In this age influenced by technology, purchasing your own computer is necessary but with the overwhelming number of technologies available out there, choosing the right computer is no easy task.
The Personal computer as we know it has changed drastically over the years. Desktops are not extinct (yet) but are gradually been replaced in popularity by Laptops, which in turn are now threatened by tablets and 2-in-1s. All of these devices are computers but they have different priorities. Desktops are often the first choice when productivity is most important, some laptops are also high productivity devices but tablets are used mainly as consumption or entertainment devices.
So, which device is right for you? Desktop, laptop, 2-in-1 or a tablet? The answer is..... It depends on your needs, the task(s) you want to perform and of course your budget.
Let's take an in-depth look at these devices.
If you need
- a computer designed for life on the go,
- a truly mobile, thin and light weight device
- a device with at least 7 hours of battery life per charge
- an easy-to-use computer that can perform simple tasks like surfing the net, watching movies, creating and editing simple office documents, simple gaming etc
- a device with a small screen and little storage space for storing light weight files
- a cheap device
..then you should consider buying a tablet.
Unlike the conventional CPU, monitor, keyboard and mouse of a desktop computer or a laptop's keyboard, screen, and track-pad, tablets are simple, easy-to-use computers contained in a touchscreen panel. You navigate through all your content by simply tapping, swiping, flicking and pinching your fingers on the touch screen.
Most tablets use mobile processors and operating systems meant originally for smartphones. Because of this, they turn on right away like a smartphone (no booting), they are great on battery life and allow users to complete simple tasks effortlessly. Most tablets are thin, portable and lightweight with screen sizes as small as 7 inches and a maximum storage capacity of about 128GB.
Tablets are great media consumption devices which is perfect for the casual user. If you're buying a tablet, you are expected to use it for simple task like browsing the internet, watching movies and playing simple games. You can also turn the tablet into a simple office tool by installing office apps and/or buying accessories like a Bluetooth keyboard for better typing.
A tablet is relatively cheaper than a laptop, a 2-in-1 or a desktop computer.
However, the mobile processor used in tablets which is a major advantage is also a major disadvantage as tablets can only handle lightweight task. To perform more processor-intensive tasks like graphic design, video editing, gaming etc, you might want to consider buying a Laptop, a 2-in-1 or a desktop computer.
If you need:
- a computer designed for life on the go
- a portable device
- a device with 3 to 9 hours battery life per charge
- a complex system that can multi-task and handle processor-intensive task like photo, video editing and gaming
- a device with a large screen and large storage capacity
..then consider buying a laptop.
Although tablets offer numerous advantages over laptops, they cannot compete in some areas especially for users who want raw power to run demanding software like a 3D software, a video/photo editing software and complex games. That’s because laptops typically offer processing power that’s far superior to what typical tablets have.
Laptops have physical keyboards attached to them. For those who do a lot of typing, laptop keyboards can be more accurate than the on-screen keyboard of the tablet and are also more comfortable than the Bluetooth keyboard accessory of the tablet.
Laptops usually have wide screens (between 11 to 17 inches) which allows for multitasking. The storage capacity of some laptops (up to 2TB) is more than 1000% higher than a tablet's 128GB built-in storage. Ports, slots and drives like the USB port, Ethernet port, an optical drive and an SD card slot can be found in most laptops unlike most tablets.
Laptops can be very expensive. The cost of a laptop depends on its processor power/speed, storage capacity, portability and other features.
In summary, the average tablet is thinner, lighter, cheaper and has a longer battery life than a typical laptop. However, a laptop can multitask, its bigger, can handle simple as well as complex tasks and it's usually more powerful than a tablet.
If you need:
- a laptop and
- a tablet
..then a 2-in-1 convertible computer is probably the best option for you.
A 2-in-1 convertible or hybrid computer is a versatile and adaptable computer with a detachable or convertible touch screen. With a 2-in-1 PC, you can enjoy up to 4 different modes: laptop, stand, tent and tablet modes.
2-in-1s are kind of in-between a tablet and a laptop. They come with the advantages as well as the disadvantages of both a tablet and a typical laptop.
A 2-in1 PC is just as powerful as an everyday laptop with as much storage, processor power/speed, ports, slots and drives. It is usually bigger than a tablet with an 11 inch screen at least.
A 2-in-1 computer can be converted to a tablet thereby allowing users to comfortably watch movies or browse the internet in a touch screen display.
They are however more bulky than a tablet. They usually have better battery life than normal laptops but the battery life is not as good as that of a tablet and they are usually more expensive than a normal laptop with the same specs.
A 2-in-1 is a good buy only to those who need a laptop sometimes and a tablet sometimes... It's better than carrying two devices and its definitely cheaper than buying 2 devices.
- need a fixed work station
- have constant electricity supply
- need a complex system that can multi-task and handle processor-intensive task like photo, video editing and gaming
- need a device with a very large screen and large storage capacity
..then, a desktop computer might be perfect for you.
The biggest advantage of the desktop over the laptop is the ability to easily change the parts of a desktop and upgrade its component (such as a video card, hard drive, system memory etc) thereby keeping the machine up to date with the increasing demand of the digital world.
Note: Components on many "all-in-one" desktops aren't that easy to change as they're packed in behind the monitor.
Since they're designed for stationary use, desktops are less prone to damage. They're also less likely to be stolen as they're always in one place.
Desktops computers have large screens (between 15 and 30 inches) which is perfect for gaming and multitasking. A desktop is usually cheaper than a laptop with the same performance specs.
On the flip side, desktops require constant electricity supply as they do not have rechargeable batteries. For a country like Nigeria, a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is a must-buy when buying a desktop computer or you risk losing important unsaved documents when power fails.
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