Laptop vs Desktop: The Ultimate Head-to-Head


When you’re faced with the need for a new computer, you always have to ask yourself whether it’s going to be a laptop vs desktop. 

The idea you have of what you want might not actually be the option that works best for your needs, so it’s important to explore the pros and cons of both. There are benefits unique to a laptop computer, just like there are special perks to buying a desktop computer. 

Laptop vs Desktop
Laptop vs Desktop

So, let’s look at some ideas on the pros of buying a desktop, followed by those of buying a laptop, and see which one is best for you. 

The Benefits of Buying a Desktop

It might seem like a no-brainer to get a laptop in any circumstance. Why would you buy a computer that doesn’t move over one that can go anywhere you want it to? 

Well, it turns out that portability comes with its costs. Funnily enough, the first cost that portability offers is, well, cost.

Desktops are More Affordable

Many desktop computers are pricey, we’ll grant you that. You might only see desktops that reach prices upwards of $1,000 on the sites you browse. Mac desktops, for example, can be very costly.

Desktop PC
Desktop PC is Much Better

Other companies offer more affordable desktops, though. If you’re not convinced, just take a look at When you’re comparing the prices of laptops vs desktops, it’s important to take a look at the features that computers have. 

Generally speaking, laptops that have the power of a desktop are far more expensive. Desktops can come equipped with larger parts that function in a smoother fashion compared to their laptop counterparts. 

Cramming specs into a smaller frame is expensive, and that’s reflected in the price. So, if you’re looking for a computer that can run powerfully on a budget, a desktop should be the first thing you look at if you can do your work at home. 

Desktops Have More Processing Power

CPU speed is an essential part of your decision to buy a laptop. This essentially determines how smoothly you’ll be able to run complex programs, download files, and produce graphics. 

These functions are carried out by processor cores. Some computers have a number of processing cores, and this allows you to do multiple things at once without sacrificing quality at all. 

Laptops that have the same or similar hardware specifications will operate slower than desktops will. This is because desktops are able to generate more power and have better cooling systems. So, just because a laptop has lavish components, a desktop with the same components will typically work faster. 

You’ll Be Able to Operate Programs Better

Those of you who run complex programs like the Adobe Suite or ProTools for work will be happy with the processing power that desktops provide.

Desktop Computer
Desktop Computer

If you’re dependent on using sophisticated computer software for long periods of time, you might find that a laptop doesn’t quite hold up. If it does hold up, it will likely burn out a lot sooner than a desktop would. 

The same goes for individuals who spend a lot of time gaming. The kind of power and computing necessary to run games for a long time will require the kind of processing that a desktop provides. 

You might be able to find laptop models that can function well for you in the respects above, but it’s going to cost you significantly more than the desktop would. 

Desktops are More Customizable

Another factor in desktops is the fact that you can typically mix and match parts as you please. If you find that one element of your computer isn’t suiting your needs, you can simply invest in a new component instead of buying a new computer altogether. 

Unless you’re particularly computer savvy, you’ll need to bring your desktop into the shop to have the repairs done, but you’re able to improve the overall quality of the computer with a few simple investments. 

It’s more difficult to make those adjustments with laptop computers, and the changes are going to be a little more expensive if you can make them in the first place. 

Larger Screens

This one doesn’t have too much to do with the actual function of the computer, but it’s important all the same. 

You can scale up the size of your screen as much as you want on a desktop. This is useful for those who want to game, run music recording software, watch movies, or do anything else that’s improved when you have more space to see. 

It seems like a trivial thing until a piece of your work is impacted by the fact that you can’t get everything you want on the screen. 

Better Ergonomics

Finally, an important factor in desktops is that it’s better for your body to use them for long periods of time.

Desktop with large screen
Desktop with large screen

Generally speaking, your arms should be bent at the elbows as your hands stick straight out to type. You should sit with an upright posture, and your eyes should be facing directly in front of you at the screen. 

These factors benefit your lower and upper back, your neck, and the general alignment of your spine. If you’re someone who’s spent a lot of time working on laptops, you know that it’s difficult to find a spot where your back feels alright. 

If you’re someone who doesn’t spend most of their day on a computer, this might not be as applicable to you. That said, those with a career that depends on using a computer should explore desktop options. 

There are a lot of accessories that you can buy to improve the ergonomics of your laptop experience, but those are going to cost you a pretty penny. 

The Benefits of Buying a Laptop

The information above might have given off the impression that laptops are no good. This is absolutely untrue, as we’ll soon discuss.

Laptop User
Laptop User

Laptops are exceptional options for millions of people who live and work on the move. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits that laptops provide. 

Portability and Freedom of Use

The main benefit of laptops, of course, is the fact that you can take them anywhere and they function well wherever you are. 

If you’re connected to a strong wifi connection and a power source, they’ll work better but anything that you have to do off of the web can be performed anywhere in the world. 

This is crucial for people who live on the road, do a lot of traveling for work, or find themselves in a lot of places and need regular access to a computer. 

Having that access allows you to work, enjoy media, communicate with people, game, or make art wherever you are. That’s a radical difference from the access that humans have had to connection and creation throughout human history. 

Potential Processing Power

Just because desktops have stronger processing power doesn’t mean that laptops are anything to turn your head away from. The processing power available in most laptops will be more than enough for anyone who uses their computer “normally.”

Powerful Laptop
Powerful Laptop

Normal use implies that you’re not running programs that are too complex and that most of your activity takes place online. Those who work from an online platform or use their computer to connect with friends don’t need excessive processing power. 

If you’re planning to do a lot of gaming, you might want to invest in a computer with a little more processing power. While it’ll cost a little extra, you’ll be able to run your games from wherever you can find an internet connection. 

Compatibility with New Devices and Tools

The beautiful thing about laptops is that you can set them up to function in a desktop setting if you need them to. 

In other words, you can connect your laptop to a monitor, use an external keyboard and mouse, and operate things like you were running a desktop. Additionally, it’s easy to connect your devices to televisions, link up with nearby phones, and more. 

You can also situate the laptop in your home to fit your ergonomic needs. Sitting with the computer on your actual lap is convenient, but it can lead to some back and spine problems over time. 

Laptops can typically link up or adjust to fit any situation you need them to. This makes the laptop a clear choice for anyone who doesn’t plan to work their machine too hard. Complex software and games might be a little too much for laptops if you have a budget, but they’ll do the trick for those who don’t need to use those programs.

So, if you’re a person who needs to do a lot of heavy lifting with their computer, desktops might be the first place to look. For those who want convenience and a computer that will meet their needs, laptops are the way to go.

Wondering Whether to Choose a Laptop vs Desktop?

Hopefully, the laptop vs desktop discussion above was helpful to you as you make your choice. There might be a lot more to think about in your situation, though, and it’s important to get all of the information you need before making the investment. 

Explore our site for more insight into computers, technology, and how to make the right choice.

What’s your Reaction?