Buying a New Computer – Desktop, laptop or tablet?

Not so long ago, buying a new computer was a relatively simple matter. Originally, there was only the traditional desktop computer and then came laptop computers and, even more recently, all-in-one desktops and tablet PCs. Sales of the latter three have skyrocketed in recent years, with the traditional desktop computer being described by many as a dying breed. However, the matter is rather more complex and, for the foreseeable future, the desktop computer will still fill a niche which cannot be replaced by the more mobile-orientated technology which is dominating the markets today. Other types of computers also have their advantages which make them more suitable to meet different demands. If you are thinking of buying a new computer, consider the following options and their various merits and demerits.

Desktop Computers

Having dominated both home and office computing since the nineties, the bulky desktop computer is rapidly falling to the sideline and sales continue to decrease steadily. However, does this mean that the desktop is a relic of past times? Absolutely not.

Desktop computers simply cannot compete with any other type of computer in terms of features, performance and upgradability. Nonetheless, this does not mean that they are the best choice for the average computer user any more.

Desktop computers are still, and will continue to be for the time being, the first choice for power users and gamers. While portable devices are designed more for everyday computing tasks such as Internet browsing and messaging, desktop computers are, other than in terms of portability, far more versatile. They are highly customizable and upgradable and remain the best option for productivity and high-end applications rather than just everyday computer tasks.

If you enjoy video games, a desktop is the best option. For business and productivity, desktops generally remain the best choice as well, except for when portability is required.

Laptop Computers

Laptop computers come in various sizes. There are the standard-sized machines which often offer performance and features close to those of a desktop computer and there are the ultra-portable but low-spec netbook computers. Some laptop computers are just as powerful as some of the high-end desktop computers available. If you enjoy the latest video game titles in all their glory, there are laptop computers which can deliver the required performance.  The biggest advantage, of course, is that you can move them around. You can work or play in the kitchen, in the office, in the living room or even on the move.

If portability is a must, then a laptop is the obvious choice. To enjoy the luxury of portability, however, you will have to be content with the smaller screen size, lack of upgradability and generally lower specifications. Laptops described as desktop replacements, while offering exceptional performance which compares to that of high-end desktops, come at a much higher price tag.

All-in-One Desktops

An all-in-one desktop is a convenient solution to meet the requirements of most casual users. They are characterized by having everything in one unit. The computer hardware is located in the same unit as the screen itself. Most all-in-one desktops also have touchscreens, making them ideal for the highly touch-orientated Windows 8. They also take up less space and offer a limited degree of portability compared to desktop computers. All-in-one desktops are more than adequate for common computing tasks such as everyday productivity, Internet browsing and even the occasional game. They also tend to be very cheap.

For casual computer users, an all-in-one desktop is the perfect choice. For those wanting upgradability, high performance and plenty of features, they fall short in a variety of ways. They are not very upgradable and they do not offer the power of their desktop counterparts. This makes them a bad choice for gamers and those who use high-end productivity applications.

Tablet Computers

The sales of tablet computers have risen enormously in the past couple of years and with good reason too. They offer the very best when it comes to portability and they are fairly affordable too. However, anyone thinking of buying a tablet computer must realise that they also have their very considerable limitations. Tablet computers are designed for surfing the Internet and digesting content rather than productivity. With touchscreens and a complete lack of a keyboard, they will never replace other types of computers when it comes to writing documents, designing websites, playing high-end video games and using other productivity applications.

Most computer users use their computers for email, Internet browsing, messaging and other basic tasks. For those who want to do this on the move, a tablet PC is a good choice. Nonetheless, it is also important to remember that these machines are very low-powered and specifications typically come nowhere near those of even budget laptop computers. They lack storage space for large audio and video collections, they lack computing power and they cannot be upgraded.

Tablet computers will continue to become more popular, however, since they fulfil the requirements of many people. With the highly tablet- and touchscreen-orientated Windows 8, tablet computers will no doubt become even more popular over the coming years.

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