New Computer Guide: Buying a Laptop vs. Desktop 1132

New Computer Guide: Buying a Laptop vs. Desktop

So, your old computer finally bit the dust, and now you’re faced with a decision. Laptop vs. desktop is a classic debate, and while laptops have certainly gained the upper hand as the computer of choice for most of us, there are still plenty of reasons not to completely ignore the desktop as your next computer purchase. These are the factors you need to consider to make an informed decision:


A wide variety of component options for both laptops and desktops means that price point can be pretty varied for either. That said, the starting price for a desktop is generally lower, and you can pay as little as $400 for a full package that offers a fairly powerful system. To get an equally powerful laptop, you’ll pay more, and a laptop that offers truly high speed, high-quality graphics and ample storage space, you can expect to plunk down at least $1,000. Of course, if the smaller memory and minimal hard drive of a notebook-style laptop meets your needs, there are plenty of bargains to be had.


There’s no contest here. Even the clunkiest laptops have it all over desktops when it comes to portability. Desktops are simply designed to be used in one place, while laptops are great for working on the go.

Screen Size

Your typical laptop screen ranges from 10” to 17”, although some of the largest laptop screens range up to 20 inches. Modern desktop monitors start bigger, typically 15”or more, and with the ability to hook your desktop up to a TV, the sky is basically the limit when it comes to screen size and resolution.


There are really no keyboard limitations with a desktop. Most desktop computers come with a full-size keyboard complete with a number pad, and you can also customize by switching out the standard keyboard for the model of your choice. Laptops are a bit more limited. Most don’t have a number pad, and many smaller lap keyboards omit some of the less frequently-used characters and shortcuts. Basically, the larger the laptop, the more advanced the keyboard, so it’s a matter of deciding what you need and what you’re comfortable with.


High-powered laptops are making big gains, but desktops still beat them out in just about every measurable way (processor, graphics, memory, local storage space, expansion ports, etc.) when it comes to power. There’s a reason most hardcore gamers use desktop computers. So if you need a computer with a highly advanced setup, a desktop is your best bet.

Ease of Assembly

Laptops are designed to be ready to use within minutes of taking them out of the box. Unpack it, put in the battery, plug it in, press the power button, and you’re off and running. Desktops don’t exactly require an advanced degree to set up, but they do take a little more time and effort.


If you plan on making upgrades or customizing your computer in any way, desktops are usually much easier to work with. Memory and hard drive are just about the only components you can upgrade on a laptop, while desktops are much more flexible, to the point that you can essentially build your own custom desktop from scratch if you have the know-how to do so.

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