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Ipad, Notebook, Netbook, Desktop - - Which Way To Go?
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Ipad, Notebook, Netbook, Desktop  -   -  Which Way to Go?

Wasn't life so much simpler during the early days of computing? I remember well when the choices were just IBM or Apple. What a different story in today's computer world. Without some type of guide through the computer jungle it's very easy to get lost in cyberspace.

My headline lists the four main types of computers that you might choose from when you enter your computer adventure. Which is the best one to use if you are new to computing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? I'll answer these and other questions in this article.

Before beginning, you need to ask yourself several key questions. What is the new computer going to be used for, web surfing, emailing, word processing or financial applications? Are you doing video editing or graphic designs? Do you use multi-tasking a lot? Are you going to watch or download a lot of videos?

Desktops on the Downhill?

I can't remember when I haven't had a desktop computer. It's been a standard in my office and I currently use it daily. Fact is, I have two desktops in my office, one connected to the net and one without an internet connection. I find a computer without the internet is useful when writing, doing graphics, printing documents, etc. It starts fast & I don't have to worry about updates and such. Oops, sorry about the sidetrack, back to the topic.

Desktops aren't usually portable and they can require a good bit of space, especially when connected to peripherals. Their advantage lies in the fact that these systems can be very powerful and expandable. They are also not as easy to damage as tablets, laptops, or netbooks.

My recommendation is to get a desktop if you are not planning to move the machine and if you have enough room.

Laptop and Notebook Mania

These computers have been the most popular with business travelers for the last few years. Some of the reasons why are:

  • they are great to use when doing word processing and video editing
  • they have superior text input for touch typists
  • they have a good viewing screen
  • you use them for multi-tasking
  • some types are a little heavy, but their design makes carrying cases unnecessary
  • these machines, like desktops, have much software available
  • these devices are mobile and can be used almost anywhere

To sum up the laptop / notebook section, someone has well said, "Laptops are the new desktops."

Netbook to the Rescue?

What if you just need a small computer to use on the WWW for web browsing and e-mail, or just to take to class for note taking? The netbook may be your answer! The following are some things to consider before buying a netbook:

  • they are a quite slow
  • they are energy efficient
  • they do not multi-task
  • they are small and light weight
  • they have no CD or DVD drive built in
  • they have less storage and computing power than other computers
  • needs to have an internet connection
  • they have a small price tag
  • they are not good for heavy computation, 3D or large graphics programs

My netbook summary is that this device is a great compliment to a main computer system, but not a replacement.

Tablets -- the New Boy on the Block

You might say that I have saved the best for last, so to speak. That's because I just acquired a tablet a few weeks ago and am still learning how to use it. I guess the Apple iPad started the tablet revolution a few years ago. (Apple really has been a great source of technological breakthroughs through the years, with the exception of the Lisa and a few other products!) Here's what I found when I did a little research on tablets:

  • they are excellent tools for web surfing, checking e-mail, social media, game playing, reading digital products, watching movies and listening to music
  • tablets power up quickly and the battery lasts longer than most notebooks or laptops -- you can leave them alone for days and still have power when you turn them on
  • they are easier to carry and lighter than laptops
  • tablets are usually less costly than laptops or notebooks, thus making them a good gift
  • more and more applications are being developed for these devices daily -- there are more than 300,000 apps available for the iPad at the Apple store
  • tablets are not especially useful without the internet
  • keyboards for tablets have to be purchased separately and they are not quite as good as laptop and notebook keyboards
  • it's harder to edit documents on tablets
  • there is not as much free software available as for other types of computers
  • tablets also lack Adobe flash, video chat, multi-tasking capability, 3D or intense graphics, no photo or video upload from cameras
  • they cannot communicate with printers or scanners

A summary thought on tablets vs laptops might be, "Tablets are great for play and a little work, and laptops are good for work and a little play."


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