how to choose a laptop or desktop
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Laptop or desktop computer: Which is right for you?

These days, consumers show an overwhelming preference for laptops over desktop computers. And why not? Today's laptops are powerful, offer great battery life and have Wi-Fi to liberate you from your desk. Those facts alone, however, don't mean that the desktop is dead. There are some situations where a desktop actually may be the best choice. So before you make a decision between a laptop or desktop, read this buying guide and weigh the benefits of each.

Benefits of a laptop computer

  • Portable: Want to work in the backyard or kitchen, or take it on vacation? A laptop computer goes everywhere with you.
  • Space saving: Cleaning up for the big dinner party? Just shut the lid on your portable pc and tuck it in a drawer. You can't do that with a desktop.
  • Energy saving: Portable computers and notebooks are designed to run on batteries, so they're far more energy efficient than any desktop and its add-ons, like a monitor and speakers.
  • Doubles as an entertainment center: Want to watch online videos or Blu-ray movies on a big screen? Just plug your laptop into your TV. Want to set the kids up with videos in a hotel room or your car? The laptop works there too.

Benefits of a desktop computer

  • Power and expandability: Desktop computers can be far more powerful than laptops, offering more options for expansion, such as larger storage disks for more software, pictures and video. Desktops can also pack in more powerful graphics cards (for sharper graphics and motion capture) and extra RAM too (for added storage).
  • Better for games: Laptops have grown more powerful, but the truth is, a desktop will always lead the way in gaming performance.
  • Larger screen: Desktops are available with much larger monitors than any laptop, which is an asset if you need the screen real estate to edit photos or video, or if you like having multiple windows open at once.
  • Better ergonomics: Let's face it, squinting down at a cramped laptop screen isn't great for your posture. A desktop with a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse can be easier on your wrists and neck.

Once your needs are clear, the decision to purchase either a laptop or desktop computer is actually an easy one. And if all else fails, you always have the option of buying both.

Now that you're up to speed on what computer format you need, brush up on common tech talk.

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