Laptop computers have been around a long time and many of us use them. However, for those of you who are wondering what they’re all about and are deciding if you should get one, here’s some information that should help.
Whether you already own a desktop computer and want some additional mobility, or are about to purchase your first computer and are comparing laptops to desktops, here are my pros and cons about laptops.
First, let’s talk about what a laptop computer is in relation to this article. A laptop is a portable computing device that can comfortably fit on the user’s lap. Notebooks, usually thinner and lighter, but with full functionality, and netbooks, smaller and lighter than a notebook with functionality limitations, also fit nicely in this definition. However, for the purpose of this article, I’ll discuss the full-function laptop. And for those of you who’re just getting involved in using computers…adventurous souls all; this genre of computers has a built-in display screen, keyboard, and pointing device (touch pad). The processor and memory are contained inside and below the keyboard and the device has a hinge whereby the display folds down onto the keyboard for travel and to protect it. While there are variations on this configuration; this is the basic design. Okay…enough background already!
The advantage of using a laptop vs. a desktop computer is mobility, mobility, mobility. Its light weight, size and portability allow us to use it in almost any location we wish.
Because of this mobility we are much more productive, in that we can use it outside our home or office at times when we normally wouldn’t have access to our desktop. In fact, this portability allows us to have immediate access to information and applications at any time we choose.
Another attribute of this mobility factor is being able to connect to the Internet using wireless technology and therefore have access to the latest information at all times. This capability is made possible by either being in close proximity to a wireless Internet connection or use a cellular broadband-based wireless connection plugged into the laptop.
All good things have a down side and laptops have a set of weaknesses inherent in their design.
Their mobility, with all it’s advantages, causes them to be vulnerable to damage from being dropped, sat upon, stepped on, rained upon, and run over by a car…yes, I have had that happen by a user at work who supposedly sat the laptop on the parking lot surface while searching for her keys and then jumped in the car and proceeded to back over it.
Laptops can also be stolen very easily…possibly due to their superior mobility, light weight and small size. Seriously, they are much easier to steal. They can be hidden with little effort and are easily carried. While we’re talking about breaking the law…laptops, because of the personal information that is usually stored on them, are worth many times the price of the computer to criminals involved in identity theft.
On a technical note, laptops are not easily upgraded with faster processors, more memory, etc. in comparison to desktop computers. And finally, laptops usually cost more than desktops for the same performance level. In other words, laptops can for the most part be configured with the same performance enhancing processors, memory, graphic cards, etc. as a desktop, but at a higher price. However, if you’re using the laptop for Internet browsing and office productivity (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) you’ll not need a super-powered machine.
In my opinion, the laptop’s advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. That having been said, we should make every effort to avoid/cope with the effects of the disadvantages. I know…that sounds obvious and gratuitous, but remember the person who backed her car over her laptop; and just be careful and enjoy using yours.