The modern business is a hectic place that is constantly evolving; and to think that any one computer solution will solve all your needs is naive. However, with a little forethought and planning, you can budget to cover all eventualities without having to stockpile IT equipment.
We're not going to tell you to opt for one solution over the other – far from it. Your business needs to be as dynamic as possible and that means choosing the right mix of fixed and portable computers. However, there are questions you need to ask about your usage, such as whether you will need to have access to your computer in two or more locations or whether your workforce is solely office based, as the answers will have an effect on your purchasing choices.
Laptop technology has increased a great deal in recent years and for most office tasks it no longer matters whether you use a laptop or a desktop PC. However, if your business relies on powerful graphics and intense processing, you'll find that workstation quality PCs are still the most powerful and cost-effective solution around.
If office space is at a premium in your office then hot-desking may well be an option. You can either set up a fixed terminal, a desktop PC connected to your network. Alternatively, you could simply provide a space for people to work on their laptop and give them access to the network via a secure Wi-Fi logon.
Pros and Cons: Laptop versus Desktop PC
The desktop PC is a staple of many offices and businesses. They are easy to network together, relatively cost-effective and should you need to replace one you don't need to go to the expense of replacing the whole system, just the faulty part. They are also usually easier to expand later on as they have built in capacity for additional hardware to be added to them.
Desktop PCs tend to offer better value for money in terms of sheer power – if cash is tight then you will probably get a higher specification machine than you would from a laptop. On the downside, using a desktop PC means being tied to your desk, which is a disadvantage for mobile workers or even for those who regularly attend meetings.
The modern laptop makes personal computing truly personal as in all likelihood no one but the owner will ever use it. You can carry it around with you, use it in meetings, prepare reports when travelling and thanks to Mobile Broadband stay in constant touch with the office.
There are a wide array of laptops on offer, from small ultraportable machines ideal for the busy professional, to full-powered machines that rival desktop PCs in term of performance. Laptop prices have dropped considerably in recent years but it's worth bearing in mind that unlike desktop PCs upgrading can often be more expensive.
The desktop PC used to be a simple beige box stuffed under your desk but in the last couple of years we've seen a move to more compact and stylish designs. An All-in-One PC mixes the best of desktop and laptop technology in one box.
By using laptop parts to place the actual computer behind the screen you'll find these devices are ideal for use where space is at a premium. On the downside, the use of laptop technology means they're not as quick as the most powerful desktop PCs and also tend to cost more to upgrade and repair.
Just as the desktop PC is evolving so is the laptop market. In recent years we've seen the emergence of the netbook market segment. These low-cost laptops make a great secondary machine for anyone who works primarily at a desk but needs to attend the occasional off-site meeting or needs to work when on the move.
Typically built around a 10.1-inch screen and weighing around 1kg, they were originally designed with students in mind. You'll find they use low-cost components, which helps to keep the costs down, and makes them better suited to word processing and other basic office tasks rather than anything intense.
Check out our Top 5 Business Laptops
Check out our Top 5 Business Desktop PCs