Laptops seem to have a charm in the eyes of public that Desktops just cannot have.
They are more like the Desktops done proper and fine-tuned as well as molded into a single object that is small and light enough to be carried around but big enough for a comfortable work experience.
Of course, you can set aside the hard-core power users who love to work on machines that are jam packed with GHz and GBs and who love to draw every “ounce” of performance from the machines as they possibly can.
Laptops just leave the tech hassle out of the equation of progress for the general users I have mentioned above. They are more like companions because computers of today are like swiss army knives when it comes to the different ways in which they can be a helpful tool.
What I have discussed here is in itself a set of upside/downside points for laptops.
What follows are the most impacting pros and cons of laptops.
Pros of a Laptop
Let us first review the benefits.
1. Portable, Mobile
The most obvious advantage of laptops is their mobility or portability. A laptop, as the name suggests, can simply rest on one’s lap while one is working on it.
It is a briefcase housing one’s office, as well as a hand bag that houses everything from one’s movies and audios to one’s communications with the world at large, including social media and email correspondence, all the way to one’s personal record of every kind.
All packed nicely in a 16 inch diagonal and half inch thick case along with screen, keyboard, power and everything else the laptop needs. One can carry the laptop and take it everywhere without any trouble.
Laptops are extremely light weight and can easily be hand carried.
With the advancement of technology and electronic components decreasing drastically in size for the same useful qualities, laptops are becoming lighter and lighter. The MacBook Pro 15-inch weighs about 4lb (1.8kg).
Laptops are extremely compact computers.
They offer similar performance to most desktops but their measurements are extremely compact, considering that the dimensions include everything like screen, keyboard, touch pad (equivalent to mouse) and battery.
Laptops have a quality that they rarely crash because of hardware or firmware errors.
All components fitted inside the laptops are well tested for integrated-operation stability. The CPU, RAM, HDDs, motherboard, controllers of various hardware, all work in sync with each other within the rated conditions prescribed in the specifications.
This factor of stability is of course also necessary because it will not help much if you take your laptop for business meetings or business visits and it keeps crashing.
Software running on operating systems are a different matter.
5. Includes Own Power
Laptops are all fitted with battery. The number of cells in the battery can vary.
Today’s laptops can work for many hours on a single charge. This means that a student or a business executive can work through the lectures or meetings by just carrying the laptop and not having to carry the charger along all the time.
6. Internet Access
Laptops are always equipped with network adapters. The network adapters include for cabled LAN and for Wi-Fi.
Some laptops even have WAN option via cellular data card. Internet access is a must in today’s world whether you are a home user or a professional user.
Having the convenience of network hardware at all costs is a feature that is extremely helpful for laptops.
Using Wi-Fi network access on Desktops can be cumbersome, but is the most convenient means to access the internet on laptops.
The mobility factor of laptops also demands wireless network access and makes its availability a compulsory matter.
7. Offline Operation
Laptops are equipped with battery and can work in the absence of mains electricity.
This means that laptops can be used temporarily when or where no electricity is available.
This offline operation is another plus for the mobility factor of laptops.
Laptops are far more secure than desktops in many ways. Laptops are hand carry items and can be taken with you where ever you go.
The laptops are compact and light-weight so they can be kept in locked drawers etc.
Many laptops today come equipped with finger-print sensors or facial recognition features. These features make the laptops secure in terms of unauthorized usage.
Since laptops are compact and light, it is easy to carry them anywhere and you don’t face any hindrance for this.
9. Gets More Work Done
Laptops are all-in-one computers and you can use them at your convenience. You can sit on the carpet or sofa or even in bed if you must and still use the laptop.
You don’t have to be very close to the electricity outlet all the time. Everything you need to operate the laptop is available and fully functional.
So, practically, there is little that can become a hindrance to you for getting your work done. Statistically speaking, mobile devices cause the work time per day to increase beyond office hours because they can be conveniently operated from the comfort of home.
So, if you use a laptop for work, there is great chance that you will get a lot done each day.
10. Instant Use
Laptops are extremely easy and convenient to start working on them. You place the laptop in front of you wherever you are.
Then you open the lid and press the power button. In a matter of a few seconds, you will be able to login to your operating system and start working.
Laptops are also equipped with sleep and hibernate modes which allow you to turn the laptop partially off while keeping your work open as it is.
The laptop can be configured to go into sleep mode automatically when you close the lid. So, while you are, for example, in client office and going through meetings, you can simply close the lid when a meeting finishes to take the laptop into sleep mode and preserve battery.
When you wake up the computer, within 4 to 5 seconds, it will be as if you never put it into sleep mode. Such is the level of instant use possible with laptops.
11. Long Battery Life
With more research being done over time, laptop batteries are becoming smaller, thinner and longer lasting.
Laptops are the most suitable form of computers of today’s time and age because of the autonomy laptops have, with the presence of long-lasting batteries.
Of course, once the battery life is over, it can be replaced very easily.
12. Very Flexible
The laptop usage is extremely flexible. You can do whatever you like, on the laptop, wherever you are.
Your laptop can be a research computer at one time, a client presentation computer at another time, a movie player at another, and a TV for watching your favorite sports match at another.
You can use it to order pizza or to buy airplanes. You can use it, your family can use it, your parents can use it and you won’t feel it a tiny bit.
If your client is overseas, you can do a virtual meeting with them over the internet using a video chat and presentation application. The meeting can be attended by many people at a time like a video conference.
13. Single Cord
When the laptop needs power, a single cord is all you need. No need of separate power connection for monitors and other devices.
Cons of a Laptop
Let us now review the disadvantages in this list of pros and cons of laptops.
Laptops are costly. One of the pros of desktop computers is that the same specifications will come much cheaper.
The components used in laptops are energy efficient, compact, light-weight and shock resistant. Usually, every component used in a desktop has an equivalent for laptops.
The equivalent for laptops has to be meticulously designed to balance performance with all the challenges posed by the laptop’s inherent nature.
2. Frequent Upgrades
Laptop hardware gets upgraded quite frequently.
Where on one hand it keeps the shop inventories rolling, laptops become outdated very quickly. Their operation may not be affected as much if you continue using it the same way though.
Laptops are more sensitive computers in terms of their greater chance to fall, shock, or water damage.
Laptops may be subjected to shocks while they are being used, as you are taking them from, say, your table to your sofa, or if it gets pushed a little accidentally.
Because the laptops can be used anywhere, liquids or food bits could get dropped in the keyboard and go into the laptop and damage its components.
Laptops are insecure in a way that they are portable and so if you have placed on the table in a restaurant and look away for a while of simply go to the counter and return, there is risk of theft.
Laptops can travel the whole world and so have a greater chance of being stolen if you are not careful.
Another way that laptops are insecure is if you are outside in restaurants or at the airport and you connect to the public Wi-Fi, there is great chance that your system gets hacked.
5. Limited Upgrade Possibilities
Laptops are designed holistically considering all its components and ensuring that they all work together in sync.
This makes it very difficult to upgrade components like the CPU with newer and better ones because they might not be compatible.
Hence upgrade is possible but to a very limited extent.
6. Difficulty in Customization
It is not possible to customize the hardware inside the laptop by much.
When you are ordering a laptop, you are provided with certain choices. That is about all that you can do when trying to customize the laptop.
The most you can upgrade is perhaps the RAM or the HDD capacity.
7. Very Limited Extension Possible
Since laptops have limited upgrade capability, the same reasons make it very little possibility that you install additional components to extend the functionality of the laptops.
8. Repair is Expensive
Laptops are specifically designed and have proprietary hardware. Their repair is much more difficult and hence expensive because at times, the components are not accessible in a way that they can be repaired.
The components are also designed to be compact and so may have used manufacturing technology that is not repairable.
On top of that self-repair voids all warranty claims. Sometimes replacing the laptop instead of repairing is the best option.
9. Health Issues
Laptops are computers after all and can be used for many hours on a stretch.
This means that your posture while using the laptop is extremely important in the long run.
The convenience provided by laptops comes in the way of personal health because of improper posture.
10. Small Working Screen, Smaller key, No Mouse
Laptops have a fixed size single screen and a definitely smaller keyboard compared to the ones available for desktops.
Also, you have to connect a mouse externally using the USB port if you want to use it.
Track-pads are a nuisance for most. They are great for emergency use but if yo you want to work quickly, track-pads can be a hindrance.
11. Excessive Laptop Heat
Due to how compact they are laptops do not ventilate very well compared to their desktop counterparts. This is not ideal if you’re working in a confined space or you are using the laptop on your knee. To keep your laptop as cool as possible you should place it on a hard surface to allow air to flow more freely around it.
However, even then laptops will run a lot hotter than desktops which can lead to excessive fan noise (another con) which can be irritating and disruptive, while there are ways of dealing with this (visit Soundproof Panda to find out how) it can put people off using a laptop particularly if you need a high powered machine which will require lots of cooling.
Here we looked at some of the most glaring pros and cons of laptops.
If you are planning on getting a PC in the near future, my advice for you would be to gauge your requirements carefully.
If you plan to stay in one place, then desktops are recommended. They are cheaper and also offer greater expandability.
However, if you like to move around with your PC or if you foresee yourself changing places, then laptops are a good investment.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.