important to you, and what you are looking to get out of your machine.



Jason Munroe is a freelance writer, currently working on a series of articles on ergonomics with a Sacramento Chiropractic doctor. Jason lives in California with his family.

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