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Desktop or Laptop - Consumer Guide That Helps You Choose What You Need

Aug 29, 2007
Laptops have a great advantage in terms of their portability. If you carry a laptop with you, your applications and documents are always immediately available. With a wireless modem, your laptop can also access the Internet while on the go, so you can virtually carry your office with you and be more productive.

Desktops score over laptops in price to performance ratio. Although laptop prices have come down while performance has increased still most desktops offer a better price-to-performance ratio. Desktops also hold some ergonomic advantages over laptops but when it comes to foot print desktops will take up considerably more space in your apartment or office.
So your decision should be based primarily on how you plan to use your computer and how much budget you can allocate for it.

Weight, size and portability

A typical laptop weighs between 2 and 3.5 kg but there are "ultralight" models available which are also much more expensive. Typically the "ultralight" models coming with docking bay and do not have integrated devices like an internal optical (CD/DVD) drive.

Whereas a classic desktop computer, with its standalone system unit (CPU), CRT monitor, and keyboard, can easily weigh 35 Kg. So if you regularly want to access the contents of your computer whether at home, office or on the road, the portability becomes an important criterion. Laptops naturally have a smaller footprint than desktop computers, although with the advent of LCD monitors and compact tower cases desktop computers' footprint have reduced in recent years.


The major downside of portability is ergonomic because the laptop's miniature size makes its use less comfortable and physically taxing. The size of the keys especially in "ultralight" models and the pointing devices generally used such as touchpad are found to be highly uncomfortable to many users. On the contrary, the desktop computer's design has evolved over years to ease the comfort of users.

Desktop's display can be adjusted at eye level, and the keyboard allows for proper positioning of your back, arms, and wrists. These are important concerns, especially when you use your computer for prolonged periods of time.

However you can improve laptop ergonomics by adding a standard keyboard. mouse and an external larger display to it when you return to your desk but this means more budget which may not be feasible for everyone. Nonetheless, an external mouse is an affordable option and sort of must have if you plan to use the laptop for many hours everyday.

Cost and reliability

Desktops are approximately 1/2 to 2/3 the price of a comparable laptop. Although the overall prices have declined, price gaps still exists, largely because of the higher cost of laptop displays and the added cost of miniaturized technology. Due to their size, laptops require smaller, more intricate components and more tedious labor resulting in more costly upgrades and repairs.

Desktop computers can be assembled by one from components but it is not the case for Laptops and they are still available only from manufacturers. So usually a higher reliability can be attributed to a laptop than an assembled desktop PC. It is a good idea to check out manufacturer websites as well as product review websites to make some research and comparison before actually choosing one.

Theft and Security

A laptop's small size and portability make it more vulnerable to theft and damage. Unless you can lock or secure your laptop, you should take it with you wherever you go. It is unfortunate that insurance companies in India do not cover laptops outside the insured premises and so you have to be always alert about it when you are carrying the laptop with you.


In summary, Desktops provide powerful performance from a fixed location at less cost and generally they are more comfortable for prolonged use. Laptops provide powerful performance from virtually anywhere at any time and this will cost you roughly one-third more.

If you want to take advantage of the portability and increased productivity, then the extra expense for laptops may be well worth it. If portability and the extended access it provides are not important, then a desktop makes more sense.
About the Author
Jaydeep Bhattacharjee writes on consumer issues concerning the Indian consumers. He is the founder of http://www.admanya.com - India's leading C2C portal. Admanya is free and it completely depends on consumer participation for its content. Join Admanya and be an empowered consumer - you can read or write a review about almost any product or service.
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