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What Should I Buy?
These days there are more computing devices out there than ever before. Tablets and smartphones are basically computers at their heart, and then you have traditional laptops and desktops as well. This page will help you decide which is the best one for your needs.
First important step - stop listening to the media! They are not technology experts. They are parrots repeating what they are told to repeat in an effort to push one idea or the other. Not so long ago, if you listened to the media you would be forgiven for believing that traditional computers (laptops and desktops) were going to vanish entirely. Simple logic tells us that this is a patently stupid idea. Go Tech is fixing more computers than ever, and helping more people find computers than ever. Can you imagine walking into a law firm and seeing the secretary trying to do her dictation tasks on a tablet? Or an accountant reviewing a detailed spreadsheet while hunched over and squinting at a tiny 10 inch tablet screen? Or a gamer trying to play a modern, complex game like the Witcher III or Fallout 4 on their smartphone? Of course not. Each device has it's own advantages and disadvantages. Tablets and smartphones have affected the sales of traditional computers true enough, but each device has a role to play in the modern business and home environment, and always will.
Let's start our analysis with desktops.
When I speak of desktops, I speak of traditional ones with mid to full size towers or system units. I will speak of why I dislike other desktop variants later.
Desktops are best suited to a business looking for a device for an employee who does not need a mobile computer solution, and/or needs a big screen and comfortable keyboard for maximum data entry and review efficiency. They are the only choice for hardcore gamers due to their easy upgradability and potential power. Good for home users who want a decent screen size and keyboard for maximum ease of use. A better choice if you have young children as they are less likely to be expensively damaged. The bigger screen sizes also lend themselves well to people with eyesight issues. The only choice for anyone who needs a lot of storage for things such as videos. Good for anyone who works on photos, word processing, desktop publishing or anything that involves layout as again the bigger screen sizes are invaluable for these tasks. Lastability is perhaps their best attribute. While parts such as power supplies and hard drives can and do fail over the course of a desktop's lifetime, the core system tends to last a lot longer than other devices.
Laptops are best suited to someone who needs a mobile computing solution but still needs a reasonable amount of storage, and a passable screen size and keyboard to work with. A wireless USB mouse should be considered a must have for a laptop. It is much easier to use than the often awful touchpads laptops come with. Not recommended for use by young children known to be a bit careless as a spilt cup of drink or a drop can lead to expensive damage very easily. Wireless mouse and keyboard sets that use a single adapter can be a boon, as you can get an almost desktop style feeling by plugging in the adapter and siitting the laptop on a raised surface over your desk or table. Then when it comes time to go portable, you only have a single USB plug to remove. You can also connect them to external monitors for more screen size but this tends to be a bit cumbersome.
What tablets do they generally do well, but what they do is very limited. For someone like me, a tablet will never be anything more than a casual device - something I use for a bit of lazy Facebook browsing, YouTube viewing, simple game playing, and maybe some light chatting. But when you want to do some serious typing or accomplish a task that requires multiple apps, they are essentially useless at worst or cumbersome at best. For example, when I work on a website, I need at least four applications typically - Photoshop for graphics and layout mockups, an app for writing the site's code, another for uploading files to the site, and of course a web browser to review my work. Often I have all four running at the same time. With a computer, I can run, use and switch between them with ease. On a tiny 7 - 10 inch tablet screen with touch only controls? Not a chance. The average office worker is in the same situation. They might have a web browser, email program and a word processor open all the time. Not impossible on a tablet but much more difficult and considerably less efficient.
However, for a less serious user this may be a perfectly sufficient solution. Think carefully about the tasks you will want to do, and choose accordingly.
All of the advantages and disadvantages of tablets apply here, with the added advantage of being even smaller and lighter, but the added disadvantage of an even smaller screen. Someone who is efficient at texting and so used to small keyboards may not be hampered by this. So a good smartphone may be the only computing solution they need. For most people though, a more advanced solution will be needed.
All-in-One and Micro Case Desktops
These desktops are hugely problematic. Their custom case designs mean that you get all of the primary disadvantages of laptops - custom and costly parts and expensive repairs - and none of the advantages they bring, and virtually none of the advantages of traditional mid to full size tower desktops either. As such, there are no circumstances under which I would recommend the purchase of one of these desktops. The only real advantage I can say an all-in-one desktop has is they often look attractive. That is it.
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