By Reid Goldsborough
you in the market for a new device? Should you get a desktop PC, laptop
PC, Mac device, Windows unit, tablet computer, Chromebook, or 2-in-1
laptop-tablet combo? Choices, choices, choices.
Much here depends
on you - specifically how you'll be using the device, what your past
experience is, and how much you're willing to spend. But here's what
others are doing.
A survey last year by the market-consulting firm Deloitte asked consumers which devices they prefer using for specific activities. Here are the results:
reading the news, conducting online research, doing online shopping,
checking bank balances, watching short videos, and making video calls,
most prefer a laptop.
- For checking social networking sites,
playing games, recording videos, taking photos, and doing voice calls
over the internet, most prefer a smartphone.
- For watching live TV and streaming movies and TV shows, most prefer a TV.
out of favor are desktop PCs and tablets. Of these five types of
devices, desktops are favored only by males for playing games and by men
and women age 55 or older for checking bank balances. In this survey,
no one favors tablets for particular activities.
Here's a further breakdown of various devices:
PCs still have their benefits, and they still have a sizable market.
Their greater speed and capacity make them better suited for video
editing, computer-aided design, and high-end gaming. Their larger size
makes them easier for many to type on and easier to view with.
using desktops generally are less prone to neck and back strain from
slumping over a smaller machine. For the same computing power, desktops
cost less than laptops. On the other hand, desktop PCs are big, bulky,
If you need to work
while truly on the move - walking around an office, a store, or a
factory - tablets are more convenient than laptops and, with their
larger screens, can be easier to work with than smartphones.
also are easier to set up and use than a PC or Mac laptop, have a
longer battery life, and cost less. On the other hand, with smartphone
screens getting larger, there's less benefit from switching from a
smartphone to a tablet these days. This is the key reason tablets have
declined in popularity since their heyday in the years after the launch
of Apple's iPad in 2010.
The Apple iPad Pro remains a
well-regarded, if pricey, tablet. At the other extreme, the Amazon Fire
Tablet is an under-$100 purchase that can be a good choice if you're an
Amazon Prime subscriber.
which are sold primarily by Google and its partners such as Samsung and
Acer, are inexpensive laptops designed for computing while connected to
the internet, the cloud. They run not Windows or the Mac operating
system but rather a version of Linux called Chrome OS. They're used most
heavily in schools. You can't use whatever program you want, but they
now have available Google Apps and others that can run while you're
2-in-1 Laptop-Tablet Combos
in popularity, 2-in-1 laptop-tablet combos offer the portability of a
tablet plus the superior typing of a laptop. The combo devices, however,
cost more than tablets. Well-regarded high-end 2-in-1s include the
Microsoft Surface Pro.
One main distinction that remains among
varying computing devices is whether you intend to use them primarily
for production or consumption. You still can't beat a desktop or laptop
computer for writing papers for work or school, creating presentations,
working numbers in spreadsheets, editing photos and videos, or designing
websites. Smartphones and tablets are more convenient for exchanging
brief emails, posting short messages to social networks, surfing the
web, watching a movie, listening to music, or reading a book.