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That good old laptop

By Jean-Claude Elias - Jul 20,2017 - Last updated at Jul 20,2017

Of the four different physical formats of computers available on the market, and for the third year in a row, laptops have constantly been the most trusted, the most reliable, and overall the best performing.

Sales of desktop machines and tablets have declined, and although smartphones are definitely everywhere, there are times when, despite those models that sport the largest screens, a smartphone is just not enough to do extensive work, serious business and a lot of typing.

Last year 155 million laptops were sold worldwide, and “only” 103 million desktops were sold, says.

The gap is expected to widen this year.

When it comes to performance, processing power and features, laptops today are a perfect match for even the best desktop computer. The only exception remains that of hard-core gamers who, to play their advanced games, need crazy graphic cards and huge cooling fans (when not downright liquid cooling system) and that understandably cannot be fitted inside a laptop.

In business the only two reasons why the management is still going for desktop models is that they are more difficult to steal (given the size, the weight and the cabling) and they are also easier and less expensive to repair when a hardware failure occurs.

Other than that laptops are superior in every way. The fact that they have a battery provides ample time of operation in case of power failure, whereas a desktop would require the acquisition and the installation of an external UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) unit, with extra batteries. Relocating a laptop temporarily from your main office to say a conference room is a snap, whereas doing it with a desktop is a hassle.

Convertible laptops that come with a removable and touch screen that be easily detached from the main body and used as a tablet constitute a significant added value and are attracting the consumer. These models are also referred to as 2-in-1 sometimes. Unfortunately, and for the time being at least, the price of convertible laptops remains about 25 to 30 per cent higher than those models with a fixed screen.

Dell, Lenovo and HP seem to reign over the market, while Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, Asus are gently following. Lenovo alone counts for a huge 21 per cent of the entire market. Apple is here of course, in that special segment of its own and takes 7 per cent of the market share.

The convenience of laptops, along with their extensive capability, often makes offices and even households to allocate more than one unit per user. This redundancy is in no way senseless overspending, but is mainly caused by the fear of machine sudden crash or severe virus attacks such as ransomware, and that can leave the user helpless and unable to work for a significant time, until the issue is resolved. Having more than one machine ready to take over, and of course backup sets of data, ensures continuity and often is the only defence against ransomware-type viruses.


However, because adding features and connectivity to laptops is not as easy as with desktops, it is wise to make the best choice from the onset. At the top end of their range, Dell proposes the superb XPS series that has every single feature one can think of, while Lenovo’s ThinkPad (a term inherited from the company’s IBM days…) series would satisfy the most demanding of us. With such models you would hardly need to add any feature or gadget.

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