Desktop sales have been plummeting, and some experts predict that we will eventually replace PCs altogether with smartphones and tablets. However, it is important to consider your current computer needs before you definitely decide to purchase a laptop instead of a desktop. This is due to the fact that in some cases, desktops still rule.

1. Price Comparison

Laptop prices have been continuously falling throughout the past several years, and it is now possible to get one for less than $200. However, most experts agree that it costs at least $399 to get a laptop with any real power, and the price can shoot up dramatically when you add on more memory, a faster processor and a better graphics card. Desktops are usually the better deal when you compare power and other specs, especially if you already have a monitor. It is important to note, though, that specialty desktops can still cost more than $1,000.

2. Power Needs for Special Functions

One of the biggest perks associated with purchasing a desktop computer is that they typically offer more power for a lower price. This becomes particularly noteworthy for people who will be using their computer for photo editing, gaming and video editing. Additionally, laptop screens are getting progressively smaller, and this may not suit your needs if you will be utilizing your computer for special functions. After all, video games are more immersive on a larger screen.

3. Portability Issues

It is undeniable that laptops and even tablets are far and away the best choice for people who require easy portability. Some people will link their desktop to a device with better portability so that they can access their files from anywhere, but this still requires an investment into at least two devices instead of just one. Therefore, if you need to be able to quickly and easily take your computer with you wherever you go, it will be best to purchase a laptop.

4. Component Variations

Laptop manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to make their products lighter, more efficient and less expensive, but this comes with some pros and cons for consumers. For example, many of the newest laptop models do not come equipped with components that were previously standard such as a DVD drives. You can hook up an external drive, but this reduces your portability.

According to industry expert and Marketing Director Michael Bi of Shopping Express, this is creating a consumer divide:

“Although younger users are eagerly adopting a streaming and cloud storage approach, there are many consumers who still wish to use their physical DVD and CD-Rs. As a result, desktops have actually seen a slight resurgence during the past two years, and sales will most likely continue to grow.”

5. Out of Box Usage

If you want to be able to pull your new computer out of the box and get started almost instantly, then a laptop is definitely the right choice. You will still need to go through some basic setup steps, but laptops have a large out of box usage advantage because you do not need to hook up multiple components.

6. Keyboard Comparisons

Desktops naturally come with a better keyboard because they are larger and offer more room for nice extra features such as the side numeric keypad. This is very useful for people who frequently type numbers because it is more intuitive than the top numeric design. Of course, you do have the option of purchasing a separate keyboard or even just a side numeric keypad that can be hooked into your laptop. As with any other external add-on, these extras will reduce portability.

7. Upgrading Options

Almost every component within a desktop can be removed and upgraded with ease. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for laptops. Instead, laptop owners usually only have the option to upgrade their hard drive and memory. This can reduce the useful life of your laptop, which is something you should carefully consider if you need to get more than two to three years out of your purchase. On the other hand, if you invest in a laptop that has a fast processor and every other component you currently need, it is possible to receive a decent level of performance for several years.

Ultimately, the decision between a desktop and laptop computer should be based upon your most pressing needs. If portability trumps all, a laptop will be the wisest choice. However, if you desire power, a DVD drive or a large screen for the best possible price, you may need to invest in a desktop instead. Either way, make sure that you take proper care of your computer to make sure that you get the most out of your purchase.

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