4 Alternatives To A Desktop Computer

4 Alternatives To A Desktop Computer

Desktop computers might be one of the most common types of device people use, but they’re by no means a one-size-fits-all option. Chances are you’ll find desktop computers lacking in certain aspects depending on your specific needs. If you don’t necessarily need a high-spec device, for instance, you may find desktop computers to be a bit overpriced. Similarly, if you need a portable device, desktop computers are most certainly out of the question as they can be heavy. 

Put simply, the ideal device would vary according to your needs. That’s why having a couple of alternatives goes a long way. That being said, here are four alternatives to a desktop computer:


Each person has different thoughts regarding desktop computer alternatives. But for most people, the first thing that pops into their heads at the mention of desktop computer alternatives is a laptop. 

A laptop became a popular alternative because it’s a sleek version of desktop computers. It’s designed to be more portable and provide a convenient experience to users. That’s what a notebook is—imagine laptops, then aim higher. Notebooks are sleeker and more portable than laptops, smaller too. For that reason, notebook computers tend to be cheaper than laptops. 

Below are other things you need to know about notebook computers: 

  • They don’t have a fan or any form of cooling system, which is one of the main reasons why they’re more lightweight than laptops that do. 
  • Notebook computers consume a lot less processing power.
  • Notebook computers typically don’t have a DVD or an optical drive. 
  • They don’t have peripheral options. 

Perhaps the only advantage of laptops over notebooks is that they generally have better performance or specs. You should be able to buy notebook computers from the same companies that manufacture laptops. But if you need a selection of notebooks, you can find more here

Buying a notebook computer makes sense if: 

  • You travel frequently, 
  • You need the device for face-to-face classes, 
  • You don’t intend to use intensive programs like Photoshop or video games, or 
  • You need to type at a decent pace. Otherwise, a mobile device should suffice. 


Of course, you mustn’t forget about laptops, the next choice of most people after desktop computers. As stated earlier, laptops and notebooks are quite similar in several ways. 

Think of laptops as a notebook computer, but with better specs and a greater number of features. 

Apart from that, there are other things to note about laptops. For one, contrary to common belief, laptops are generally more expensive than desktop computers if they have the same specs. 

Buying a laptop makes sense if: 

  • You travel frequently, 
  • You need the laptop for face-to-face classes, or 
  • You need to type at a decent pace. Otherwise, a mobile device will do. 

Keep in mind that laptop has a variety of types. Examples include ultraportables and desktop replacements. As one might imagine, ultraportables are closer to notebook computers in terms of portability and specs. Meanwhile, desktop replacements are closer to desktop computers. 

Read: Notebook vs Laptop: How to Choose the Right Device For You?


A tablet is a mobile device that’s closest to desktop computers in terms of specs. Tablets are generally worse than most alternatives to desktop computers as far as capability is concerned. 

For one, a tablet has a much shorter battery life than notebooks or laptops. It also tends to have smaller screens, so it’s not as good of an option if you want to use it mainly for entertainment. 

These include playing video games or watching movies

The main selling point of tablets, however, is that they’re incredibly portable, perhaps the most portable alternative to desktop computers. Moreover, while it is lacking in terms of capabilities, you can still use it to do a variety of activities, like participating in calls or surfing the web. 

Buying a tablet makes sense if: 

  • You travel a lot, 
  • You intend to use the device during classes, 
  • You don’t need to type frequently or quickly, or 
  • You have no plans to use intensive programs like games or heavyweight software

2-in-1 tablets


2-in-1 Laptop Tablets

As the name implies, a laptop tablet is essentially a combination of a laptop and a tablet. It combines the best qualities of both types of devices. To be precise, it has the portability of a tablet since it’s about the same size, and it has the functionality of laptops as it has a keyboard. Apart from that, here are other qualities of a 2-in-1 laptop tablet that makes it worth buying: 

  • It generally has a better battery life than both laptops and tablets. 
  • A 2-in-1 laptop tablet should be around five pounds in weight – heavier than tablets, lighter than laptops. 
  • You can adjust or ‘customize’ its position. You can set it so the screen faces upward and the keyboard is at the bottom, or you can set it so the screen faces forward like a laptop. 
  • Just like tablets, the screen should be touch-screen, which isn’t common among laptops. 
  • It can use more processing power than both tablets and laptops. 

There are two types of 2-in-1 laptop tablets. 

Both types have a keyboard and a screen, a.k.a. the tablet. However, one type features detachable parts, while the other features better durability and specs, but the screen is fixed to the keyboard. 

Buying a 2-in-1 laptop tablet makes sense if: 

  • You need a laptop and a tablet, 
  • You travel often, 
  • You need to type quickly or frequently, 
  • You have to use relatively intensive programs (that aren’t too heavyweight), or 
  • You need to use the device in classes. 

Perhaps the only downside to buying a 2-in-1 laptop tablet is that it’s generally more expensive than a tablet. However, its price is generally the same, if not lower, than that of standard laptops. 

Closing Thoughts

It’s not unusual to find yourself complaining about your desktop computer. After all, it might be an excellent device for many people, but it still has its flaws. These flaws might be mere inconveniences to some people, but to others, they can cause serious issues. The good news is you don’t have to settle for your current device. You can get a different device that fits your needs, and this guide should have helped in that regard.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...