by Paul Sanders
Your computer is possibly the most versatile piece of electronics that you own. But with all the options and features available for laptops and desktop computers, you may want to do a little research before you decide on your next computer. The most basic question to ask yourself is probably whether you want a laptop or a desktop computer. There are advantages to both laptops and desktop computers, so which computer you settle on depends on what your needs are.
Portability: Laptop computers are the obvious winner here; it's what they're designed for. And with the proliferation of Wi-Fi hotspots, you can have Internet access just about anywhere. However, a laptop computer is only as portable as its battery life. Desktop computers may be stationary, but they're always plugged in.
Upgradability: If you plan on upgrading parts and components on your computer yourself, desktop computers are a little bit easier to work with. Cracking open a laptop to swap out memory or a hard drive can take a bit more work, but it's possible. You can find a wide variety of replacement parts for both, but it tends to be easier to find parts that will fit for desktop computers because the desktop PC case has a lot more breathing room for awkwardly sized components.
Power consumption: There's no clear winner here. Power consumption depends on the number of components and the amount of power they use. That being said, high-end desktop computers lend themselves to large component upgrades, like video cards, which can use a lot of power and add some exceptional capabilities.
Multimedia: Desktop computers used to be the hands-down leader in this category, but manufacturers have made so many advances in miniaturizing and improving laptop components that you can have a media laptop for movies and even high-end games. Desktop computers still rule the high end of the spectrum for graphics, games and movies; but for everyday use, laptops can hold their own.
Price: The news is good for both laptops and desktop computers when it comes to price. You can buy either a laptop or desktop computer with decent memory, hard-drive capacity and even extras like webcams for less than half of what you would have paid several years ago.