Laptop & Desktop Similarities & Differences

By Noel Shankel

Odds are if you don't already have a computer you know someone who does. If you're thinking of purchasing -- or replacing -- your computer, you may get confused sorting out the differences between a laptop and a desktop. While both have the same ultimate functions, advantages and disadvantages are associated with both.

It's All the Same

Desktop computers and laptop computers have the ability to handle most of your computer needs such as working on documents, sending emails, and connecting to the Internet. Depending on make and model, laptops and desktop computers can also view videos and photos. You can also multi-task on both desktop and laptop computers. Multi-tasking simply means having numerous Web pages, websites or documents opened at once. You can also video conference -- through applications such as Skype -- on laptop and desktop computers.

Laptop Advantage

The main advantage of a laptop computer is its portability. Desktop computers are much larger in nature, requiring countless wires and an outlet to operate. Laptop computers -- although they can be plugged in -- are also battery operated, allowing you to take them anywhere. Using a Wi-Fi connection, laptops can pick up the Internet wherever service is provided. If used at home, the laptop computer will require less space to install than a desktop computer, which can dominate an entire section of the room.

Desktop Advantage

While desktop computers are not portable, they are cheaper to purchase than laptops, according to Computertooslow.com. Desktop computers -- on average -- offer better graphics and sound than a standard laptop. If a laptop computer runs out of battery power while you're on the go, it becomes useless. However, desktop computers are stationary and will always operate barring a power outage or a crash. Since the desktop computer consists or numerous parts -- keyboard, mouse, monitor -- they are easier to repair when damages occur. For example, if the laptops monitor goes out, the entire device is unusable. However, if a desktop monitor goes out, you can hook up another monitor and all other components of the computer will continue to work.

Considerations

If you are going to purchase a desktop or laptop computer, you should take a few factors into consideration first. According to Consumersearch.com, you should purchase either model with at least 2 gigabytes of RAM -- or memory. Desktop computers generally have more hard drive space, allowing you to store more photos, videos and files. You can purchase a hard drive upgrade for a laptop if you plan on storing numerous files. Laptops have the monitor built-in, but not all desktop computers are sold with monitors. If you already have a monitor, then this is an advantage. If you don't, it will be cheaper to buy a computer with a monitor as compared to buying the monitor separately, according to Consumersearch.com. Always make sure your desktop or laptop has at least one USB port.