What To Buy – Desktop, Laptop, or Tablet?
(As featured in 50Plus Seniors News – Redefining Age)
Can you picture yourself sitting in your backyard watching the roses bloom while “surfing the net”? Or perhaps you’re traveling on a plane with your tablet tucked into your carry-on luggage. Maybe you’re even snuggled up all comfy in your bed answering emails. On the other hand, you might be sure you’ll use the computer only in the warmth of your den and have no intention of moving it. Read on to help you decide whether a desktop, laptop, or tablet best suits your needs.
A desktop and a laptop function in exactly the same way, using the same software and allowing you to access the Internet. They both have the same basic hardware (monitor, keyboard, and mouse). They also have the capability of being plugged into a printer or other peripherals using ports. A desktop, which is not portable, comes at a significantly lower price point than a laptop computer. Smaller technology equals higher prices.
What’s the difference between a notebook and a laptop computer?
I once posed a similar question to a farmer when visiting the Berkshires. “What’s the difference between a pig and a hog?” I asked. “Way you spell it,” he answered. That is the same answer for the difference between a notebook and a laptop computer. Two names for the same thing.
A netbook (don’t mistake it for a notebook) is a small, lightweight, and inexpensive laptop. A netbook averages 2 to 3 pounds and the screen is quite small—they measure between 5 and 10 inches. Netbooks are less expensive than laptops and can be purchased for as little as $200.
How does a tablet compare to a computer?
A tablet is a computer. The distinction is that a tablet is fully contained in a single panel and it utilizes touch screen technology. So instead of using a mouse to navigate, you simply tap the screen to take an action. The keyboard is even integrated into the touch screen. A tablet can do pretty much anything a desktop or laptop computer can do, but the only option for adding software (referred to as apps) to a tablet is by downloading it from the Internet (there is no CD or DVD drive).
The other significant difference is portability. As small and light as a laptop may be, a tablet can be slipped into a handbag or even a large pocket. The sacrifice that you make for something portable like a laptop or tablet is that everything is smaller. You may find some laptop screens difficult to view. If a laptop screen feels too small for you, a tablet screen might seem impossible. And if your hands are large, you may feel cramped using the keyboard or mouse on a laptop or the touch screen on a tablet. But for some people, it is infinitely more important that they can take their technology with them, even if it is a little harder to see or type.
So why not buy a tablet if you want something portable?
If you’re working with complex spreadsheets, heavily designed documents, or lots of typing, the smaller format of a tablet can make the task more difficult to manage than it would on a laptop. Also, if you need to use a particular software program, be sure there is a version available online for a tablet.
The best way to decide is to test-drive each choice for yourself. It’s your eyes that need to be able to see the screen and your hands that will be tapping on the keyboard. Click here for a printable test-drive form to bring with you.
I’ve put together my four recommendations of a desktop, a laptop, an android tablet, and a Fire tablet to consider when you make your next tech purchase. Click here to visit my Store to see more about each suggestion and a lot of other groovy tech gadgets hand-picked by me.