Choosing the Right Computer for Your Home

The debate between purchasing a desktop computer and a laptop is something that usually comes down to personal preference. If you want a large screen and don't need to take your computer around with you, a desktop is usually the better choice. If you are more mobile and want something you can bring with you, a laptop may be the better solution. However, advances in technology also give you some new options, including all-in-one desktops and tablet PCs.

Desktops

The traditional desktop computer is generally less expensive to purchase, easier to upgrade and can offer more power than a similarly-priced laptop. One reason desktops are less expensive is often because the monitor is sold separately. You can replace a desktop without replacing the monitor. Desktops are also bigger, meaning engineers don't have to pack small, expensive components into the tight space required by laptops. Because desktops aren't designed to be highly portable, you can usually get much larger monitors for a desktop, which is often preferable by those who play video games or watch movies on their computers.

Laptops

The main benefit of a laptop is that you can take it anywhere with ease. Even a large, fully-loaded 17-inch screen laptop designed for gamers can come in under nine pounds and can fit easily inside a backpack. The built-in battery also adds to the laptop's portability. You can close it, take it to the coffee shop or the park, and then open it without losing your work. With an HDMI port, you can even connect a laptop to your TV, giving you the advantage of a big screen when you want to watch a movie or play a game.

Ultrabooks and Chromebooks

For ultra portability in a laptop, Ultrabooks are an increasingly popular option. Today's Ultrabooks are no more than 0.7 inches thick with up to a 13.3-inch screen and a battery life of at least five hours. Due to their size, you won't find a lot of extra ports or add-ons in an Ultrabook, but if you want speed and reliability, these are a good option. For example, they can resume from hibernation when you open the lid in eight seconds or less. Although gamers and graphic designers won't find them very useful, for most applications they are quite powerful for their size. For those who always need to be connected, Chromebooks are another option. Chromebooks offer built-in cellular service, a low price and small size.

All-in-One Desktops

An interesting development in desktops in recent years is the all-in-one computer. Instead of separating the monitor from the computer, the computer components are placed behind an LCD screen, eliminating the box that would otherwise take up space on your desk or beside your feet. Although they aren't as portable as a laptop, you can easily pick them up and bring them to another room as needed. A wireless keyboard and a touchscreen monitor make these an elegant addition to a home office without taking up much room and without all the wires that come with a traditional desktop.

Tablet PCs

Many people today are foregoing laptops altogether in favor of tablets. While the tablets that were available just a few years ago resembled little more than large smartphones, today they pack all of the features and options found on a desktop, including the same Windows® 8 operating system. You can use the tablet's touchscreen for browsing the Internet or accessing your email. If you want to get some work done, just attach a keyboard that doubles as a case and you have a highly portable laptop.

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