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How to Choose Between a Desktop, Laptop, or Tablet

We live in a digital world where electronics consume the vast majority of our attention, whether we’re at home, in the office or at school, but it can be difficult to decide between devices. Do you need something that has tons of processing power to write and compile lines of code? Or do you just want something that you can use to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with? If you’re in the market for a PC or tablet, here are the questions you should ask yourself before you buy.

How Much Power do I Need?
If you know you’re going to be looking at large spreadsheets or handling monstrous data files, you can pretty much count tablets out. While tablets are cheaper and easier to carry, they lack any kind of real processing power. Desktop PCs have large processors and plenty of RAM to take on any kind of large project. While a Desktop won’t be as portable as a laptop or a tablet, you won’t ever have to worry about its capabilities. However, laptops have become more and more impressive as technology has improved. Unless you are dealing with out of the ordinary data files, a laptop will likely work just fine.

How Often do I Travel For Work?
When you’re a businessman on the go, being able to work on planes and trains is essential. If you travel for work, you already know how important it is to prepare for meetings while you jet around the country or the globe. When traveling, thin laptops are the best tool for both entertainment and business purposes. You obviously can’t take a desktop onto a flight and a tablet might be great for reviewing documents, but it can’t provide you with the tools you need to get serious work done. A laptop will give you the ability to edit spreadsheets and write code (or watch movies and play games on your break).

How Much do I Want to Spend?
Electronics aren’t cheap; a decent desktop computer can cost you $600. When deciding on the right device or machine, make sure you’re considering how much you’re willing to spend. An Apple iPad can range from $250 to almost $500 depending on the quality. Whereas the Amazon Fire tablets range from $35 to $110 with all of the same bells and whistles as an Apple IPad. The overall quality of the iPad might be slightly higher but you can easily save a boatload of money by opting for the Fire tablet. However, if you need a device to conduct business as well as entertain yourself, you should probably opt out for a laptop or a PC. If you like to read when you travel, it might be a good idea to purchase a Fire tablet or Kindle in addition to a laptop.

Do I Work Mostly at Home or the Office?
If you’re working a standard 9 to 5 job, it’s probably best that you purchase a desktop for your home and one for your office if the company you work for doesn’t provide one or you work for yourself. However, if commute back and forth from the office fairly often, a laptop is going to be much more practical and convenient. Consider purchasing a monitor for your place of work for dual screen capabilities.

What Works Best For School?
If you’re headed off to college, you want your things to be as minimalist as possible. While you might be able to fit a desktop on your tiny dorm room desk, that space might be better utilized with a simple laptop. One approach is to purchase an iPad with a keyboard case for notes in class, then take advantage of the computers in the school library when you need some serious processing power. Depending on your school, you might run the risk of not having a computer available when you need one last minute. When it comes to scholarly endeavors, a laptop is probably your best bet, as it’s convenient for giving classroom presentations and writing papers at your favorite coffee shop.

There is no wrong way to purchase the device(s) you need—just make sure you consider what you plan on using your devices for and try not to spend more than you need to!

Staff Writer

All articles published by Staff Writer have been contributed by all our reporters and edited and proofread by our editorial team.
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