The holiday season is a prime time to shop for big-ticket electronics like computers. But do you need to stress about a new computer anymore? The technology in our tablets and smartphones is quickly catching up to laptop computers and, at the rate we’re going, desktop PCs. Size is less of an issue when it comes to storage and processing power. Even today, you can easily edit 4K videos on the iPad Pro, a device that weighs less than a pound.
In an interview with Wired, consumer trends industry expert and Kantar Worldwide's chief researcher Carolina Milanesi said, "Will we always need a desktop? No, not all of us will. Some of us already don’t.”
And you might be one of those people. So how do you know if a desktop, a laptop, or a tablet is the best fit for you? Here are three things to consider to help you make the best choice that meets your needs and lifestyle.
Do You Use Your Computer Now?
Your phone might be so attached to your hand that you haven't felt the need to dust off your current computer. Maybe it's a pain to bother waiting for your computer to boot up, especially when your smartphone is so fast. Whatever the reason, if you haven't had a dire need to use your computer for some time, you probably don't need a new one. You've survived this long without it.
You might not need a computer, but you may need a bigger screen, especially if you're big on streaming movies or playing games. Smartphone screens aren't bad, but a tablet gives you more space to play and enjoy your favorite flicks away from your television. But really, it's all up to your preferences.
How Do You Work?
There will always be a place for laptop and desktop computers, especially in the professional world. For people who need a lot of screen space and processing power—graphic designers, programmers, and professional video editors, for example—a desktop is often the way to go. People who work with large and specialized files also fall into this category. If you work a lot from home, having your own setup can be crucial.
But if your work doesn't require a computer, or you don't need much more than basic word processing and internet use, then a laptop or tablet can easily take the place of a bulky desktop.
Which one should you go with? The line between laptops and tablets is starting to thin. A few years ago, a tablet couldn't match the power and productivity of a standard laptop. Now, you can buy accessories like lightweight keyboards that make it easier to write and accomplish other tasks. So it depends largely on what your budget is and if you need the flexibility to occasionally use more complex software.
What are Your Current Hobbies and Habits?
The bonus about a computer is the variety of software it can run. If you play a lot of PC-only video games or use high-powered programs like Photoshop, a computer is at least something you'll use, if not a necessity. But if you are mostly looking for a device to write occasional emails, stream movies, or browse social media, the extra processing power and flexibility are unnecessary.
Where you use your device is just as important. If you primarily use your device on the couch or in bed, a tablet is probably going to be a better fit for you than a laptop. While portable, you run the risk of overheating, and a laptop will always be bulkier and less comfortable to use than a slim tablet.
Traveling is another important aspect to consider. If you travel frequently, a 4G/LTE active tablet can be your best friend, especially on long road trips or over long stays at the airport. Newer tablets are lighter and much quicker to charge, making them less cumbersome and more convenient than a laptop.
Check Out These Tablets
The need for a desktop PC, a laptop, or a tablet is based on you. Just because it's the latest, greatest technology doesn't mean you need it cluttering up your house. Get the device that best suits your needs and if you're going to splurge, do it on a device that you'll actually use.