Laptop vs Desktop:
Should You Buy a Laptop or Desktop
You’re looking at new computers to help you on your way to becoming a great graphic designer, and now you need to decide if you want a laptop or desktop. In this article I will go over some of the benefits and downfalls of both to help you make your decision.
I will say that eventually you will probably want to have both a laptop and desktop incorporated into your workflow but I understand that starting out, it’s hard to afford one computer let alone two. But when you start getting those clients and getting that experience you might want to think about your workstations and what is the best fit for you and the best fit for you right now. Keep in mind that situations change and either way you just want to focus on getting the best quality machine you can afford—that’s your number one factor when choosing your next machine.
- Portability and mobility.
If you’re a student or already have some clients but don’t have an office to hold meetings in, laptops are a great choice. By having a machine that you can take with you from class to the library or to the coffee shop to meet clients with, you have a certain freedom that comes with cutting the cord of desktops, which greatly increases your productivity.
- Internet connectivity.
With today’s society, Wi-Fi and hotspots are everywhere. You can easily connect to the internet no matter where you are. You can even turn your phone into a mobile hotspot to allow you to access the internet even from the remotest parts of the world.
- Power usage
Because you can run on a battery, you are not without a computer should the power go out. It’s also has the capability to use less power by being able to unplug it from the wall and not jack up your energy bill.
I know what you’re thinking—but you said this was an advantage, how can this be a disadvantage? It is because if you’re constantly taking your laptop with you everywhere you go, you increase the risk of damage to it. It can take a hit in your bag or spilling something on it, or even worse, having someone steal it from you. If it gets stolen, then you have an even greater risk of identity theft as well if they can access your accounts on your computer.
- Upgrading/additional hardware
It is possible to upgrade laptop components but due to their compact size it might be harder to literally put in the new upgrades if your case doesn’t have the room for it. Also because of their compact size, you have a lot smaller screen to work on, and depending on the projects you are working on, screen real estate is a key factor in productivity. You can always have an external monitor you hook your laptop up to, but it’s just another expense you have to consider.
Because your desktop is usually safe in your house or office, and the size of the desktop, it is often more durable than a laptop. You have less risk of dropping it, spilling something on it, or it getting stolen.
Often times desktops are a lot cheaper to buy than laptops with comparable specs, especially if you already have a monitor or spare TV you can turn into a monitor in a pinch. With the cheaper price you might be able to get that extra big monitor you would have wanted even if you bought the laptop.
Because desktops have many capabilities, you can easily customize your monitor, keyboard, and mouse easily without spending a lot of extra money as you would have done on a laptop. You can also easily set up your desktop in a way that is most comfortable and ergonomic which helps you in the long run if you spend a lot of hours at the computer. You can do the same with a laptop setup but you need to constantly adjust the laptop set up every time you move your computer, whereas with a desktop, it’s just once and you’re set.
- Power usage
If you leave your computer constantly running or your monitors on all day and night, your power bill is going to go up a bit. You also won’t be able to use your computer should you have a power outage, and you’re just out of luck till it comes back on.
If, like mentioned above, the power goes out, you can’t simply pick up your computer go to the coffee shop across town where the power is still on, and continue working. You also can’t bring your computer into meetings with you to make presentations so you will need to spend more money on secondary devices.
When trying to decide whether a laptop or desktop is better for you, consider your schedule and how you work best. Do you like to have a certain place to work with limited distractions in your house, or do you do your best work with some ambiance? Do you have multiple classes to go to where you need your computer or do you have an office where clients come to you for meetings? You need to look at your situation now and make the best choice for yourself, and keep in mind, you can always invest in both types of machines at a later date when you have some money saved up.
I will include some links below both desktops and laptops I have used, researched, or currently use. Always keep in mind the specs you need for any computer that you will be doing majority of your work on. I have an article about some basic specs to keep in mind when looking at computers here.
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