Choosing between a tablet, laptop or desktop

Electronic devices aren’t necessarily that cheap and choosing the right one can be a hassle. Choosing the wrong one can cause a lot of misery which you don’t want.

If you’re in the market for a new device the best way to start is to get a piece of paper and write down all the things you will be using that device for. There are loads of devices out there, but your final decision should reflect what you will be using your device for most often. For example, if you will be writing assignments a tablet is not ideal as your fingers will eventually start hurting.

If you’re thinking of going towards a computer, then it’s important to remember that there are many form factors and systems to choose from. Once again, your decision should be based on what you will be planning to use your computer for.

What type of devices are there and what are their uses?

1.    Tablets

Tablets are great devices when it comes to portability. Unlike laptops or computers, you don’t need to worry about the mouse and keyboard making tablets easy to navigate. The most basic tablets can be navigated by touch, but if you are willing to spend more you will get features such as voice control and cool gestures.

Like with computers, it’s important to consider the Operating System (OS) because some systems work better for specific tasks. There are currently three main systems out there; IOS, Android and Windows. In the background you also have Linux, however I will not be covering it since there aren’t many devices that you can buy with Linux pre-installed. However Linux is a great Open-Source system which I do recommend having a play with at least once in your life time.

Android is the big one, nearly all tablet manufacturers use Android because of its popularity and the number of apps in the App Store. Android is also built on top of Linux, making it easily accessible to manufacturers. Because of this, Android tablets can be picked up from as little as $50, making them one of the cheapest devices on the list. However, at that price, you can’t expect much in terms of performance. Android tablets are good for almost anything, whether it’s playing games, browsing the internet or watching videos but it depends on the specs.

IPads are tablets made by Apple. Like Android tablets, they are good for almost anything. The huge advantage of iPads is that they are well designed, offer cool gestures and come with Siri. The sound quality is great and so is the display.

Windows tablets are for someone who is looking for a business tablet. They often come with separate keyboards and touchpads, making typing easier. A great example is the Microsoft Surface. 

2.    Laptops

If you are looking for something more traditional, there are many great laptops out there. But the trouble is, there are so many laptops to choose from. This is where your list will prove to be useful.

If you are looking for a laptop for browsing the internet, writing the odd letter or even writing assignments, Chromebooks are ideal. Unlike any other laptop, a Chromebook is a laptop that comes preloaded with Chrome OS, a basic Operating System that mainly consists of the Chrome web browser. In fact, most of the tasks will be carried out in the browser. If you’re not convinced about Chromebooks, you can actually test Chrome OS without installing. I made a video showing how.  The huge advantage of Chromebook’s is that they are very cheap. You can actually pick one up starting from about $150. From my experience, Chromebooks are usually fast and if you feel technical you can actually load Linux on to it at your own risk. Some Chromebooks are compatible with Android apps expanding their possibilities, especially when it comes to using them offline.

Windows laptops can differ, they are designed for people who require a computer on the go. They often range in price but that’s because they are designed for different things. A basic laptop will start at around $160 and will give you a basic version of Windows, limited storage space and performance. The HP Stream is a great example of that. It’s designed for browsing the internet, writing the odd document and basic tasks in general.

Windows laptops can also be used as an everyday PC but if you are using it at a desk all day I wouldn’t recommend one.

MacBook’s are great laptops but they come at a price. They are mainly designed for work and are perfect for video editing and photography.

3.    Desktops

Desktop computers are the ones that aren’t easily transportable and often come with a separate monitor, mouse and keyboard. They are better for you if you are planning to use the computer at a desk all day. Desktop computers are also available as 2 in one meaning that you can get the base unit integrated with your monitor to save space.

Like laptops, there are many to choose from, but once again your list will help you in choosing the correct one.

My recommendations…

Light use

If you are planning to use your device for light tasks such as browsing the internet or basic photo editing tablets are ideal. Not only are they cheap but there are tons of apps available in the app stores to help you with your day to day tasks. Loads of people that I know have actually swapped their desktop for a tablet as it saves room, it’s more convenient and it’s portable.

On the other hand, if you will be doing a lot of writing you may want to invest in something with a keyboard. Chromebooks are perfect for light use especially when comparing them to Windows laptops in a similar price range.

Medium everyday use

If you are looking for something to use on a daily basis for browsing the internet, writing documents, playing low spec games and doing general work on. A medium spec PC with at least 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space will be ideal. Although the 128 GB of storage space is a low amount, if it’s advertised on the specs it usually means that it’s a Solid State Drive and that is a good thing as it’s faster but if you are planning to store loads of data on it I would recommend something with either a separate internal hard drive or a hard drive as a whole. Hard drives seem to come as 500 GB, 1000 GB (1TB) or more. They are slower but will give you more storage space. If you plan to take your device around with you, I would recommend a laptop as they are designed to be used on the go.

For work

Computers, in general, are used in most industries and in reality, I can’t recommend something for every industry in just one article.

If you’re a Student and you’re planning to write assignments and do research a Chromebook is ideal. They are cheap, your work is stored in the cloud limiting the chances of losing your work and they are portable enough to be used as a notetaking device and from my experience, they are very user-friendly. I was lucky enough to be able to use a Chromebook as my everyday PC and I must say, I enjoyed it.

If you are in either Photography, Video or even music production, I would recommend a MacBook. They seem to be the industry standard for those tasks. Although high spec Windows PC’s are also used. These devices should have at least 8GB of RAM, an SSD, loads of storage space, a good processor and maybe a half decent graphics card.

If you are planning to work on the go, I would recommend a laptop but if you are planning to mainly work at a desk, a desktop will be more suitable. Not only is working at a desk more comfortable but it’s healthier too.

If you still prefer a laptop, you can purchase a monitor, mouse and keyboard to work at your desk. That’s what I do when I work on my MacBook, it’s just easier and more comfortable that way.

For Gaming

PC Gaming can be demanding on the hardware, therefore the PC needs to be of a reasonable spec. There are loads of gaming PCs and laptops on the market. Personally, I don’t recommend gaming laptops unless you need one. The reason for that is that it can get very uncomfortable when gaming for hours. Gaming laptops are usually expensive, and when a new more demanding game comes out it will be almost impossible to upgrade your Graphics card.

It’s important to consider the type of gaming you will be doing, if the games are basic and light most PC’s should be able to run them. If you are planning to play retro games, it’s likely that retro games won’t work with new PC’s. I decided to create a retro gaming laptop for myself with a £25 laptop, since I’m in the UK. 

If you are looking for a gaming PC you should once again look for something with at least 8 GB’s of RAM, an SSD, loads of storage space for storing those games, a good processor and most importantly of all a good graphics card.

So what happens when you finally have purchased that new PC? Well, it’s important to install updates, create a recovery image and a backup plan. I have written a full article about what I recommend doing once you have purchased that new PC.

Guest article written by: Dominik Kwolczak, an expert in IT and Technology. He runs the Dominik Kwolczak – Tech Blog, a personal blog dedicated to his experience with technology and IT. Dominik also runs the Dominik Kwolczak – Tech YouTube channel.

2 thoughts on “Choosing between a tablet, laptop or desktop”

  1. Hi Dominik,

    For me, I have always preferred a laptop as compared to desktop for the sheer fact that it is portable. Tablets have gain a lot of popularity of late and it it a good device for casual internet browsing.

    Thanks for sharing, have a good day.

  2. Great post
    It depends on the purpose. I think desktop is less use these days as it cannot be carried around. But if a person love streaming videos online, I think tablet is a good choice. It has a wide screen and portable.


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