Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Which?

We at NTR's Computer Thrift Store want to make sure, if we can, that you make the best computer buying decision you can, which will give you the best chance to be happy with your computer for a long time. On this page, we offer you a list of the pros and cons of each major category of computer:

First, we recommend that you ask yourself some questions, like:

  • What are you going to use it for?
  • Why do you need it?
  • Surfing the web?
  • E-mails, networking, presentations?
  • Are you always on the go?
  • Are you a heavy multitasker who wants the best configurations?
  • Are you going to play heavy games?
  • Will one type of computer be enough?
  • How much money are you willing and able to spend?

Comparing Major Types

If you prefer, you can see this information in a PDF chart.

Desktop
  • Pro:
  • Can be bought at NTR. Always in stock. Inexpensive, some less than $100.
  • Repairs can be done at NTR.
  • NTR desktops are usually covered by a three-year warranty.
  • More options for customization.
  • Better than a tablet for creating content, i.e., for productivity. Better for editing videos, managing large music collections, writing long documents, and working on big spreadsheets, etc.
  • If one of the components breaks, for example the monitor, you can avoid the repair shop just by buying a new monitor.
  • Hard drive stores more data than a tablet's solid-state storage.
  • Usually powerful enough to be your main computer.
  • Less likely to be stolen.
  • Not likely to be destroyed by dropping it.
  • Con:
  • Impossible if you have an absolute need for portability.
  • Wires sticking out of it, possibly cluttering your room and causing a trip hazard.
  • Large, bulky, heavy. This factor can be reduced by using a flat screen monitor.

 

Laptop/Notebook
  • Pro:
  • Can be bought at NTR.
  • Repairs can be done at NTR.
  • At NTR, laptops are usually covered by a one-year warranty.
  • Few wires.
  • Small. Takes up little space.
  • Better than a tablet for creating content, i.e., for productivity. Better for editing videos, managing large music collections, writing long documents, and working on big spreadsheets.
  • Laptops are getting cheaper, thinner, lighter, and faster.
  • Hard drive stores more data than a tablet's solid-state storage.
  • May be powerful enough that you'll rely on it as your main computer.
  • Con:
  • Laptops are sometimes hard for NTR to keep in stock. You should call ahead to make sure we have some to look at.
  • Higher cost, usually.
  • If a component, for example the display, breaks, then your whole computer has to go in for repairs or be replaced.
  • Shorter battery life than a tablet. Probably cannot last you a whole day.
  • Some laptops don't have hard drives.
  • Easy to destroy by dropping it.
  • You may buy a laptop, thinking you're going to carry it around a lot, but then you end up setting it on a table or desk and never taking advantage of the portability. You might as well have bought a desktop.
  • Easy for a thief to steal.

 

Tablet
  • Pro:
  • Can be low-cost, very affordable.
  • Smaller than a laptop. Takes up very little space.
  • Very portable, more so than a laptop. Weighs less than two pounds.
  • Good for looking at content, for example, to browse through a magazine, look up a few Web sites while sitting on the couch, or if you want to watch a couple of movies while traveling.
  • A tablet with external keyboard lets you do about 80% of what a laptop does.
  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Longer battery life than a laptop. More likely to last a whole day.
  • Solid-state storage has faster access and low power consumption.
  • Con:
  • Can be expensive.
  • Cannot be bought at NTR.
  • NTR does not repair tablets.
  • Touchscreen is OK for pointing, dragging, or tapping, but it's awkward, often frustrating, to type on. This factor can be reduced, though, by spending the money (and sacrificing some portability) for an external keyboard.
  • Unlikely to have enough computing power for you to consider it your main computer.
  • Not so good for creating content, like blogging or photo editing. A tablet can't replace a laptop or desktop for getting work done.
  • Low-powered processors sometimes lag behind what a laptop or desktop can do.
  • Easy to destroy by dropping it.
  • Easy for a thief to steal.
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